“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” —Matthew 6:34 ESV
At this time last year, not a one of us expected the year 2020 to look like it did. Most of us, in fact, had a bit of excitement running through our veins as we thought about a year called 2020. It sounded visionary and fun! Well. Wasn’t really fun, was it? As we look to turn the calendar to a new month and a new year, as much as we want everything to be instantly made better and new, the reality is quite different. January 1, 2021, is going to look an awful lot like December 31, 2020.
We are in a season of waiting. The pandemic is still raging. People are still sick and masks are still worn and health care workers are still very, very tired. Yes, it looks like the new year 2021 will end better than it begins, but we don’t know that, do we? Actually, we never do know what the future will hold. We just like to think we do because it feels safer to be in control. Even though we aren’t.
Waiting is hard. Waiting when you don’t know how long the wait will be is even harder—hard to make plans, hard to envision the future, hard not knowing. I’ve been there. Frequently. That’s just part of being a military family. Before his teaching career, my husband, Ray, was an army officer, and that’s a job that comes with built-in uncertainty and tons of waiting. I remember packing for a long-awaited vacation, only to be awakened at dawn by a phone call—my husband must report for a mission. No vacation for us. Not to mention many a missed birthday and anniversary. We grew accustomed to not knowing what tomorrow might bring. When Ray left for the Persian Gulf and the subsequent war, the waiting was intense, and no one could tell me when it would be over.
Initially, I did not receive this unpredictable life with good grace. There just might have been some temper-laced moments and a few days lying in bed with no desire to move. And yet … over time by God’s grace, I grew to appreciate military life. What! How? Uncertainty about the future forced me to embrace living in the present. I learned to wait well in the not yet.
Way back in Jesus’ day, people were waiting for Messiah to come and overthrow the Romans. It had been a long wait. And even though Jesus did come, the reality was that the Romans would overthrow Jerusalem a few short years after his death and resurrection. The happily-ever-after that had been dreamed about was not happening. Not yet. But even in the midst of struggles, Jesus gave good advice on how to live in the present and not give way to fear for the future.
The truth is this: All we ever really have is today. Right Now. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow unknown. Oh, friend, let’s not waste the Right Now worrying about Later. Or, as Jesus put it so beautifully, “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
As we enter 2021, here are seven tips that will help you live in today. I have found these simple steps to be of great value—during the uncertain waiting years of military life and today. May they help you to “wait well in the not yet.”
- Wake up with prayer. Before you climb out of bed, remember who is in charge of the day. Begin with a whispered, “Be with me today in each moment, Lord.”
- Recite what you know. This may sound a bit silly, but reviewing truths helps you stay grounded and grateful. For example back then I’d state, “Today, I am living in Germany. Our two daughters are sound asleep in the next room and both are healthy. We have adequate food, clothing, and shelter.”
- Sit with the Lord as early as possible. You might not have an elaborate hour for quiet time with God, but could you sit for ten minutes? Choose a book of the Bible and read through it just a few verses a day. Perhaps choose a verse to write out and meditate on that day. God does not change. Moments with Him in His Word bring certain encouragements in uncertain times.
- Refuse to worry. When worries come, don’t invite them in. See them as opportunities for prayer. Give your cares to God and continue to live with Him in the moment. When a new worry intrudes, respond with prayer. Over and over. You will discover His peace.
- Be guided by the Holy Spirit. Your future might seem so unpredictable you can’t even make plans. But you can plan to live well by living out the Spirit fruit that’s always in season: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Be present in the simple joys. Don’t waste time quivering about things that are out of your control. You’ll miss soft snowflakes falling from the sky and coating trees with glistening white, birdsong outside your window, a child’s eyelashes touching her cheek in sleep. Ask God to help you stay “in today,” savoring all that is good.
- Go to sleep well. Thank God each night for seeing you through the day. Picture Him tucking you in and caring for your tomorrow. Ask Him to help you live well right where He has placed you. Turn your worries over to Him in prayer and be at peace. God’s got tomorrow. Life here on earth has actually always been uncertain, but life with Him is always, and most certainly, good.
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to remember in these uncertain times that You always hold me. You see the future. You promise me that someday every tear will be dried, and You will dwell with us once again in a new and beautiful world. Give me the gift of faith and trust, please! Help me to hold Your big Abba-Father hand tightly, knowing You lead me all the way, and You will help me cope with all that comes. I choose to trust You, Lord, in the not yet. And I long for the day of Your return! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service
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