I have always struggled with anxiety and worry. The bulk of it is rooted in my sin and distrust of God. But some of it is due to my imagination. I spend my time imagining scenarios and events, rather than focusing on the here and now which holds plenty of other things to be worried about. If I have a big trip coming up I imagine all that could go wrong. If Daniel has a busy week at work I imagine that the boys will come down with some illness and I will be left to myself to deal with it. My problem so often is that I don't live in the moment. I live in the future. And sometimes the future just looks a little scary.
Last week, Daniel had the flu. It was awful. I have honestly never seen him so sick. He's the type who typically tries to push through illness and keep working. There was none of that going on. He was completely bedridden for three days. I'm not usually too worried about him when he's sick because he just doesn't get that sick, but I honestly was concerned for him. While it was a long week taking care of him and the boys, something else was hanging over my head--he had a long work trip coming up at the end of the week. Taking care of him and the boys for a few days is one thing. It's a whole other ball game when I've got to do it alone for six days after that.
I woke up Friday morning feeling extremely anxious. Even though I had gone to bed fine, the hours were quickly passing and there was nothing I could do about the impending trip and my impending solitude for a week. I knew I was going into the weekend exhausted and that was not what I had imagined for my weekend at all. As I stumbled downstairs to start the morning coffee I prayed in desperation "Lord, I am so anxious about this week and weekend. Please give me the grace to endure. Please help me to take it one day at a time."
And then I sat down and read this:
"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
Whoa. God's word is living and active, isn't it? If ever I needed proof that he still speaks, in that moment that was it. I love when the very thing I am praying about is revealed to me in scripture.
God knew I needed to be exhorted to put off anxiety and rest in his good provision for the day. Today holds enough things to be anxious about, if I spend my energy worrying about tomorrow I will miss the fresh grace God has for me today.
Notice that Jesus doesn't say that there is nothing to be anxious about. Fighting anxiety is not an exercise of willing good things to happen or pretending like there are not legitimate things in our life that could make anxiety rise up. There are. The end of the verse tells us that each day has enough troubles of its own. We live in a fallen world. We will have days that are worry inducing. But the hope for us is that the same grace God provides for today's troubles he will supply tomorrow as well. This is how we fight anxiety, with faith in the God who has sustained us in the past and will do so in the future.
Learning to take things one day at a time is a constant battle and prayer for me. I like to take things weeks at a time. And that is where the worry sets in. I have found that for me there is peace and rest in just getting through a day--asking God for grace at the beginning and thanking him for the sustaining grace at the end. Each day has plenty of trouble of its own. But loads of grace to make up for it.