“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Matthew 6:34 NLT
I tend to be a bit of what my parents would often refer to as a “worry wart”. I’m not quite sure who first came up with that expression, but nevertheless, it doesn’t make the act of worrying seem very attractive. I used to think that the fact that I worried about someone or something meant that I cared more. The older and, hopefully, wiser, I get, I realize that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Worry can be overwhelming and paralyzing in our lives. I have known people who will not leave their homes due to their worries. Many times, I see marriages stay in a catatonic state for years due to the worries of one or both partners. When I read Matthew 6:34, it is so clear to me that Jesus is telling us that we cannot withstand the worries of yesterday or tomorrow. God has only given us the strength to deal with the challenges of today. On the surface, this may not seem very signifciant, but to me, it is freeing. It means that I don’t need to be controlled by the worries of my past or future, but I need to have a laser focus on what is at hand today. Today is enough to put my efforts towards, and God will help me conquer whatever I may face today.
I don’t think that Jesus is telling us to forget about yesterday completely or to not make plans for the future; He is just telling us not to worry about it. There is a big difference between thinking about something and worrying about it. My husband, Dave, has always encouraged me to flee from worry. He shared a wonderful word picture with me that has truly changed the way I look at worrying and the thought process that leads me there. He says that is we picture our minds as trees, then we can consider our thoughts to be birds. Many birds, or thoughts, will fly over or around our tree, or minds, but we don’t have to allow the birds to make a nest there. In other words, we are the gatekeepers of what we allow to dwell in our minds. I am sure you have heard the Proverb, “as a man thinketh, so he is”. We can so often become what we think about the most, so we need to be mindful of what we allow to reside in our minds. For more on this, please read “5 things your ANXIOUS SPOUSE wants you to know”, by clicking here.
Jesus hasn’t ignored the fact that all of us face struggles, in fact, he acknowledges that we will all have trouble in this life (John 16:33). In Matthew 6:34, he is just telling us that we only need to focus on the troubles of today because they are enough for us to face at one time. If we consume ourselves with worries of the past and future, we will not have the strength to face today, and we want to have the strength to conquer whatever today brings. In fact, whenever we begin to have worry fill our minds, we need to refocus our thoughts on the good things that fill us with strength. Philippians 4:8 states this beautifully:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. ”
There was a time at the beginning of my marriage when I allowed too many worries to nest in my brain. Some days, I truly found it hard to breath without having a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach and nausea, just from the weight of the worry. For three years, I found myself in a full-fledge depression that I just couldn’t shake off on my own, and I knew I needed help. Through prayer, the support of my husband, and Christian counseling, I was able to rid my brain of all those worrisome nests slowly but surely. That was many years ago, but I will never forget the feeling of freedom I received each time I let my worries of the past and future go.
If you find yourself paralyzed by worry, the kind of worry that makes it difficult to get through the day, please take heart in knowing that you are not meant to live this way. You can have freedom from your worrisome thoughts. Lean away from these worries and into your Savior. Pray that you can shed these worries and embrace the beautiful gift of today.
If you are worried or depressed and need someone to talk to, I encourage you to call 1-800-NEED-HIM. Also, please find a licensed Christian counselor or pastor that you can meet with in your area. Your worries don’t have to dictate or destroy your life!
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