I enjoy watching football. I played football. I throw football. You’ll sometimes see me holding a football. I like football. And today, I'll be enjoying watching a football game or two. Am I worrying about whether or not my favorite team will win or lose? No. Not at all. Actually, I don't really care about the outcome of a football game that I'm watching. It actually doesn't matter if they win or lose, so I'm not worrying too much about it.
My answer is: I don’t worry about the future. I don't worry about tomorrow. I live one day at a time. I’d like to tell you more about living one day at a time without worrying about tomorrow.
I’m guessing you might agree that worrying about the future is not a pleasant way to spend our time.
So, the question that I have for you is: when anxious thoughts arise, how can we stop them? One wonderful principle we can operate is to live one day at a time.
What Me Worry?
Realistically, we do need to think about our future. For sure. We need to make plans. That’s for certain. We have calendars filled with important dates and events. We have things to do to enjoy life. I have plans for the future. For example, I plan to visit Europe to find a place to live with my wife when we are older and desire to live in a small European town on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. I have no idea how that’s going to happen today, but I’m going to plan that into my future. Am I worried or anxious about my future plans? No. Do I continually fret over the details of my life’s schedule? No.
Why not? Why am I not worrying about the future? I’d like to share with you what I do, so that you can investigate for yourself if what I do can work for you.
I Do Two Things
I do two productive things to make things happen:
Here’s an example. I have a goal that by January 1, 2021, I’ll have much less fat stuck on my stomach (and it’s seems stuck!) and I’ll be able to fit into a pair of jeans with a 32-inch waist (currently I’m a 34W, and it used to be 38W).
Am I worrying about this goal? No. Why? I’ve (i) prayed about it (or, said in another way, I focused my thoughts with specific details and assured confidence in my success), and (ii) I have made positive plans - in which I realize where I am, and list the future steps to reach my identified future goals.
What is Praying?
What's praying? Praying can be when I make specific requests to God for my needs to be met. Praying also allows me to express my thankfulness for receiving those things for which I believed.
Philippians 4:6 says, "Be careful [Be anxious or worrisome] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
John 14:13,14 says, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
I John 5:14,15 says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him [God], that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
Prayer helps us get specific and honest with God about what is needed in any situation. And prayer with believing and thankfulness brings results to our planning.
Planning is Time Travel
I think of planning as a bit like time travel. We travel into the future by planning, because planning is like bringing the future into the present so that we can do something about it today. I recommend thinking about that again.
Planning is like bringing the future into the present so that we can do something about it today.
Once we (i) pray and (ii) plan, we can stop our anxious thoughts about the future by putting the majority of our energy and actions into living one day at a time.
Jesus Lived from Day to Day
A couple thousand years ago, there was a man named Jesus, who was a great example of how to live one day at a time. He lived and taught his friends to live one day at a time.
We read in Matthew 6:25, 28, 31, 34:
Verse 25: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat [in the future], or what ye shall drink [in the future]; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on [in the future]….
Amplified version translates, “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
Verse 28: And why take ye thought for raiment [clothing]? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.
Verse 31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Verse 34: Take therefore no thought for the morrow [the future]: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
What does that “sufficent unto the day is the evil thereof” mean? It means that each day has enough trouble of its own. There is no need to add to the problems and challenges that each day brings. The suffering, pain, challenges, problems of the present hour is enough without you adding onto it more worries about the future. That’s what Jesus was saying.
His phrase “take… thought” are translated from a Greek word meaning “be anxious about” or, as we might say, “worry.” Jesus told them to NOT to worry about what they were going to eat, to drink, to wear—not to worry about “the morrow” (the future). He assured them that “sufficient enough unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Thayer’s lexicon helps clarify the King James Version of verse 34 as “Let the present day’s trouble suffice for a person, and let them not rashly increase it by anticipating the cares of days to come.” There’s enough to take care of in every twenty-four-hour period. If we try to anticipate the worries of the future, we may actually increase the challenges we’ll need to deal with. We can put our focus into living in the day, right now, the day at hand, the present moment, and one day at a time.
E. W. Bullinger translates Matthew 6:34 as follows: “Have, then, no anxiety for any future day….” That includes tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and the day after that. Every care or concern we may have about the future can be handled one day at a time. To live one day at a time, you have to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Enjoy what’s going on right now. We are not our best, if anxieties about the future dominate our thinking.
I have no doubts or worries that I’ll make it to Europe and enjoy the entire day with my wife (and kids if they’d like to join us) eating great food and swimming in the sea, maybe in a small Italian coastal town. I live in the present moment, and I have (i) prayed about it, and (ii) I have made positive plans.
The Benefits of Worrying
Can you remember the last time you really, practically benefited from worrying a lot? Explain the details of when worrying about something actually helped the situation you were in. See what I mean?
Focus on the Present Moment
So what are some practical things we can do to help us focus our energy into experiencing, living, and enjoying the present moment? I suggest we should daily “perform our vows.”
Psalms 61:8 reads, “So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.”
What's a vow? A vow is a solemn promise you make committing yourself to an act, service, or condition. For example, I commit myself to exercising (or at least moving) every day.
This is one of the best things about believing in God and applying the practical spiritual truths that we know. We can “perform our vows” or do what we’ve committed ourselves to do, and do it one day at a time.
What have we committed to do?
Our commitments may include: our spouse, our children, our parent, our friend, our jobs, our school, our fellowships, our volunteer work, taking care of the things we own, taking care of our health (like losing some fat off the stomach), etc. We’re committed to doing certain things. We do our commitments and responsibilities daily.
For example, we love the people we love daily. Love ‘em up. Right? And when each day is over, we thank God for our commitments, and we go to sleep. By staying committed to the things we have at hand, we live and do God’s Word. And by doing those things well, we can help ourselves to stop worrying about “the morrow.”
Doing God’s Word
"Doing God's Word"... what does that mean?
Spending time in every twenty-four-hour period, each day, with our thoughts focused on "doing God’s Word" can help us live day-by-day, and not worry about the future. Here are a few examples of what "Doing God's Word" means to us:
Those are practical things we do to enjoy life and bless others, and those things we learned from reading God’s Word and going to fellowship.
And while we are focusing our energy and actions into living every day inspired (or in spirit) from what we’ve learned, we are daily loaded up with blessings.
Psalms 68:19 reads, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
I encourage you to pray and plan, which can help us stop anxious thoughts about the future and live our lives to the fullest one day at a time.
If you enjoyed reading that article, you may want to check out "Why Men Watch Football."
Tips for Men to Be Better Men, Wonderful Husbands, and Loving Fathers