Do you have a good imagination? Perhaps in the past people have told you that you don`t have much imagination, and often it`s parents, teachers or others in our childhood who squash us like that. But actually you may well have a better imagination than you realise.
Are you someone who uses up a lot of energy worrying about what might happen? You imagine every possible scenario, usually the worst ones, and what you might do in each situation. If so, you’re not alone; people who worry a lot have excellent imaginations. However, worrying is a waste of a good imagination!
“I know, I know,” you might say. “I know I shouldn`t worry, but how can I stop? The problems don`t go away.”
Well, firstly we`re often imagining things that are unlikely to ever happen, or are someone else`s problem. If that’s the case, let`s ask the Lord to help us use our excellent imagination more productively!
But what about more general anxiety? That anxiety which causes tension in the body, headaches, stomach upsets and so on. Often the stress is due to real problems, difficult decisions, pressure of work, concern for family members, lack of necessary finance.
Today`s verse is a very practical one. Jesus was speaking to His followers, people who were often worried and stressed with the practicalities of life. Jesus knows we have a lot to worry about, and He isn`t denying the reality of the problems. But He says something which is very helpful here. He tells us to focus only on today`s problems.
Have you ever tried doing that? I find it to be incredibly useful advice. Whenever I find myself getting anxious, stressed or worried, I try to remember to ask myself: How much of what I`m anxious about relates to something that`s actually happening today? I soon discover that a lot of my anxiety relates to things I need to do later in the week, or even things I may never need to do at all.
I’ve found it helps a great deal to focus my attention only on the things I need to do today. Do I need to make a decision today? Which aspect of this big task needs to be completed today? I may have practical needs, but what do I actually need today?
Focusing on today and today’s problems is manageable. Trying to deal with all the problems for the whole week or the whole month is not manageable at all. Jesus is the One who designed us. He knows exactly how our minds and bodies work. They work best if we focus just on today’s problem. We’re not designed by God to carry tomorrow’s problem at the same time.
It’s like moving house and trying to carry all your possessions at once! Yes, they all need to be moved eventually, but one at a time. If I carry the worries of several days at once, it’s like damaging my back trying to carry all the heavy bags and boxes at the same time. It hurts a lot, it damages me and it isn’t even necessary to do it.
‘Give us today our daily bread’ says the Lord’s Prayer. Could you put some of tomorrow’s problems down, and focus just on today’s problems?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your very practical advice. I know You lived on this earth once, and this is what You did with Your problems, so You do know how it feels. Thank You for loving me and caring about how I feel. Please help me to try doing what You’re saying – to focus just on today. Help me to do that now. Thank You. Amen
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