Anyone who has worked with me knows about my to-do lists. You probably have them yourself. I feel safe when I have my list because I know I haven’t missed anything. I have covered everything even the need to write another to-do list for tomorrow!
We know the saying, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today” or some variant of that. So we make lists of all the things that cannot wait so that we cannot be accused of procrastination. We feel satisfied.
That is until we realise that our today is so full of things to do and people to call and places to be that it has become a hugely manic day that we hardly have the time to breathe in. The adrenaline rush of getting the things done on our list only urges us to work harder and faster to get to the bottom of the list. However we often end the day discouraged because the to-do list is never completed.
Jesus has something to say about this, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6 v 34)
The enemy of your soul is out to attack your today. He’s not interested in tomorrow but today. He’s planning to mess it up, cause problems, to do everything he can to make it into a bad day. He uses yesterday to do that and he knows if he can destroy today he has broken your tomorrow.
But God wants to keep today good. At the beginning of time at the end of each day God saw that it was good. He loves today. He loves the opportunity of now.
He’s interested in the right now, this day. The most important time for God is now. In partnership with God we must work at keeping today good. Despite the circumstances and situations that are not good. To get to the end of this day and be able to look upon our Lord and say ‘It is well with my soul’ ‘Today has been a good day for He provided for all that I needed within it and He will do the same tomorrow.’
If we spent less time worrying about tomorrow and more time keeping today good then we would be better prepared for tomorrow.
I have learnt the hard way that there are things that I must put off for tomorrow because they will ruin my day if I tried them today. My to-do list is not daily anymore. I don’t just focus on my next 24 hours. I take control of what is demanding my attention and place it in the tomorrow of my life. That maybe the next day, week or even month. I do it so that my day is protected and I have space to breathe, to look up and to speak to Jesus. Once I master this then the anxiety of what needs doing is placed securely away from my mind.
So that’s it. 10 ways to help you not worry. They all involve writing things down. I find once it is on paper (I still have to physically write) then my mind can relax. That what could cause worry is there in my notebook and not taking head space because I am afraid I will forget it. Then I can enjoy my day. People ask me why I don’t seem to worry. My answer is this: all my worries are in my notebook and not in my brain. My thoughts are about the activity of today and doing my best to keep it good. If I do worry today it will be that I lose my notebook of worries!
10 ways to help you not worry
1. Write down your decisions. Jesus says, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matthew 6 v 25) Therefore … The verses prior to this Jesus has instructed us on treasures, eyes and masters. There are decisions of the heart, the eyes and that of our lifestyle that will impact on whether we worry or not. This is an uncertain world we live in and the decisions we make are crucial.
2. Write down your VALUE
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6 v 26) In overcoming your worry the value you place upon yourself is crucial. Answering the question what does God say I am will help when perhaps circumstances and people are impacting negatively on your value.
3. Write down what you KNOW is true.
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6 v 27) Jesus is not advocating a care-free, careless life. But he is saying anxiety will not change anything that cannot be changed. So write down what you KNOW. Write down what is certain and what you can control and what is not certain and uncontrollable.
4. Write down your self-awareness of who you are.
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin.” (Matthew 6 v 28)Worry won’t stop until you have lost all self-awareness of who you really are. Let who you are be enough. Flowers just flower. Take your eyes off who you aren’t and what you don’t have and be comfortable in your own skin.
5. Write down the person you want to be.
“Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.”(Matthew 6 v 29) One of the effects of worry is causing you to think you are not capable to deal with what may happen next. If you don’t know who you are and who you are journeying to become then you will always be disabled by the thoughts you will not have enough and be enough in that situation.
6. Write down in big letters GOD CARES
It is absolutely essential that you build in and around your life the evidence that you truly believe that God cares for you. The Bible is packed full of verses that God cares. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? (Matthew 6v 30)
7. Write down what you need
“So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” (Matthew 6 v 31) Whenever I have told my children not to worry about something it is because I have had a greater confidence in their future than they have. Basically I know I will be there for them. I will resource them. I will be there. The voices around you and within you may sound an uncertain message and yet God is for you and with you and the One who saw your beginning will make a way to the end.
8. Write down what you know about your Heavenly Father
Jesus says, “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6 v 32) In battling those anxious, worrying thoughts, there is nothing better than the Word of God. If Jesus used it in his temptations then surely we should too! On the door of my study for many years I had written down lots of verses of what the Bible said God is and who I am; I wrote down my decisions, my value, what I knew to be true, my self-awareness of who I was, the person I wanted to be, the evidence that God cared for me and what I needed. I thought if Habakkuk had to write it down (2:2) then so should I.
9. Write down what is of most importance.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6 v 33) The time has come to declutter. You need to simplify. Strip back the many things in your life for the important one. To seek first His kingdom. This is your priority. Stop chasing and start being who God has made you. Being right in who you are and what you do is to seek His righteousness. Write down what comes first.
10. Write down a list for tomorrow
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6 v 34) If we spent less time worrying about tomorrow and more time keeping today good then we would be better prepared for tomorrow.
WRITE IT DOWN!