As promised in my last blog post, I am here today to tell you about the little secret I’ve learned to living a worry-free life.
It’s actually not a “secret”, because I’ve heard it a million times before. I just didn’t fully understand what it was supposed to look like in real life. Thank goodness for Elizabeth George and her fantastic explanation which finally made things hit home for me.
She writes a lot about this verse:
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. (Matthew 6:34 )
That verse has never been a comfort to me – each day has enough trouble of it’s own? It sounds like each day is so full of trouble that there will always be lots to worry about. I’ll be mentally busy for the rest of my life…
So I have always just ignored that verse, and worried about whatever I chose to worry about.
But what Elizabeth George writes about in her book, Loving God With All Your Mind, is that this is a command from God. All that we’re allowed to think about is today. He doesn’t want us filling our minds with worries and concerns about the future. He wants us to trust Him, and live today.
Do you know how many thoughts are eliminated by only thinking about today?
That means no thoughts about mistakes I’ve made in the past, and no thoughts about annoying things other people said or did. And it means no fears about the future, no concerns about things that haven’t even happened yet.
Obviously, it is necessary at times to plan for the future, and to be responsible in our preparation for the days to come.
But what I was doing a majority of the time could not be classified as necessary or responsible. On my first day of attempting to “only think about today”, I could not believe how many times I had to remind myself that I was mentally heading into forbidden territory.
“Oh, that’s dwelling on the past.”
“Oops… that’s worrying about the future.”
“Nope, that’s still worrying about the future!”
All day long, I was constantly reminding myself that my thoughts needed to stay on that day only.
And the strangest thing started to happen! I had so much “space” in my head that I hardly knew what to do with it. I had no idea what to think about all day. I could definitely see how it would be about twenty times easier to pray or memorize verses if I didn’t constantly have all that junk whirling around in my head.
For someone who doesn’t struggle with worry, that probably sounds really silly. How could it take me thirty-three years to figure that out? I guess we just get stuck in sinful habits, and for each of us, we have our areas of weakness that seem to get us every time.
So now what? It’s been a week since I started to give my “mind muscles” a workout. I can see how this will take some time to get used to. I’m getting better at recognizing what I’m doing, and seeing my thoughts for what they are. But I think it will be a while before this becomes natural or easy.
There are a couple of things that I keep thinking about:
1) Because it’s sinful to worry, and God commands me not to do it, I will be able to resist temptation, with His help.
2) The body naturally want to do what feels good for it. A while back, I shared this link to a message entitled “A Beautiful Mind”. The speaker talks about how our body begins to think, “Hey, this is a good choice. It makes me feel good. If I continue to repeat this action, I will feel good in the future.” And a new habit is born. Bad choices can feel good, in a different way than good choices do. If we continually focus on the good feeling that comes from good choices, our bodies will help us in the habits we are trying to form.
You know what? It feels so good to have less worry in my life! Who knew! Um, God did. (And Ben did, too! Man, I wish I could naturally be as calm and easy-going as he is!)
3) God created our bodies to function best without worry. Jesus tells us not to worry because He knows it’s best not to. It’s not just a friendly suggestion. It’s a command because He knows what’s best for our lives, and He knows that we were not created to carry that burden, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically.
4) Changing a habit is hard, but I can do it for today! When I think about the thoughts that pertain to today, the load looks really light. I can carry the load for today! Changing the entire way I think sounds daunting, but…I only have to do it for today!
So maybe worry is not your area of weakness. But most of these thoughts could probably apply to any area that we struggle with.
What’s your area? What do you struggle with that’s sucking the peace out of your life, and making you feel worn out and defeated? I wish I could share of burst of energy and encouragement with you today! God knows! God cares!
We say those things in such a glib way sometimes, and yet that’s what it all comes down to. It’s what I base my life on.
Want to share? Any struggles and/or words of encouragement you want to pass on to the rest of us?
One thought on “If You’re Trying to Change a Habit…”
Pingback: A Scar to Remind Me… « Kendra's Blog