One Day At A TimeMar 10, 2022
The happenings in the world are so heavy right now. I experience a swirl of emotions as I watch everything unfold on TV. The images of families fleeing Ukraine because of the horrific war are difficult to accept. The division in the US between our nation’s leaders over the impending inflation and the energy crisis is often too much to absorb. I often question what will happen next. What will happen to our country? How will we get through this? How can I protect my family?
Worry is a normal part of life. It is normal to worry about the future or worry about your family or worry about your financial stability, but worry can also prevent you from moving forward. In my podcast, Worry Much, I share how worry is the work of the Enemy.
Worry is what I call an indulgent emotion. When you worry, you can get caught up in a spiral of emotion which keeps you spinning without moving forward. Worry is the result of giving light to your fears. Now, it is important to look to the future and create a plan, but when you worry, you bring tomorrow’s assumed problems into the present moment. When you worry it is because of something that you fear. Worry can seem like a good idea, because you are thinking about all the things that could possibly happen or bring harm to you or your family. The problem with worry is that it limits your ability to see other possibilities or outcomes.
When you worry you are projecting how you will handle situations in the future all on your own, usually without God’s intervention.
Two years ago, when Covid first reared its ugly head, we had no idea what we would face over the next 24 months. We couldn’t imagine that the world would literally shut down, that families would be isolated at home, that churches would willingly close their doors, that hospitals would be filled to capacity, that loved ones would suffer and die with the horrible disease, that the new norm would be wearing masks, that our country could be further divided over to vax or not to vax, that students would learn remotely, that families wouldn’t gather for holidays and so much more.
If we were able to look into a crystal ball in March of 2020 and see that all of this was to come, it would have been too much for us. We couldn’t have processed all of these events together. But guess what we made it through. It wasn’t easy, you might have hurts and pain from what you endured or experienced, you might not be the same person you were two years ago, but you made it through ONE DAY AT A TIME. Friends, that is what we are called to do, to live one day at a time. When it seems like things are falling apart and are out of control, all you have to do is take life one day at a time.
When you aren’t sure how to handle the medical diagnosis, the broken relationship, the lost job, a broken world, battling an addiction, just take it one day at a time.
Worrying prevents us from living one day at a time. Worry tells us that we have to figure it all out so that we can feel better. The reality is that it is impossible to have all the answers. Living one day at a time gives us control over how we want to show up in our lives. There will be times of uncertainty, fear and despair, but living in the moment allows us to make the best decision possible in that moment.
Jesus tells us, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Matthew 6:34
Here are three ways that you can quiet down the worries so that you can focus on the present moment.
First, be aware of why you are worried. Worries are simply thoughts about what might happen in the future. Your brain is designed to protect you, so it picks up on any possible threat. Your brain is also very smart and creative which is why you can create amazing scenarios about what could happen in the future. When you find yourself worrying, pause, take out your journal or notebook and write down all of the reasons you are worried. List each and every worry. Once you are able to see your worries on paper it will give you a different perspective.
I was on a recent flight to Florida and as we took off, we didn’t get too far in the air before we were surrounded by white fluffy clouds. As I looked out of the window, I couldn’t see the wing because the clouds were so thick. Within a few seconds we broke through the clouds to find a sunny blue sky. A thick cloud bank was below the plane and the blue skies went for miles and miles.
Just like breaking through the clouds to sunny skies, it is helpful to take a step back and be an “observer” as you look at your worries. Don’t judge them, but simply recognize them as thoughts in your brain based on what you perceive could happen. As a Catholic Life Coach, I show clients how they may have plenty of evidence to prove their worry is relevant and realistic, but I encourage them to see worry as a string of thoughts in their brain that they can control.
An awareness of worry will help you to see that your worries are NOT reality, they are thoughts in your mind about how you perceive the future.
Second, allow yourself to feel worried. Notice how it feels in your body. Do your shoulders tense up? Do you feel it in your stomach? Resisting an emotion can create more struggles than if you just allowed it. When you resist worry, you can layer it with anger, frustration, despair, hopelessness which makes is heavier.
Think about holding a beach ball under the water. It takes a lot of effort to hold it under the surface, but once you release the ball, it explodes out of the water. The same is true with worry or other emotions, just allow them so they don’t erupt and create havoc in your life. Worry doesn’t feel good, there is no way to sugar coat it. The goal is to allow the worry and to recognize that you feel worried. Once you have this recognition, you can go back to the first step, awareness, and explore the thoughts that are creating your worry. Being aware and allowing both your thoughts and emotions helps you to show up as your best self. Focusing on the day in front of you allows you to live one day at a time.
“The secret to happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.” – St. Gianna Molla
Third, the most important step is to acknowledge God in the midst of ALL of your worries. When you are caught up in worrying, you usually forget that God is right there with you. God is in the past, present and future. Worrying often overlooks God and how he is at work in your life.
In Psalm 121 we read, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
Giving your worries and fears to God doesn’t always change the situation. What happens can be even better, God changes you. You are strengthened, encouraged, and equipped for the journey ahead. When you place all your trust in God, you allow him to carry the uncertainties and to guide you as you move forward. You will still worry and at times you will be overwhelmed with worry, but simply stop and turn back to God. God will see you through the thick bank of clouds to a place of sunshine and clarity. Spend time in the Scriptures or in front of the Blessed Sacrament where you will come to know God on a deeper more intimate level so that you can live one day at a time.
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Sunny skies are in your future, but the way there is by living one day at a time as you pass through the thick bank of clouds.