Guest Contributor Joanna Pack
I can’t wait ‘til tomorrow! I can’t wait ‘til Christmas! I can’t wait ‘til I’m big! Remember when those thoughts were paired with a huge grin or clapping hands? The excitement was tightly bound by impatience for the upcoming future events. Some were just days away, while others hovered tantalizingly off in the future. Then we grew up, and for some of us the future doesn’t seem worth looking forward to anymore. In fact, sometimes thinking of the future brings on feelings of stress and anxiety.
I wish tomorrow wouldn’t come. I don’t know what I’ll do if he gets sick again. What if this deal falls through? The youthful excitement is replaced with dread tightly bound by fear of the unknown. It hangs overhead, a vacuum sucking away our joy in the moment.
It’s easy for most kids to look forward to the future; it holds endless possibilities, change, hope for something good. As adults, we become jaded after bearing the burden of life responsibilities. We understand that the future holds surprises that we may not have the answers for or worse that we can’t control, but we somehow have to manage because we’re the grown-ups in the room. For believers in Christ, however, this can’t be how the abundant life is lived out, with dread, doubt, and fear.
Don’t Worry, Little Flock
While we may feel the pressures and concerns of being grown up, God still cares for us as we do for the little people in our lives. He knew we would fall into fear. Luke 12 records Him telling us not to worry about our bodies or possessions because life is more than what we’ll eat and wear or possess. It’s more than what we can see in front of us. Life is about pursuing His kingdom, and it’s our King’s pleasure to not only give us part of it but to take care of the daily and future concerns of life, as well, if we’re willing to chase after it.
More Than Theory
Luke 12 gives us the foundation that supports a life that is focused on what God is concerned about instead of a life concerned about the future. And just like any skill that we want to develop and become adept at, we have to plan and practice.
1. Start the day acknowledging that God was here before you, preparing you for this day, and that He will continue to provide what you need to live it out to His glory because He’s pleased to do so.
2. Trap those thoughts. They’re pesky and will buzz you all day if you don’t swat them down swiftly. They like to pretend they are elusive, but let them know you see them and replace them with an alternative thought. (i.e. I don’t know how I’m going to get through today. Acknowledgement: this thought is making me feel anxious. New thought: I felt this looming fear yesterday, and God brought me through it.)
3. Look for the Manna Just as God provided daily for the Israelites in the desert, He provides for each of our needs. End your day recounting and giving thanks for what manna He provided for you.
Plan and practice with diligence and look to the future as the Spirit changes your dread to hope for a stronger faith and anticipation at the coming kingdom.
For further study: Luke 12:13-34. What does it say about God that He feeds birds and clothes flowers? How has He fed and clothed me today (literally, spiritually, emotionally)? What might my heart be tied to that is competing with an affection for the things of God?
This is a follow-up post to our second Equip night: Stress, Fear, and Anxiety. Join us March 6th for our 3rd night: Epidemic. For more information and to register go to www.brookstonechurch.org/epidemic