I know, it seems pretty self-explanatory. And yet, it’s so difficult to literally take things one day at a time.
Our minds whir past today and worry about the next day, week, month, year.
I don’t think we spend too much time thinking about the future because we’ve got nothing better to do. No, we forward think because we feel like we have to plan.
And we do… to an extent.
In order to be responsible adults, we need to know where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. Even the Bible speaks to this, “…those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness,” (Proverbs 14:22).
But, as with most things, there needs to be a balance between detailedly planning everything about our futures and being open to the truth that God knows better than we do. He knows what’s coming down the pike. He knows what’s best for us.
A couple weeks ago I’d been rehearsing to myself that God knows the plan for my family. And that was comforting… until stress to plan crept back in and tried to take over… 100 times each day.
Then the Lord introduced me to someone who spoke some new wisdom to me through an “old” verse. She said, “Jeremiah 29:11 – ‘For I know the plans I have for you…'” I nodded as she shared, oblivious to the fact that God was about to turn this verse on it’s head for me. The acquaintance continued, “God knows the plan; we don’t have to.”
I hadn’t considered this verse that way before. We normally quote this verse to encourage us that God has good plans for us and that He is in control. But to tilt the focus of the verse onto the pronoun – to observe Who knows the plans – this was big for me. It frees me up from feeling like I have to know the plans too. I don’t!
Instead, I can trust that God will reveal to me the steps of the plan as I need to know them.
Which brings me back to taking things one day at a time.
The Lord is teaching me how to do this.
Yes, I still have a very loose “plan”, but the details aren’t written in permanent marker, and, in some cases, not even in pencil. Because at the end of the day, I don’t actually know the plan.
So, instead of worrying/trying to plan in vain, I’m taking a different approach.
Each morning I’m asking the Lord what He wants me to do today. That’s it. Just today. And He’s telling me.
One day He told me to rest. Another day He told me to turn in my daughters’ school applications to one school. Just one. Several days when I’ve suggested to the Lord that I also “need” to work on other things – like record my last class and write my lesson for my next class – He’s politely instructed me not to. I don’t know why. But I trust Him. I was tempted to job hunt yesterday morning. He reminded me that wasn’t on the list for that day.
Living this way with the Lord has been a lot more freeing than you might think. Especially for us “controllers”. It can be difficult to not plan and do when there is so much that needs to be done. And, to be sure, the world is not going to understand this approach to life, so expect some flack.
But learning to listen to the Lord’s directives one day at a time is building my trust in Him and helping me to obey the numerous scriptures which admonish us to wait on the Lord.
Give it a try. He knows the plan; you’ve got nothing to lose.
“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope,” (Psalm 130:5).