photo by Emily Freeman
Are you someone who thinks a lot about all you have to get done – this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow?
If I’m really honest with you, I often live gripped by the stress of what I have to do.
To do lists litter my life.
They are suffocating me.
Tell me I am not alone.
Right now I am sitting in a coffee shop, trying to bang out these words for you, but my mind keeps getting distracted by the items waiting for me at home, as well as what needs to be accomplished at work tomorrow.
This fall I had the opportunity to attend a few Women of Faith conferences. At one of the events, Christine Caine said that our most destructive thought is tomorrow.
Her words hit me to the core.
And in this season of reflection the of God of the universe coming to earth as a baby, I can’t help but be challenged to slow down and focus on what is in front of me today.
Scripture says, do not worry about tomorrow. Today has enough trouble of its own.
Will you pray with me?
Lord, we are so distracted. Help us to live focused on what you have in front of us TODAY. We want to live a life of fruit and not become destructive. Give us clarity, purpose and intention to do what it is you have for us, in this moment, today. Amen.Leave a Comment
Broken in GA says
Oh, thank you for posting this. And, no, you are NOT alone because I and several others I know fall prey to this too. I’m still looking for a permanent “fix” to this issue in my own life; I’ll do good for awhile & then slide back into old habits.
You are so not alone in this struggle. This season is especially difficult for those of us who borrow worries and to-do’s from tomorrow. Today is enough. He is enough.
Jessica Turner says
Thank you for this. There is comfort in knowing we are not alone.
This is so timely – thank you!
I am reminded of a few slogans from a 12 step program I’m familiar with:
Keep it Simple
One Day at a Time
First Thing’s First
Easy Does It
All of which have kept me grounded when my mind wants to blast me into the future at warp speed and keep me from experiencing the moment.
Thanks for taking the time to share,
Mona in Vermont
Jessica Turner says
A friend and I always say to each other – just take one step at a time. 🙂 Thank you for your wisdom.
AMen, SIster. I am sure you are not alone and I am not either. Then we slow down and here the wooing and whisper- God with us! Oh, Praying with you- and Christmas is not an easier time to focus on the Lord, but harder with the assault and expectation. Oh that we could be in the place of humble adoration. Sweet post and reminder, Jessica! Thank you!
I put a little wall decal/decor thingy in my girls room “pray about everything, worry about nothing” and some days I go into their room, take a breath and spend a few minutes reading it.
On really, really bad days they say “Mom, why are you in my room again!”
Praying . . . be blessed.
What an appropriate topic for the Christmas season! I have learned, the hard way, I suppose, to only tackle one day at a time. Through the death of my dear, sweet husband, I am learning by necessity to only take one day at a time. That is all that is humanly possible when you face life-changing situations. I used to worry and not be able to sleep at night from trying to plan and orchestrate my life and the schedules, etc., of my husband and children. God, in his ever-wonderful grace and mercy, brought me to the place where things were completely out of my control, and in doing so, showed me that in the big things and in all the little things, I have absolutely no control. By giving it all to Him, I am so free to actually enjoy every day. I am sorry that I did not know this freedom before – it would have made my life and the life of my family so much easier. I say all this to encourage all of you who can, to try to live this way. It goes against everything that the world tells us as wives and mothers, but isn’t God’s way always like that?
Oh – I am so sorry, Nana. What a beautiful lesson to be learning from what I’m sure is a devastating loss.
Jessica Turner says
Praying for peace for you this Christmas season.
This is a theme I continue to hear. Staying in the precious present moment. I will, today.
Ah, the to-do list. You’re definitely not alone. Praying with you, Jessica – for focus, for reorientation, for peace…
Angie @ Beauty of One says
Jessica, I SO needed to hear this today! As a single woman, I am having my most destructive thought about tomorrow: will I be single forever? It is something that I have put in God’s hands but sometimes fear’s ugly head shows up and puts doubt in my heart. So thank you for pointing out that we need to focus on today.
Right with you, Angie – I struggle with this, too. I feel, in a deep place, that I’m meant to be a wife and mother…and the fact that it hasn’t happened yet is a bit demoralizing, to say the least. I have those low moments, too…but if I could offer you the thought I cling to: God is wise. He gives us what we need, when we need it. If He plans for us to marry, He’ll prepare us for that – and if He plans for us to remain single, He’ll prepare us for that, too. He’ll give us everything we need.
How comforting it is to read the replies to this timely topic. The thing that helps me the most is remembering a piece of advice that, if followed, really can help: Plan your work; work your plan. To do this, I sit down with my notebook open to a fresh page, and begin listing all of the things that are on my ‘to do’ list. Once complete, I look it over, and decide which ones need immediate attention, and go from there. Then, if a deadline is pending, my next step is to determine how many days remain for me to complete this plan, and divide the chores, assigning them accordingly to separate days. That advice, given me years ago, really helps me. One day at a time is all I’m dealing with, yet at the same time, I know that the other chores will be given ‘their day’, so the burden of worry about them falls off the present day, leaving me free to accomplish that day’s ‘to do’ list. I usually employ this method when approaching a big deadline. If you remember another chore not listed, return to your list and figure out which day to add it in! (I really should follow this plan on the ‘nothing is coming up days’, too…..!) Anyway, as I see it, we are all so much alike in this difficulty. I am encouraged and uplifted learning this, knowing I’m not alone. And, God has chosen us, given us our lives and responsibilities. He will guide and help us to succeed. Finally, I’d like to share a message for Angie: Please place your concern about whether you will ever marry right in God’s hands. If it is His will, you will marry…and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how God brings it about. Focus on this thought with anticipation and joy and wait and see! I’ll pray for you!
Annie Downs says
Angie, I totally feel this during the holidays too. I feel like the enemy knows just when to whisper that I’ll always be alone. But just like Jessica said, I have to choose to focus on today- on the good things God is doing around me. I’m praying for you today, that God would really step in a fill you with a new hope to remind you that He has got your future on His mind. 🙂
Here is a quote, by Andrew Murray, that I have found helpful in my own season… busy season of overwhelm.
“Take time. Give God time to reveal Himself to you. Give yourself time to be silent and quiet before Him, waiting to receive, through the Spirit, the assurance of His presence with you, his power working in you. Take time to read His Word as in His presence, that from it you may know what He asks of you and what he promises you. Let the Word create around you, create within you a holy atmosphere, a holy heavenly light, in which you soul will be refreshed and strengthened for the work of daily life.”
I’ve been taking a month – a gift to myself – of silence over at my blog, Treasured Up and Pondered. But this quote just might have to go up today. 😉 It goes along well for my attempted “season of quiet” midst the same season of “busy”.
I’ll be praying for you today.
Jessica Turner says
Wow! This is so me recently! Thank you for the profound reminder! Praying!
Kathy @ In Quiet Places says
What a beautiful post and reminder for a time when our to do lists are longer than ever! I needed it, thank you!
Diane McElwain says
Emily, sometimes God will slow us down if we don’t find the time. Our church has put on a 2 weekend live nativity in December the last 2 years. It is such a huge undertaking that we decided not to do it this year. Christmas needs to be celebrated, but maybe not in the way we think.
This year we have some tragedies in our community and are trying to reach out to the loved ones left behind. It has been a difficult November. Showing love to these ones is very important at this time. Involving the whole family in this is a real blessing.
Jessica Turner says
Ministering to others in pain is such a blessing – to us and to them. Thank you for sharing this example.
Christy Fitzwater says
I needed to hear this today. Thank you!!
Beth Williams says
I am one of those people who enjoy being busy doing things. There comes a time, though, when you/ your body just says stop! You need to rest, slow down and think about the important things in life. Enjoy the life here and now that God has blessed you with!
You are not alone in your worries. Praying for you sister!
Jessica Turner says
Yes, I thrive on being busy, but that doesn’t mean it is always right.
Hmmm, so true, and when we focus so much on the future, the tomorrows, we forget to enjoy the todays.
I think a lot of people believe, wrongly, that the more they can cram into their lives, the more meaning their lives have. As if doing a million things somehow gives their lives worth. Unfortunately, all you end up with is a lot of busy-ness and not much else. Makes one wonder where time for God fits in.
I am not saying to be idle but instead to seek balance and find out what God really wants you to be doing.
Karen Looby says
Perfect for today. Just what I needed to hear, deep in my heart, an echo of what the Father has been whispering.
A sobering thought. But, it is so easy to live in the future and stress out unnecessarily. Thank you for sharing!
I have felt this so heavily for about two weeks and it is real. I have so much to get done. And some of it I don’t have a clue how to get it done.
~Getting a grip Cheryl
Every day..all year round. My mind never shuts down. Interrupts my days and my nights. It’s paralyzing. I am my own worse enemy. I look at people whose struggles are so much more challenging than my own and they kind find happiness and joy. I feel ashamed, for I cannot. I don’t know why. I need to have more faith in God and His wisdom. Thank you to every brave person who has shared, today and this wonderful post.
I just found out that our 7 yr old son will need work on his mouth. He has an underbite and his upper jaw is too narrow. He will need an expander, braces, and headgear. Then he will need a gum graft because his upper teeth and tongue are pushing his lower teeth forward and thinning his gums to the point his permanent teeth will loosen if we don’t get all this fixed soon. I woke up this morning with a headache and my own jaw hurting. I must have been clenching my teeth during the night. I so need this word and encouragement today. Thank you.
Thank you for this post and for letting me know I’m not alone in my struggles. This is a hard time of the year for me. Getting up with great expectations for the day and becoming almost paralyzed with all there is to do and ending up not getting anything done. Praying for clarity and wisdom and grace for all of us going through this. He is indeed enough and will see us through. Blessings to all~
amy martin says
i too struggle with wasting time on the to dos i think i need to do. when i remember my only to do is to glorify God it helps a lot. thank God the Holy Spirit will tap me on the shoulder many times a day to remind me of that only one thing (God) is necessary to get me through my day. thank you Lord, praying for all of us with our to dos, let the eyes of our hearts see Him and rest there.
Oh, my! No, you’re most definitely not alone. And wow, did I ever need to read that this morning! (God knew that, I guess. :)) Thank you for sharing, Jessica.
Marty Walden says
You are a young mom, with kids, a job, a blog and many other projects. This season of life for you will be filled with to do lists! Just remember you are a daughter of the king and no matter what you get “done” you are still loved. As an older mom now (teenagers and adult kids) I see the years spent pouring into their lives and hearts and know it was all worth it. Hard, but worth it. Thank you for your transparency. I treasure that in people!
Melissa @ Gracefully Falling Down says
You are absolutely not alone. I blogged about that same suffocating feeling not long ago: http://gracefullyfallingdown.blogspot.ca/2012/11/sometimes-i-just-need-to-write.html
Thank you for this post, and I am definitely praying with you
Oh yes. I am with you.
I feel God speaking this to my heart recently too. Thank you for sharing this.
Debra Weiss says
“Our most destructive thought is tomorrow.” – Wow, that’s good stuff. And so important to remember at this time of year!
I’m the girl that makes lists of lists I need to make. I’m not kidding. I should definitely work more on living in the present. I’ll add that to one of my lists (just kidding!).
Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) says
Debra – I’m lol b/c I am totally that girl too – making lists of the lists I need to make!!
Loved this post and the idea of tomorrow being our most destructive thought speaks volumes to me!!
Ann : ) says
Being in the present is a goal.
kris scorza-sobieski says
jessica…this mirrored my feelings of the last few days and encouraged me. thank you.
Sabine Jung says
Thank you for sharing this. We all need – at least from time to time – a moment to stand still, just to BE. Work will anyway catch us somehow…
Michael Hyatt wrote a post about practising stillness:
Can be helpfull! 🙂
This could not have come at a better time!
I haven’t slept well all week (dealing with anxiety) thinking about all of the things swirling about this month (my son’s birthday is tomorrow, we have a weekend trip planned to celebrate, we have another family members birthday to celebrate, school party, field trip, shopping to do, cookies to bake the list could go on and on). How did i let all of this “stuff” get me so up in a tizzy? when really I should be able to sit back and enjoy each day, each moment as it comes. I keep thinking “do not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has enough trouble of it’s own” I also lay all of this at the feet of Jesus but why oh why do i keep picking it back up and hoisting it back up onto my shoulders? UGH!! I just want to rest in the Peace and truth of the season.
Thanks for posting! What I have to so do this weekend is suffocating me but I need to remind myself to focus on just right now. Hallelujah, praise the Lord for the wise words! 🙂
Tracey M says
What a profound though! This is definitely something I fall into. So thankful that you shared about it.
You are SO not alone! Thank you so much for posting this- it’s just what I needed to read. xxx
Brooke Keith says
I am absolutely on board with this! I was just diagnosed with MS and thinking way too much about tomorrow. Thank you for your timely message.
From all the responses to your post, this shows there are way too many of us with our ‘lists’ and too much to do who need to slow down and focus on the here and now. Thank you so much for pointing us in the right direction – especially in this season when we should be focusing on our heavenly father instead of the things of the world.
Amy Corley says
I am sitting here, trying to get my day in order, trying to wrangle my to-do list into something remotely manageable. I really, really needed to read this, and to stop and pray and focus on Jesus. Thank you, Jessica, for taking the time out of your busy day to write this!!