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They say opposites attract. Well, I wouldn’t say my husband is my opposite, but there are definitely some big differences in the way he and I think and operate. For example, I like to process my thoughts and feelings out loud, whereas John processes things inwardly. Mimi = many words, John = few words.

I’m an optimist and idealist, lover of happy endings.  He is practical and realistic.

He’s a big picture kind of thinker, I’m into details.  He dreams about where he wants to go, I want to know how it’s going to work or happen. What’s the plan, man.

However, one of the most glaring differences became evident a few years ago.

I saw a gift card he had gotten for his birthday the YEAR BEFORE still on his dresser unused.

Seriously.

How is that possible?? When I receive a gift card from someone, I am halfway to the store to use it before you can say “shop ’til you drop.” Bam.

A gift is meant to be accepted and used, right? I mean, I guess there’s not a timeline of how fast you have to use it but if a cute ‘lil gift card just sits on your dresser you’re not enjoying all the giver intended.

There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.

My lovely momma reminded me the other day when I was fretting about something that I am supposed to just live in this day, one day at a time. How often I’ve heard that and learned that, and yet I have to be reminded. We all do.

There was a time in my family’s life when I was learning to live one day at a time in a very profound, hard, stretching kind of way. I’m talking “rubber meets the road” faith time: after paying bills having $3 left for the pay period (that included several bills not getting paid), hearing God ask me if we had no place to live if I would believe He was still enough for us, trying to raise a rebellious teenager who had become someone we didn’t even know, having no hint of what was to come and learning to just keep going day by day. I was learning surrender at a whole new level. As I tried to pry my tired hands away and let go of all my worries, I realized that when Jesus told me to not worry about tomorrow He was actually giving me a gift. It’s a relief to live in one day at a time and leave the rest to Him.

God is love and in His love He gives us free will. Because He is love, He also takes care of us and wants us to know He is there with a plan, with endless resources, with His very presence. I can’t think of a better gift!

If I’m stressing about outcomes to situations that are completely out of my control, or making new knots in my stomach trying to figure out answers there’s no way I will figure out, or even laying awake at night in fear, mind and heart racing over whether or not things will work out well for my daughters, then I am not using the gift that God set out for me.

Maybe it would help if we could see how very little we actually initiate in our earthly lives, when each breath is even from Him, the waking up in the morning, the receiving of another day at all – all from God. When Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Your heavenly Father knows what you need before you even ask him” He wasn’t scolding, He was offering the gift of peaceful awareness that God’s got it under control with or without our stressing and striving.

Imagine you have a dear friend who is really struggling financially. Let’s say you have the ability to  anonymously send them a grocery store gift card, one that never runs out. They open the envelope, see the card, and think “aw, that’s nice” but then set it down and either forget to use it or think “I can get by without that” or “I need to figure this out.”

Imagine now, a Father who has promised to be all His child ever needs and to never leave them, watching His child run here and there in anxiety preoccupied with how they will have enough or what will happen tomorrow.

I believe God never intended for us to bear the heavy burden of the future on our little shoulders. There is no point in trying to orchestrate all the outcomes in our lives or the lives of those we love, or find all the solutions to all our problems or needs on our own, because it’s beyond our know-how, our ability, our resources, our skill…so much of tomorrow is out of our hands.

AND, the more we focus on the past or the future, the less we really LIVE because the only time we can occupy, interact in, and experience is the present…this day, this time, this moment right now. We miss opportunities to connect, be present, relate, listen, serve, and love. We miss out on much in this brief and precious life.

Take my word for it (someone who is still learning and practicing this) and accept God’s gift of love: Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t even worry about a few hours from now. Trust Him. Ask Him to help you live in this day, to accept His amazing, loving, freeing gift.

Ask Him to show Himself to you in new ways, to reveal how great and capable He is and that He’s always at work on behalf of His kids who love Him. Remember He loves you. He will meet every need. He is able and He is more than enough for today and all your tomorrows.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[e] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34 NLT

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28 NLT

(Quote above from the film, “Kung Fu Panda”)
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