Focus on the Present

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

When I hear exhortations not to worry, I sometimes think to myself, ”But how?” How can I plan the future without worrying about it? If I live every day not thinking about the next, how will I ever get anywhere? The beginning of a new year is an exciting event, and perhaps you have great expectations for the coming year. But it may also be a little scary to be reminded of the fact that we are stepping into the unknown: a whole new year that we don’t know what will bring. But of course, we are not told to not even think about the future. I think these verses give a very good recipe for the worriless life we should live with God. The worrylessness comes, not from the laziness of not bothering to plan the future, but from trusting in God. So by all means, work and plan for the future, but put all those things that you are working and planning for in God’s hands. Put this whole coming year in His hands. We are allowed to have dreams about things we want to work out and expect to happen. Bring all of these requests to God and trust that as you work for this and pray for it, then it will happen, if it’s within God’s will. But if it doesn’t happen, if you don’t get into the university you wanted or the job you’d dreamed of or the apartment you’d hoped for, don’t despair, instead have faith that this wasn’t God’s will, and that He has better things in store for you. And while you plan and pray for the future, put your main focus on the present moment, thanking God not only for the things He will do in your life but for the things He has already done and is doing right now! Use the energy you save by not worrying about the future but to see, really see, the people around you this moment the way God sees them. The man on the street or the woman sitting next to you on the bus or your Mom who’s  writing you letters living far from you. These are the people God has made to cross your path right now for you to help and love, to bring a smile on their faces or pass on the message they might not already have heard or might need to hear again, that God loves them. There are no moments that are just pass-time. Put the present in God’s hands so you can confidently use it for His glory, knowing that He is the One who is really at work. Trust in Him rather than in your own little strength, and you have nothing to fear. Expect great things from Him in this new year.

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