By Katie Logsdon
I once thought life and anxiety inevitably went together – if you’re going to be human, you’re going to have anxiety. However, Jesus says in Matthew 6 to not “worry about your life,” a call so distant from my head-spinning, sleep-stealing reality.
For me, a lot of my anxiety has stemmed from uncertainty about the future, even though Matthew 6:34 clearly says, “Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
In a culture that constantly moves, schedules, and plans, this verse is contrary to what I think I need. I think, Well of course, Jesus, I have to worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow is soon. Tomorrow I need a graduate program. At a later tomorrow, I need a job.
But amid my impatience and worry I realize: Jesus wants us to slow down in this kingdom race so that we can run next to Him rather than in front of Him. When I run in front of Him, I start to create my own route instead of following His. The anxiety that builds up when I refuse to give my future to God masks His direction.
In 1 Corinthians 3:1-11 Paul and Apollos, the founders of the Corinthian church, explain their relationship with God in their ministry. Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” We can move one step at a time, but ultimately only God can cause us to flourish.
My head knows these truths, but my stress levels show brokenness that only God can fix. So then how? In a life that seems so entangled with worry, how do I stop worrying about tomorrow?
- Separate your “today” and “tomorrow,” literally. Pen and paper, write it down. For instance, if you are a pre-med sophomore and it’s time to sign up for next semester’s classes, great! Put that under the “today” column. Worried about actually getting into medical school? Nope. Throw it under “tomorrow.” Whatever your God-given dreams, make your list and commit to surrendering everything under the “tomorrow” column to the Lord.
- When items from the tomorrow column creep into your mind, be still and pray where you are (Psalm 46:10). This prayer can be as long or short as needed, but refocusing on God will put those items back in the “tomorrow” column where they belong. Filling our thoughts with the truth of Matthew 6 makes room for peace.
- Remind yourself that whatever plans God has for you probably do not yet exist in your conception (Ecclesiastes 11:5). Was there a time when God wrecked your plans, but with foresight you see His are better? When tomorrow’s worries come up, remind yourself of God’s power to see the entire map of our lives.