How to overcome the worries and fears about the future and live here and now? What does the Bible teach us about this?
The need to live here and now
I suppose many people want and try to live fully present in body and in spirit, to live here and now. However they discover that many of their thoughts and emotions are directed either to the past or towards the future. This means they experience in their thoughts again and again past events or develop worst case scenarios. This way we spent much of the present in worries, anxiety, and fears of the future.
In our todays we are always connected with both the past and the future. But when we focus are thoughts and emotions on the past and the future, then it becomes an obstacle to living TODAY. This robs us of the joy, peace and the ability to make decisions and act responsibly today.
The main biblical message on this subject is DO NOT FEAR AND DO NOT WORRY (about anything, including tomorrow):
- „Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
- „Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:25-34)
- „and cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
The main cause of anxiety
It is easy to say, and almost impossible to do without knowing and believing God’s love and grace. But even when we have surrendered ourselves to God, and we know that we are justified and reconciled with Him, we find that we still have trouble with the anxiety about tomorrow. Why?
The main cause of anxiety is our desire to control things, people, and circumstances fueled by our pride and ego. Control is our path to security and safety, the basic need of all human beings. It has been proven that the more controlling and manipulating a person is, the more uncertain and fearful he is.
Yes, this is the one way but God offers us another way – the way of surrender. This means giving up the control and putting our faith and trust in a God Who has all the power and wisdom. And most importantly, Who is good and loves us all the time. God’s invitation is to rest in Him, in His love, and in His graciousness. He invites us to stop worrying about things we do not know and over which we have no control. From this point of view anxiety is a sign of unbelief. We must oppose this by exercising faith and casting all our anxieties and cares to God.
Practical implications of the way to surrender and faith
First of all the deliberate refusal to worry about tomorrow or to live in the past helps us to focus on today, on our steps today (choices, decisions, actions). It is much easier to achieve a goal if we focus on the step today, rather than trying to imagine the whole way to the end, which can demotivate us. Ultimately, we only have access to time resources today and now and to achieve our goal it is important what we do here and now.
Will we endure TODAY without lighting a cigarette? Will we give our bodies what is good for them TODAY? Are we going to rest TODAY? Will we show love NOW? Will we forgive NOW? The rest concerning tomorrow are just intentions and plans …
The second very important aspect of living here and now is connected with the acceptance and exercise of responsibility for the things we have control over and which depend on us.
In general, our responsibility and within our control are:
- Our thoughts – making a choice and a conscious effort to focus on what is true, good, pure, and rejection of false, destructive, accusing, malicious, and evil thoughts.
- Our feelings – in general feelings follow the thoughts. Changing the way of thinking inevitably affects the emotions. It is important not to ignore our emotions, but to learn to discern them, acknowledge them and respectively follow their indication pointing to the true cause/problem in our hearts when it comes to the so-called negative emotions. We can always ask ourselves: “Why do I feel so?”
- Our decisions and choices – YES! This is entirely our responsibility, however much we want many times to blame somebody else.
- Our actions – as a result of decisions and choices made
- The words we speak
- The relationships we have – our part in them with everything above.
To live in the here and now it is important to ask and answer this question every day: “What can I do TODAY? What is my responsibility and what is in my control? And for the rest that is not in our control to choose to surrender to God, to cast our cares on Him and to choose to trust Him with complete faith in His perfect knowledge (of us, our bodies and souls, of every day of our life, every circumstance, difficulty and problem), and in His perfect care.
„Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139). And not only that but let us not forget that besides of the present, God is the Lord and Ruler of both the past and the future, Who is, Who was and Who is coming!
What causes you the greatest anxiety? In which areas do you need to release the control and surrender? You are welcome to share and comment!