Just Do The Laundry

Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I can feel it.  Fear.  Anxiety.  The buzzing of panic churning in my stomach.  Before I even get out of bed, my mind will start throwing at me all the things that could go wrong in life, all the things that have gone wrong, all the things I fear I'm failing at, all the things that are out of my control, all the possible problems of the future.

"What if I fail?  What if I can't keep it together?  What if another dream crashes and burns?  What if my efforts don't pay off?  What if I'm failing those around me?  What if I'm not doing enough?  What if I make a mistake?  What if I can't handle it?  What if ...?  What if ...?  What if ...?"

Some days, I dread getting out of bed, because life is too big and too scary and there's too much that can go wrong.  Too much that has gone wrong.    

Some days, the future feels like a tsunami off in the distance, slowly, steadily, making its way to where I am standing on the shore, ready to crash into me, to knock me off my feet, and to bury me in unrelenting, violently-swirling waves.

I was feeling this way when I woke up yesterday.  I could feel the beginning twinge of panic starting to rise in my gut, feeling that the future was just too big and that there's too much to face and that I am too weak and scared.

But as I got out of bed yesterday, I reminded myself of something I've learned during earlier anxiety attacks:  The only thing I have to handle right now is right now.  

During some of my more "dreading to wake up" days, I would be laying in bed, too full of anxiety to get up, too afraid of what the day had in store for me, even if it was just my own imagined fears, my own self-created panic.  And I would ask myself, "What is it that I need to do right now?  What is the only thing I have to focus on right now?"  

And I would answer myself, "Get up and eat breakfast.  Can I handle that much?  Yes, I can handle that much.  I can handle getting up and eating breakfast.  And that's all I need to focus on right now."  (Honestly, I think some of us, during our hardest "dark nights of the soul," can count "getting up and eating breakfast" as a victory.  Taking one small step forward when you want to hide in bed in fear takes courage.  It's a victory!)

I couldn't live in tomorrow, in the "not yet," in the "what if ..."  I had to live in Today, in that moment.  Even if that moment only meant eating breakfast.  

The only thing we need to do is the very next thing on the day's agenda, the very next task of the moment.

And so yesterday, I prayed, "Lord, what do I do today?  What should I focus on?"

And He said, "Just focus on waking up, eating breakfast, and doing the laundry.  That's all you have on the agenda right now.  That's all you have to focus on right now.  Just do the very next thing."

What if ... we focused only on today?  On the very next mundane task, instead of the imagined/overwhelming tasks of the future?  On today's concerns only, instead of our fears of what tomorrow holds?  On the successes of today only, instead of worrying about if we'll be successful in the future?  On the blessings of today only, instead of running after blessings that aren't ours to have yet, or at all?  On the silver linings of today's storm clouds, instead of on all the bad things that happen or could happen?  On doing our best for God's glory in whatever job He puts in our path today, right now?

What if we lived like today was the only day that really mattered?

How much less fear would we feel?  How much more joy would we find?  How much more peace would we have?  How much more content would we be?  Knowing that we are right where God wants us, doing exactly what He wants us to do, enjoying the gifts He has given us today instead of worrying about tomorrow?

What if ...?

So, do you know what I did yesterday?

I drank my coffee and visited with the Lord in prayer and Bible reading.

And then ... I did the laundry.

And do you know what happened?

When I went downstairs to do the laundry, I noticed a little water on the floor.  And when I followed it to the source, I found a broken pipe that leads to the utility sink trickling out water onto the floor.  It probably just broke that morning.  I was able to direct the water into the utility sink and call a plumber to come fix it as soon as they could, which will be later today.

If I hadn't simply focused on the task of the moment, on doing laundry ... if I had chosen instead to sit and ruminate over the imagined fears of the future ... I would have missed the only thing I needed to worry about that day: finding and fixing a leaking pipe.

God knows that we can panic ourselves over the huge tasks and fears of the future, that we can let them overwhelm us and paralyze us, that we can let them suck the joy and life right out of today.

And that's why He calls us to only worry about today.  Today's problems are enough for one day.  Today's grace from Him is enough for one day's problems.  Today's joys are enough to make one day a delight.  Today's successes are enough to make you content that you used your day wisely.

If we focus too much on the future, we miss out on Today.  

If I had focused more on my fears of tomorrow, I would have missed out on a chance to fix today's problem of a leaky pipe.  And that could have led to greater problems tomorrow - more water on the floor, more damaged things, the pipe busting open from greater pressure.

Today is the only day that matters.  Live for Him today.  Focus on the tasks of today.  Enjoy the blessings of today.  Count the successes of today.  Learn from the mistakes of today.  And glorify Him today, by praising Him for today and by trusting Him to handle tomorrow!

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.... Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? ... But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  (Matthew 6:25-34)

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:19)

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  (James 1:5, emphasis added)

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"  (Isaiah 30:21)

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength."  (Philippians 4:13)

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