In June, I signed up for an email devotional that ran for 40 days, taken from the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I missed the original sign up period, so I jumped in partway through.
After it finished, they offered it again. The exact same thing. Having missed part the first time through, I figured I might as well sign up again. Reading some of the posts for the second time, I picked up on things I had skimmed the first time. Consider Bonhoeffer’s words on worry (emphasis mine):
Abuse of earthly goods consists of using them as a security for the next day. Worry is always directed toward tomorrow. But the goods are intended only for today in the strictest sense. It is our securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today. It is enough that each day should have its own troubles. Only those who put tomorrow completely into God’s hand and receive fully today what they need for their lives are really secure. Receiving daily liberates me from tomorrow.
“Worry is always directed toward tomorrow.”
I’ve seen this in my own life; usually when I flip into hyper-worrisome mode, it’s not about something happening that same day. Even if it is, I’ve probably already worried about it for quite some time before the day arrived. Which is why he continues,“It is securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today.”
This is where the idea of not worrying and the actuality of it get so tricky for me. It doesn’t work to not plan ahead; if I didn’t plan, I’d rarely get anything done. If I hadn’t planned ahead, I wouldn’t have filled out my application, applied for loans, packed, and shown up at college to move into the dorms and start my education. There’s an element of “securing things for tomorrow” that comes with planning. I don’t think God wants us to never plan anything, because that doesn’t seem like a very responsible way to live and to take care of the things God has entrusted me with.
So how do I make sure I plan, but don’t worry?
Fortunately for me, Bonhoeffer told me that too: “Only those who put tomorrow completely into God’s hand and receive fully today what they need for their lives are really secure.”
There’s so much in those words it’s hard to even take it all in. Not only do I need to completely trust that God has tomorrow in control, I need to receive fully today what I need for my life. I’m not really sure what that looks like in regular life–going to work, eating supper, going to church, hanging out with friends, doing the dishes. Somehow, in that, to receive fully what I need for life.
Dietrich, you’ve certainly given me lots to think about.
Til next time…