I recently changed the wallpaper on my phone to a floral design with the words "enjoy today." This is definitely a reminder I need to return to frequently, and having it on my phone has proven to be a good way of jogging my memory. As a planner and generally Type-A person, I think a lot about what I'm going to do in the future-- whether near or distant. I often find myself ruining a peaceful experience by worrying about whether I'm going to have enough time later to do X or how I'm going to fit in Y.
Instead of enjoying today, I fill it with thoughts and concerns about tomorrow.
I recently took a trip to visit some college friends, and I had to consciously remind myself to stop thinking about the growing list of things I would have to accomplish when I got home in order to prepare for the week ahead. I was going to be spending several days the following week away from home, so taking time to prepare was a logical thing to do. But if left unchecked, my thoughts would drift into worrying and planning in the midst of spending time with lovely friends, distracting me from enjoying their company. I only had a couple days with my friends, and I didn't want to waste them trying to mentally organize life back home.
It was the timing that caused the issue, not the fact that I wanted to be prepared. I cannot be in two places at once-- physically or mentally. I'm learning that I need to keep myself grounded, paying attention to the things and people around me, instead of removing myself from the world around me by not being present.
"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." -Matthew 6:25-34
In my head, I know I'll be provided for. I have been so abundantly blessed already that I have faith in future provision from my Heavenly Father who loves me and loves to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). But sometimes in the busyness of life, I get a little planning-happy, subconsciously telling myself that the only way to take care of everything and make everything work out, I have to have every detail figured out ahead of time.
This kind of planning quickly turns into worrying as it seems like my to-do list will never be done or my calendar never open enough to allow for everything I want to accomplish. I stress and fret over it, trying to see a loophole, a way to make everything line up just perfectly so I can rest. It's as if I have to have all my ducks in a row before I can enjoy my life.
But rest is found in the midst of the craziness, not in its absence. When I step back from my obsessive planning and look at the world around me, I'm struck by its beauty and simplicity. How many days have I spent running around with my head down, internal dialogue turned all the way up, not even seeing the rays of sunshine, technicolor sunset, arching rainbow, or falling snow?
There is always something to be enjoyed, if only I will take the initiative to slow down and look for it. My Creator made a wonderful world for me to experience, and I'm going to miss out on that if I'm too focused on trying to plan out my future. I don't want to be so busy organizing my life that I don't get to live it.
When I see the reminder on my phone to enjoy today, I take a moment to breathe, pause whatever I'm doing, and think about how wonderful life is. I give thanks for the things that are making me smile, choosing, even for just a moment, to focus on them instead of the mountain of work in front of me or never-ending to-do list at my side. I certainly have a long way to go in controlling my planning and worrying habits, but for now I'm grateful for the little reminder I get every time I pick up my phone. Today will never come again; may you and I enjoy it to the fullest while it's here.