Cristy Lane had a #1 hit in 1980 with Kris Kristofferson’s song “One Day at a Time.” The single rapidly went Gold. She continued to promote her music with lengthy TV ads and that song was ringing in the ears of Americans for at least a decade! I know you remember it, “One day at a time sweet Jesus. That’s all I’m asking from you. Just give me the strength to do every day what I have to do. Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus and tomorrow may never be mine. Lord help me today, show me the way, one day at a time.” Sorry, now we both will have that song stuck in our heads the rest of the day.
I like the Alcoholics Anonymous slogans, “One Day at a Time” and “Take It Easy.” They remind those overcoming addictions to stay sober by facing their challenges one day at a time. They break life into small, manageable pieces. Jesus said the same thing, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).
I typically juggle a lot of balls in the air. Recently, I’ve been juggling balls and trying to keep all my plates spinning in the air without any of them crashing to the floor (those of you who watched the Ed Sullivan Show know what I mean). Life can be absolutely overwhelming. I’ve been spiritually challenged lately to trust God more in my life. Psalm 37:5 NLT says, “Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.” Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is it comes one day at a time.” I’m learning that trusting God for my future starts with trusting Him one day at a time.
Whenever I start thinking about the things I’m facing today, tomorrow, and next month, I feel my heart and spirit rapidly sink into a pit of despair. The weight of it pushes me to my knees begging for mercy. We are not equipped to manage more than one day at a time. “Don’t worry about tomorrow” was not a suggestion from Jesus; it was a command. He knows what we are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually able to handle. I like to picture daily problems and challenges as small marble sized balls of Play-Doh. They are easy to maneuver at that size. When we worry about tomorrow’s challenges, we clump those Play-Doh balls on to today’s balls, making them larger. The further we allow our mind and emotions to worry about the future, the more Play-Doh we clump on to today’s pile. Before long we have a huge unsurmountable mountain of Play-Doh to deal with that doesn’t belong on your daily plate! To greatly paraphrase Jesus, “Leave tomorrow’s Play-Doh alone. You have enough Play-Doh to work with today.”
God promised to supply all of our needs (see Philippians 4:19). We Americans like a nice cushion of provision to fall back on, but God’s provision is often on a daily basis. The Israelites were given Manna Bread daily. If they saved any for the next day, it turned rotten. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” God said he would provide for our future. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). He only requires us to trust Him one day at a time.
The Lord told the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God gives us the grace to get through life one day at a time. When feeling overwhelmed with the problems and responsibilities of your life, ask yourself these questions: Do I have enough physical, mental, and emotional strength for today? Do I have enough money to get me through today? Can I handle the stress of today? Do I have everything I need for today? If the answer is “No,” that’s when you can ask God boldly to meet all your needs according to the promises of His Word.
We need to stop our thoughts and emotions from time traveling to far into the future. When your mind starts to wander off into the distant future to collect additional Play Doh, throw your lasso and reel it back into the corral of safety called “Today.” Keeping our mind and heart in the moment of today brings peace. Come on, sing it with me one more time, “One day at a time sweet Jesus. That’s all I’m asking from you. Lord help me today, show me the way, one day at a time.”