Several years ago, I joined my friend for a workout class on Wednesday mornings. I don’t need to mention that this was the only time I exercised during the week and saw zero results from the class. (But I will because we’re friends and you need to have a realistic opinion of me!) The class was fun, combining high-intensity interval training and power yoga, giving my friend and me ample opportunities to laugh at ourselves. After a grueling 45 minutes, our instructor would turn off the lights and the fans (rude!) and switch the music to something more soothing. Stretching and breathing became our focus in this “cool down,” as she called it. Sweat would pool around my eyes as I contorted my body into an unnatural pose. But I remember each time our instructor would say, “Just breathe. Don’t anticipate what’s coming next. Relax into this moment.”
Don’t anticipate what’s coming next.
I am so bad at this. I have lists and schedules, expectations for today, and an agenda for the week. Even if you’re not a self-identified list-maker, is it easy for you to “relax into this moment?” Or are you thinking about what is coming next and what else needs to be done?
Unfortunately, our anticipation of what’s coming next often results in anxiety.
In Matthew 6:27 (NLT), Jesus says, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
Can you imagine the eye-roll you would give your husband if you shared all of your thoughts and he responded with, “Yeah, but can you add more time to your day by worrying about it?” But it’s Jesus, so we suppress the eye roll. Plus, we know He’s right. Being anxious about something doesn’t make it go away or help us accomplish that task sooner. But even though we’ve memorized this verse and understand that it’s important, we forget to apply it to our lives.
We tend to rush conversations, dismiss an invitation to play, or only halfway engage with our kids because we’re too wrapped up in what’s coming next. We have dinner to make. Little shoes to find so we can put them on squirmy feet. There are appointments to schedule, emails to return, and groceries to unload. We see toys that need putting away, dishes that need washing, and shelves that need dusting. We have deadlines to meet—even if we’ve put them on ourselves. We acknowledge that investing in our children is the most important thing we could do all day, yet our actions show how distracted we are from our purpose. We try to anticipate what’s coming next but find that we’re living our days filled with anxiety.
In Matthew 6:31, Jesus reminds us that God sees every need and will provide for each of those needs. We are not meant to run around with busy minds and unsettled hearts. We are not meant to miss the moment in front of us because we’re too obsessed with what’s coming next.
God gave each one of us 24 hours today. He has also given us incredible children to love, opportunities to enjoy, and spaces to breathe. It’s our responsibility to relax into this present moment so that we don’t miss them. Yes, there will always be things to do, but what if you set aside time today to just be in the moment? To refuse the urge to anticipate what’s coming next?
“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?” – Matthew 6:26 (NLT)
You are so valuable to the Lord! He will give you the peace, strength, and clarity you need today. He will provide a moment to breathe so that you no longer feel anxious as you anticipate whatever is coming next.
Callie Clayton writes to encourage others (and remind herself) that it’s possible to experience God right where you are. She enjoys teaching the Bible to teenagers, having good conversation over meals she didn’t cook, and baking all the chocolate desserts. Embracing her role as a boy-mom to three little ones, she and her husband are worn out, but loving the adventure of parenthood.