In Matthew 6:25, Jesus tells us not to worry: “I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 CEV)
Yet now, more than ever, there seems so much to worry about.
We live in a highly uncertain world. Coronavirus. Climate change. Political and economic meltdown. Relationship stresses. All of these create insecurity, which in turn can create anxiety.
Many, if not all, of our uncertainties are indefinite. And that means indefinite anxiety. Under these conditions, how can we follow Jesus?
What does Matthew 6:25 mean?
For me, the key is the last word of Matthew 6:25: “life.”
Life happens from moment to moment, day to day, year to year. Each moment is too short to do anything more than experience it. A year is too far ahead. Yet one day at a time is manageable.
The big questions in your life, whatever they are, most likely won’t resolve today.
It might be something date-specific, like exam results. Or anxiety may come from vague, unresolved situations without deadlines. It might be whether your job will survive the on-going economic turmoil.
As anxieties accumulate, you begin to question whether your life is tenable. Yet Jesus says, “Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them.” (Matthew 6:26)
Align with your day
How do you deal with this? Align with your day. This is a tool for congruent living. It’s a way of engaging with life as it is, rather than as we wish it to be.
Aligning with your day is a tool for congruent living. It’s a way of engaging with life as it is, rather than as we wish it to be.
If you can navigate today in a way that’s congruent with what today is about, you’ll have a feeling of safety, satisfaction and accomplishment. This is what Jesus promises when he says, “But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants.” (Matthew 6:33)
When we align with our day, we have a sense of aligning with sacredness.
You can only do what today allows you to do. Perhaps today is a day for rest, not for achievement. If you try too hard to ‘make something happen’ you may end up achieving the opposite. Nothing gets resolved; problems can even worsen.
Feel into the day
How do you align with your day?
You can align with your day at any point. It’s best to start first thing in the morning, but it doesn’t matter. You can do it anytime. You can course-correct. The more you do it, the more it becomes embedded as a habit, a go-to emotional tool that helps you navigate the day.
Align with your feelings, not your thoughts. Feel into the day.
Instead of thinking what you should try to do today, feel what you should do. Think with your heart. Sense what’s going on inside you. Listen closely. Do you feel an urge to do one thing rather than another? Perhaps what you most need is to go for a walk, rather than tackle some pressing issue.
Be aware of your to-do list for the day. Distinguish between what has to be done and what could be done. Is there an optimal sequence for these tasks? Is there some rescheduling required—one task pushed back, another brought forward?
The more aligned you are when you tackle a task, the more easily and quickly you’ll complete it, and the better the quality of the finished work. The more you complete tasks from a place of struggle, disinterest and disempowerment, the longer it will take, the harder it will be, and the lower the output quality.
When I align with my day, I notice that tasks often get bumped until just before they’re needed. This is in alignment with the manufacturing practice called Just In Time (JIT). Nothing needs to be done until it needs to be done.
Birds align with their day every day. They sense the rain, wind, and light, then go about their business. Align with your day and go about yours. And, as Jesus asks us in Matthew 6:25, don’t worry.