I recently heard someone use the phrase, “don’t borrow trouble.” It’s a newer saying to me. It means that today has enough trouble of its own, so there’s no need to borrow any trouble from tomorrow. If you start dragging tomorrow’s problems into today, future worries needlessly pile up in the present.
I’m certainly guilty of worrying not only about tomorrow, but about next week, next month, and the next 25 years. I find myself running worst-case scenarios in my mind, certain that no matter how much I prepare, things are inevitably going to fall apart.
I’m a follower of Jesus, and one thing I notice when I read scripture is that while many of his sayings are extremely simple to understand, they are deceptively difficult to put into practice.
He tells us in Matthew, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)
Sounds simple enough, right? For me, though, that’s a hard one to put into practice. It’s like someone telling me, “don’t think of a red fire truck right now.” What do I immediately begin to think about? Yep, a red fire truck. So, when I read the words “don’t be anxious about tomorrow,” I inevitably start thinking about tomorrow and everything I have to get done, and I start to feel anxious. Then, I remember that I shouldn’t be feeling anxious, and that makes me more anxious. Often, it becomes a vicious cycle.
Exodus 14:14 is a great comfort because it reminds me that “the Lord will fight for you. You need only to be silent.”
That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t plan for the future. Of course, I need to plan, prepare, and live as responsibly as I can. It just means that I can’t control the future and I’m not the one who holds it. I have no clue what’s going to happen tomorrow, so there really is no sense in trying to solve problems that might not even materialize.
Back when I was in high school, I was preparing a presentation for my speech class, and I was really nervous about it. I told my dad how anxious I was, and he gave me a brilliant illustration. He said the future is like a dragon that we’re sure we won’t be able to slay. Its shadow looms over us, causing us to fear the worst. However, many times, as we get closer to that dragon, we realize it isn’t a dragon at all. It’s just a tiny lizard with a flashlight making its shadow look way bigger than it is.
While I still deal with anxiety and worry, I try and remind myself to take it one day at a time. There’s no need to borrow trouble from tomorrow. I simply try and thank God for the present moment and surrender to His plan for the future.
After all, Colossians 1:17 reminds us that “in Him all things hold together.” That includes tomorrow.