One Day at a Time? – by Ed Dunn
As you the reader know, I am fortunate to write a regular column for the Plain Truth Magazine entitled, One Day at a Time. I’ve been thinking more and more about why I titled this column as I have. What does, One Day at a Time really mean, and why is that title, and perspective in our lives, important?
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom states Psalm 90:12 (NIV). As I read what the Psalmist wrote of the work and wisdom of numbering, I believe that beginning with the number one may well be the best place to start. Living our lives simply and deliberately, one day at a time, can offer us a gift of perspective. This daily number of one – this small and manageable increment of time – can offer us a real and tangible peace. How?
Living our lives one day at a time can help us to slow down. We can take each day as it comes, rather than being consumed with the content and concerns of the next week, next month or even the next year. Although any one day we face can pose many demands, to do’s and challenges for us, living just today can slow our hearts and minds to focus on what is directly in front of us.
Within that slowing and focusing of our hearts and minds, we can narrow our spiritual practices – our prayers, study and meditations – to the needs, and thanksgivings, of this one day alone. We can be specific with our requests for today, and quietly listen and give thanks for whatever thoughts, insights or answers may come. In so doing, we commune personally and deeply with our Lord. We enjoy a conversation with him that is new and intentional each day of our lives.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own, Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:34 (NIV). The “old English” of the Authorized King James version translates the second sentence as, sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. I read Jesus’ words to say that even as followers of his, life is full and can have its share of both challenges and joys. As such, I can hear him saying, let us break life down into a manageable increment of time. Let us walk together today, one day at a time, and let the rest take care of its own.
Letting the rest take care of its own is no small task. Jesus uses the words, enough trouble, for good reason. We can feel his peace and comfort within us when all of life is swirling around us. I often feel as if nothing happens in life until everything seems to happen, all at once and with great intensity. When it rains it pours, is the old expression. It can all feel a bit overwhelming at times.
Jesus again breaks life down into a manageable increment of time when he teaches us how to pray: Give us today our daily bread (Matthew 6:11, NIV). Jesus knows it’s one day, this day today, in which we need to be fed. Not tomorrow, the next day or even the next week. One day at a time is how he invites us to live. Living today and today alone. One day at a time is how Jesus lived.
As we follow Jesus each day, we live in him and in his peace and comfort. We live in his grace. Humanly, we try our best to follow his lead and example to live as he lived when he was here on earth. And at that, we fail from time to time due to our limitations. Yet, it’s his indwelling life within us that transforms us and gives us new perspective. It’s his life within us that helps us to slow down, refocus and begin again.
One day at a time gives us a place to start. Beginning with the number one keeps it simple. When we get caught up in the concerns and content of the future, be that tomorrow, next week or even next year, we lose sight of where, and when, Jesus invites us to live. Jesus invites us to live now, today, in the peace and comfort to be found in him, and in this manageable increment of time. Doing so, we can live more simply and deliberately in time as he did. We can give thanks for our daily bread, and lean on him in our daily troubles.