There is a very popular adage from groups like AA and Celebrate Recovery that goes, “Live One Day at a Time.”
This is a two-fold message.
The first is that when we are trying to change a bad habit or overcome an addiction, we have to focus on today and today only. If we look at it like, “I can never touch a cigarette again for the rest of my life,” that can seem like a wall far too tall to climb. But “I can’t touch a cigarette today,” well, that’s a piece of cake.
We can’t place these large goals on our path, because then we lose sight of the here and now. If we make a goal to be "clean" for one month, and then we slip up on day 23, we are negating all of our victories up to then and judging ourselves a failure. But when our goal is simply 24 hours, we feel we’ve accomplished something every night as we put our heads on our pillows. And we have!
The second message is that we cannot live in the past or worry about the future. When we’ve finally come to admit that we have a problem with a hurt, habit, or hang-up, we start to see our pasts a lot more clearly. All the times we were wrong and all the times we wronged others. We start uncovering memories that we had buried down deep and opening wounds we never let heal properly. There is a certain part of recovery that requires this look into our pasts, but we cannot live there.
When we live in our past, we are continually condemning ourselves, reminding ourselves how lost we are, telling ourselves that we don’t deserve freedom or a better life. Or worse, that we are so bad, God has given up on us for sure. This is not true. It’s never true.
We also cannot live in the future, worrying about what is coming next. God has already promised to provide for us, told us not to worry. What good does worry do for you anyway?
“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34 LB)
That’s right, “Live one day at a time” is a Biblical principle! Words of Jesus! So don’t make the mistake of believing that this message is just for those in recovery. These words are for everyone who ever struggles with living in the past, worrying about the future, or setting unrealistic goals which are almost always doomed to fail. Just focus on today. Today is all you have. Learn from the past, prepare for the future, but LIVE in the here and now. Life by the yard is hard, but life by the inch is a cinch!
Founder of BackRowOnline.com & Host of the Back Row Baptist Podcast
Megan Oaks | @MeganCOaks
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall rise up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Growing up I can remember reading this verse and taking it as waiting patiently on the Lord for his plan to be fulfilled. As an adult I have a completely different understanding of this command. As I’ve grown in faith and understanding of the word, I realize “waiting” does not mean to sit idly by and twiddle my thumbs waiting for God to do something; but rather it is a direction to get up and wait ON the Lord, to do His work and be His servant.
Matt Coker | @BackRowOnline
When I was a teenager, I read a comic strip. I don't quite remember which comic strip it was but I remember the joke:
Girl 1: "I need more meaning in my life. I want to be a tool for God. Like a spatula."
Girl 2: "You've been lying on this couch and staring at the ceiling for the last five hours."
Girl 1: "Is it my fault God rarely needs a spatula?"
I can't tell you how many times I've sat and pondered just what God has in store for my life. I know I'm supposed to be doing something to further his Kingdom, but exactly what that is going to look like in the coming years, I have no idea.
For the longest time, I just sat and waited. Waited for the day God would say, "Here you go, do this."
What a bunch of wasted time! Whatever God's plan for me in the future, while I'm waiting for the big things to happen, I realized that I shouldn't just sit and do nothing! I need to get moving and do something positive!
This is The Back Row. It's almost a year and a half old and it has produced a lot of content and sparked a lot of conversation. God has blessed it with tremendous growth in a short time.
But do I know that this is what God is going to have me do for the rest of my life? Or for the next 10 years? Or for the next six months?
Jeff Weddle | @Anti_Itcher
“Jeff, I got this great idea!” My dad said one unassuming evening. Oh dear, one never knew what my dad’s ideas were. Once he tried to teach our family Greek after supper. Alpha, beta, gamma dealt a blow to our evening plans, and after two valiant efforts, my father gave up. But occasionally his ideas were awesome. One never knew.
“What’s your idea?” I asked with some trepidation.
“This year, at grandma and grandpa’s house, we should make breakfast down by The Rock on Christmas morning.”
“Wouldn’t that be cold?”
“Probably, but it’ll be fun.”
“Won’t there be snow?”
“Of course, but that only adds to the excitement.”
No matter what my answer would be, I knew I’d be having breakfast down by The Rock on Christmas morning. My grandparents lived outside Rhinelander, Wisconsin on a lake. A lake with a large rock by it. A large rock that would apparently be the location of my Christmas breakfast.
Christmas morning came, and my dad’s plans, cooked up over the previous two months, were about to take form. We got up early, and to the snickers of our warm family, headed off to The Rock to make breakfast.
My dad carried a milk crate of food and supplies. I carried a saw and a thermos of hot chocolate. It was single digits cold, with plenty of snow on the ground. The Rock is a quarter-mile from the backdoor as the crow flies, but no crows were flying that morning. We walked and walked and walked. My dad occasionally glanced at his compass. “It keeps saying north is over there, but that can’t be right.” So we walked and walked and walked. Oh to be a crow.
Matt Coker | @BackRowOnline
We're just a couple a weeks away from Black Friday. I got my first circular promoting "Black Friday" deals on Nov. 2nd this year. It's just unavoidable. Who cares about Thanksgiving? Black Friday is where it's at!
I find it very funny and little bit sad that the term “Black Friday,” which was coined in the same fashion as dark days in American and World History, has been accepted as almost a holiday unto itself.
For reference, the term “Black Friday” has been used many times in history to describe a day where bad things happened, such as a huge outbreak of devastating tornadoes in the United States and Canada in 1985, a San Francisco protest against the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1960, and even the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
And when I was a kid, “Black Friday” was used to mark the severity of the sale events on the day after Thanksgiving, where grannies were trampled to death, fights erupted over the sole remaining Furby, and the worst of our inner greed and ruthlessness was let out of its cage to save a few bucks on Christmas gifts.
Now, it’s simply the name of a pseudo-holiday. The biggest shopping day of the year. Instead of “Day-After-Thanksgiving Sales,” stores now boldly proclaim “Black Friday Sales”! And everyone drools.
Seems all it took to change “Black Friday” from a negative phrase to a positive one was simply time.
We just had to wait for it to change.