Worrying About Tomorrow
If there was ever a time that we realized we were all control freaks, it’s surely in the midst of those rites of passage in which we don’t know what comes next. Becoming a teenager, learning to drive, graduating from high school, falling in love, graduating from college—just a few of the rites of passage many of us experience. And when those moments come, the future is a fog of uncertainty. What’s the next step? Where do I go from here? What is the best choice? We like to have everything planned out and we like to know exactly where our next step will lead us, but the fact of the matter is, we often don’t know the answers to these questions—and that makes us anxious.
I’ve gone through many of these rites of passage myself. The one currently heading toward me at one hundred miles per hour is college graduation, which will happen this coming May. Before then, in January, I will be traveling to Los Angeles with my girlfriend, Rachel Held, and my apartment mate, Zach Ford, both of whom are also connected to WNZR in some way. We will be participating in the Best Semester program through the Los Angeles Film Studies Center to complete our Film Studies minors. As crazy as it is to think about going from small-town country life in Ohio to the big city bustle of Los Angeles, California (talk about stepping outside my comfort zone), it doesn’t compare in the slightest on the anxiety meter to the thought of graduating from college when I return to Ohio in May.
You see, with the Los Angeles trip, everything is planned out and accounted for. Sure, I’ll have to find an internship to attend three days a week and prepare my own food for an entire semester, but everything is part of a pre-determined plan. It’s all on the roadmap. When I walk across that stage in May with my cap and gown to receive my college degree, the roadmap begins to fade rapidly. The possibilities are endless, and so many doors will be wide open, all leading to different outcomes. Is there only one right choice for me? Are there any wrong choices? Will I regret choosing one path over another? Even now these questions flood my mind.
But the Lord does not foster anxiety—he dispels it. He does not leave us to curl up and hide away in our uncertainty—he meets us where we are and comforts us if we allow Him to do so. In the book of James, we see our worries about the future addressed: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16
But how can we know the will of the Lord? What if we haven’t matured enough in our faith to know what is God’s voice and what is not? Part of the answer is simple: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
In all that you and I do, we must commit our work to God if we are to see success and experience fulfillment in the truest sense. It doesn’t have to be directly ministry-related, per se. Many of us are not called to ministry in the traditional sense. As long as you are living, doing, creating, and working for the glory of God, you should not fear. Instead, you will be comforted in your time of need.
Co-Host on The Morning Thing