I Wanna Be Anxious For Tomorrow (5024) - LEANING TOWARD WISDOM

I Wanna Be Anxious For Tomorrow (5024)

Project Craving Encouragement Update

Some personal stuff got in the way, but I’m pushing through. Doesn’t that often seem the case?

I’m growing increasingly intent on ramping up the project because daily – every SINGLE day – I see the need. The need for encouragement. Mostly, I see the lack, which prompts the need. And I wonder why the gap is so cavernous. And growing. I’ve got some theories. But whatever the reason it’s something we can all do. A contribution we can all make. To let somebody in our life know we’re aware of their struggle and that we believe in them.

Do it for somebody today. Fill the silent craving people have for encouragement. Lord willing, somebody will fill it for you, too.


Matthew 6:25-34Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (American Standard Version)

Context matters. What the Lord said here in His Sermon On The Mount is accurate and true. I believe it, in spite of the title of today’s episode. I just don’t use the word “anxious” as He did. He used it to mean worry, or fret. Don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow is going to have enough problems all its own. Take care of business today. Trust in God today.

That doesn’t mean you sit back and wait for God to just take care of you like a magic genie. That’s not God’s role in your life. God is God and wants to help every one of us – mostly He wants us to be saved in Heaven.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

God isn’t some Grand Puppeteer either. He doesn’t coerce or force us to do anything. We decide for ourselves. The Lord was preaching that we ought to trust God more and more, do our work to obey Him and stop worrying about what may happen to us here, in this life. Mostly, because if we’re faithful to God He’ll save us in Heaven forever.

I’m using anxious in a very different context. I mean it in the sense that we look forward to something. Kids go to bed on the night before their birthday anxious to enjoy a party and celebration where they can open presents. They’re anxious for it to happen. There is no dread or worry, only anticipation looking forward to a good time. THAT’S how I mean anxious in today’s show.

I Wanna Look Forward To Tomorrow

Old man spat and cursed as he spoke
“It’s all going to hell and the whole world is broken”
The little kid is busy making plans
Save the whole world along with that old man

So as far as I can see
A better way for you and me
Is to let the children run the show
Not too long and we’ll be good to go

All the girls and boys will sing
Come tomorrow we get everything
So as long as we survive today
Come tomorrow we gonna find a way
Yeah, as far as I can see
We should let the children lead the way

Bang bang you’re dead nah you missed me for real
I got a bag to smoke come on let’s make a deal
Yeah, bridges burn but tomorrow is another day
To feed the world and thengo outside an play

Yeah farmers farm and dancers dance all night
Lovers love and the firefighters fight
Let the children run the show
Not too long and we’ll be good to go

All the girls and boys will sing
Come tomorrow we get everything
So as long as we survive today
Come tomorrow we go and find a way
As far as I can see
We got to let the children lead the way

The storm will rise
Out of innocent skies
Times will change
When you let the children play the game

All the girls and boys will sing
Come tomorrow we fix everything
So as long as we survive today
Come tomorrow we gonna find a way

All the girls and boys will sing
Come tomorrow we get everything
So as long as we survive today
Come tomorrow we gonna find a way

Come Tomorrow by Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews has a story, not merely a chapter. Here’s a review of the album, Come Tomorrow.

Anticipation for tomorrow is a hard thing. Because people are struggling. Suffering. Enduring pain. People are anxious, and not in the best ways, but in the worst.

This Dave Matthews’ song is about hope and optimism. And that’s how I’m using the word “anxious” today. Reframing that view of the word may just give you a renewed hope.

It’s about going to bed at night with strong anticipation for tomorrow. That “I can’t wait for it to get here” feeling that many of us haven’t experienced since we were children.

And I wonder why?

Adult problems. Is that the reason? We’re burdened with all the moving parts of being an adult? Hopefully, a responsible, mature person who embraces all that is being a good human. Does that weigh us down, make us cynical and wear down our optimism and hope?


What can we do about it?

Probably a few things. Things we’re likely leaving to chance when we should be acting with greater intent. Things like gratitude. Not just saying we’re grateful, but being purposeful and thoughtful about our thanksgiving.

Have you ever sat down and written out, or typed out a list of things you’re thankful for…and then listed out, in detail, why you’re thankful for them?

When I ask people about it, I hardly ever encounter a person who has. Sad. Not because of their lack, but because of their loss. Such an extreme loss to their humanity and depth of life they could experience if they’d practice it every now and again.

But don’t stop there.

Now keep digging and consider what other positive things in your life would be missing if that blessing had never happened. Our lives have more ripple effects than we can likely measure. Think of the Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. One little change would have dramatically altered the trajectory of your life. Maybe it’s time to more deeply consider them.

You can’t practice this without being very intentional about it. Simply put, you have to force yourself to do this. I’m not smart enough to figure out why that is, but I just know it’s true. It doesn’t seem to come naturally. And we seem mostly content to dwell on what’s missing in our lives than to dwell on what’s right.

The challenge is to exercise gratitude so frequently, and so deeply that we form a habit so we can make it easier to be anxious for tomorrow. The goal is to live a life in happy anticipation for tomorrow.

It doesn’t mean we’ll never experience bad days, or bad moments. Me? I’m coming out of a 7-month knife fight and I have days where it seems there is no end in sight. But my wife and I were talking the other night about the elephant in the room in our life at the moment – the source of our deepest pain – and we quickly looked at the most positive things we could think of as it related to our pain. It didn’t make us happy, but it did make us thankful. More thankful.

Bad things happen. No amount of happy thoughts or gratitude will necessarily alter the outcome. Or make things better. But gratitude can (and will) serve us to help us cope, overcome or endure. No question about it. Don’t argue if you’ve not yet tried it.

Building anticipation into our lives so we can be anxious in the best ways for a new day – a new day where we believe our opportunities will abound. A new day where we’re confident we’ll be able to make a positive contribution in the lives of the people we love, the people we care about, and perhaps even a few strangers. A new day where we look forward to the possibilities.

It takes work. Lots of hard work.

Sometimes people will tell me, “That’s a lot of work.” Translation: “I’m not sure that’s gonna be worth it.” Or, “I don’t think that’ll be worth it.”

I used to try to persuade people. Attempting to influence them that they’re wrong. I don’t do that anymore. Mostly because I’m no good at it. Maybe nobody could persuade naysayers that they CAN live a brighter life. I know I can’t. So I no longer try. I look at them and say, “I understand. Yes, it is hard work. Only you can decide if it’s worth it or not.”

I’m sad for them, but I honor their decision to live as they’d like.

Our lives are what we make of them. We get to decide.

Some of us are anxious for tomorrow because it’ll bring us a new day where we can play the role of the victim. Another day of complaining of what others have done to us. Another day of proof that life is awful. Folks who enjoy – even seem to thrive on – being down and out. As Dr. Phil would say, “it’s working for them” at some level or they wouldn’t keep doing it. Such a waste of human capacity and potential. And such a drag on the others in their life. Everybody loses.

If today is awful, why lament the dawning of a new day? Some people need professional help to get through. If that’s you, please go seek the help you need. Don’t let hopelessness overtake you.

A week ago Sydney Aiello, who survived the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, committed suicide. She was buried on Friday. Her parents said she struggled with survivor’s guilt, coupled with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). A young, bright light attending Florida Atlantic University, extinguished. I’m sad about her plight. Sad for her parents, family, and friend. I wish she could have found her way to be anxious for tomorrow. To be excited about her future and what she could have made of her life. I’m sad that she couldn’t find excitement about the people she could have positively impacted.

Jeremy Richman was 49. In 2012 he lost a first grader, his child, in the Sandy Hook shooting. On Monday he was found dead in his Connecticut office of an apparent suicide. Was the grief too heavy? I don’t know. I don’t him or his whole story. I only know one very specifically heartbreaking chapter of his life. If it turns out that he died at his own hands, then I’m sad that he couldn’t find excitement for tomorrow.

Try as I might to understand the pain of yesterday for Jeremy, I can’t. I know the loss of a child, not to death, but to other circumstances in life. I know the pain of staring into the future, wondering how you’ll make it through. But I also know the challenge of searching for (and often unable to find) excitement for today, much less tomorrow.

I’m especially mindful of those who struggle with mental illness. Danny Brown is a longtime online acquaintance. He’s a Scotsman living in Canada. Recently, he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. His wife, who has battled the same maladies, took him to the ER where he was diagnosed. Treatment began. It’s only been a matter of weeks, but his wife interviewed him for a podcast project. You can give it a listen here. Thankfully, Danny has Jaclyn, his wife, to help him. And thankfully, he was willing to seek and accept the help he needs. I’m happy Danny is on the road to improved mental health. Jaclyn, too.

Formal diagnosis or no, we all have mental challenges, emotional distress, and pain. Life is neither equal nor fair. Some people must endure lifelong challenges. Others suffer only momentarily, every now and again. Some of our problems are self-induced. Others befall us through no fault of our own. No matter the source of our pain and suffering, we have choices to make today. About today, and about tomorrow.

This episode is really about those choices. The ones we have to make today. Right now. The ones that will impact not just today, but tomorrow. Perhaps decisions that will impact us for years to come.

I wanna be anxious for tomorrow. I want to be excited for tomorrow. I want the prospects for tomorrow to be filled with hope and optimism. I want tomorrow to be better than today. And at the start of today, I have hope that it’ll be better than yesterday. The margin of improvement doesn’t have to be by much. It can be so incremental I’d have a hard time noticing. I know it may not happen. But why should that possibility rob me of hope?

For seven months now I’ve been enduring what feels like a knife fight. A knife fight I’m losing. But I’m still alive and kicking (cue up the song by Simple Minds – click here to watch it; it’s got almost 48 million views).

I’ve learned more in the last 7 months than I’ve learned in the last 7 years. So there’s THAT. Suffering is a great teacher provided we’re open and willing to learn.

Lately I’ve been fascinated more and more by our capacity, probably more accurately stated – our incapacity, to fill gaps in our knowledge. I’ve talked quite a lot in the past about how prone we all are to make incorrect and inaccurate assumptions. People may see us at our worst and conclude, “That’s who he is. He’s a jerk.” We rather enjoy opening the worst chapter of somebody’s life and judging their whole story based on that. Yet we realize the unfairness of it all when it’s happening to us. So it goes.

Giving grace and compassion is hard. So hard it seems to be increasingly rare. Perhaps harder still for some, is giving more grace and compassion to ourselves. Not in accepting our poor behavior, or in looking to excuse it, but in coming to terms with it, recognizing it and devoting ourselves to grow past it.

Leo Bottary and I just recorded a show for our podcast, WHAT ANYONE CAN DO. He just got back from doing some workshops over in the U.K. He got some feedback from the first few and the feedback could have been viewed as less than flattering, but Leo chose to view it through a different lens. The audience members had an expectation that wasn’t met. Leo took responsibility for it. He didn’t shy away from it. He didn’t resent it or push against it. Instead, Leo realized as the workshop leader the burden of responsibility was on him, not the audience. He felt as though he dropped the ball so he went to work to correct things, improve things and grow better.

I know life can sometimes be wearisome. I know it can be tough to get out of bed some days. I also know we’ve all got plenty of regrets and bad behavior in our rearview mirror. For some of us, the objects in the mirror are much closer than they appear. Fact is, some of us may be engaged in poor or dangerously foolish behavior right now. It happens.

What are we gonna do with it? Like Leo, we have choices. We can face it, make up our mind to grow from it by first fixing it, then move forward. Or, we can follow the many lemmings who chose to be victims living the life dictated by the universe.

We can bemoan our lives, grow increasingly dissatisfied that we don’t have the life of our dreams, or even a life free of pain. And we can fail to look forward to tomorrow, hoping that today is speed on by. I wouldn’t wish such a life on anybody. I certainly wouldn’t wish it on you. I wanna be anxious – excited – for tomorrow. I want you to be anxious for it, too. I just know that the best way to make that happen is to take full advantage of today, the day God has given each of us. A day where we can come to ourselves, realizing the gifts we’ve been given, perhaps the gifts we’ve squandered…and a day where we can make up our mind to improve and grow.

It’s the only way tomorrow is going to worth living. By our dedication to bringing our best selves to the universe so we can have the most positive impact possible on others.


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