A friend of mine, a single parent, posts her “reasons to be grateful” on Facebook every evening. When she started doing this, like with most posts, I gave it a cursory glance if and when I saw it. Now I find myself looking out for her posts each day. Partly I’m sure because of the morbid human curiosity of peeking into other people’s daily lives, but mostly because seeing the simple things in her day that keep her positive helps me keep going in “these difficult times.”
One of the biggest challenges for me at the moment is that my work often revolves around strategic planning – over many years of working in several industries I tend to gravitate towards projects which involve looking at the horizon, assessing what might be coming in the next season, and making plans to embrace the future. Currently the future is completely uncertain:
When will schools re-open?
In what format?
What will RE look like when they do?
How much scope for pastoral work will there be?
What will the church of the future be like?
When will our youth groups be able to re-start?
How will the Diocese engage with young people?
The answers to all of these are “We don’t know” – in fact, nobody knows.
At the beginning of March, I had a number of meetings scheduled to discuss the next steps for several projects, one by one these got cancelled. The future is unknown.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34
I wonder how many times in my ministry I have quoted this? To young people stressing about exams, University, home life, friendship groups. To congregations, parents, charity colleagues and even my own children.
Have I ever stopped and really considered it for myself? What does this message from Jesus say to me, one of life’s natural strategists? I believe that God has given me a gift of “big picture thinking,” what in some circles is seen to be the role of the Apostle (from the 5-Fold ministry of Ephesians 4).
How can I not “worry about tomorrow”?
Like my friend, I need to be grateful for today. To take each day at a time – small steps into a future that is uncertain. But with the faith that whilst I cannot see what is to come, God does. He is in control.
So what am I grateful for? Here is a list of some of the things which have delighted me over the past few weeks:
When the supermarket had some flour
The sight of birds on my newly erected bird feeder
The feel of the warm sun on my back
Being able to connect with my mentor over Zoom
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arriving in the post
Hugging my family
Simple, daily things. Things that allow me to embrace today, enjoy the moment, and be grateful to God that He has the big stuff in His hands so that I don’t need to worry.