If you talk to anyone who has battled addiction for very long sooner than later you will likely hear the phrase, “one day at a time.”
One day at a time. . . I can’t imagine a better way to live in this time of uncertainty.
The thing that is bothering me the most these days is fear of the unknown. I have been talking to people daily who seem to be struggling with the same thing. The one question that keeps coming up is, “How long do you think this is going to last?” That's the trillion dollar question these days right? I have yet to see anyone have a firm answer or even an educated guess as to how long this crises will last. We all feel it. The people in my house range from 5 to 44 years old, and daily someone says something to the effect of “Is this going to last forever? . . . I have to get out of this house. . . I just want to go somewhere and do something. . . I miss my friends,” and other things of that nature.
We all feel it in one way or another— the tension, the confinement, the cutoff from face to face meetings. So how long will this last? Like everyone else, I have no clue. The questions I have been trying to ask myself are: how do I live in the present, how do I take advantage of this time I can work from home, and how do I connect with my family. It’s easy to just wish this time away, but I think our country and world, myself included, would do well to use the same phrase that has aided millions of people in getting sober and staying sober long term—one day at a time.
It’s in the Lord's prayer: “Give us today our daily bread.” Many of us are literally asking each day for our daily bread.
One day at a time
Paul Young, the author of the The Shack, talks about living in the grace of today, another way of saying “one day at a time.”
"I believe we get grace for one day. We have no clue if we are going to be here tomorrow. A truck could come across the road and take me out. This is where I live – today. This is where God is, and this is where I’m present. I can spend grace today, or I could spend it on something that doesn’t even exist yet – on future issues, where we create imaginations about everything that could go wrong in our lives. We are dragging things that don’t exist into the present, and we’re spending time on things that we bring from an unforeseen future into the present. In the presence of God, there’s a fullness of joy.”
“Grace for one day,” wow, that really speaks to me today. “A truck could come across the road and take me out,” or a global pandemic could start and change life as we know it.
So how do we live in the grace of today?
How do we live one day at a time?
For me living one day at a time is not just a catchy phrase, it is a way of life. I think now is a great time to adopt that way of living. Here are 4 ways you can practice living one day at a time.
1- Feel your feelings.
Stuffing my feelings causes them to grow in my mind, become larger than they really are, and then come out as anger or frustration towards someone I love. It’s a great practice to learn to feel your feelings and write them out. Take a minute in your day to journal. Make that journal a place you can be totally honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. You might be surprised by the weight that is lifted off by just writing something out.
2- Make a list of “what ifs."
As you go through your day, you will likely be hit with waves of “what ifs.” What if this; what if that. What if I get the coronavirus? What if I loose all my money? What if this lasts for months? I’m sure you can fill in the blank with your own what ifs. Writing them down helps to be able to look at them from a different perspective. You might even try sharing them with a close friend or spouse and say, “Here is all the thoughts that are running through my head right now.” This practice helps you see what you can control and what you cannot control. You will most likely find that most of the what ifs are out of your control. The next time it comes up in your head, you can just say “I can’t control that, and so I am going to choose to let that go.” Then you can give it to God.
3- Find something that gives you life.
What is something you do that makes you feel warm inside— full, whole, and uplifted? Try reading a book, reading aloud to your kids, painting, drawing, baking, going for a walk or run. Technology can be useful in this time to make a FaceTime call to someone or connect with a friend on Zoom. You can fill in the blank with what works for you.
4- Put your trust in God
I recently did a vlog where I talked about another aspect of recovery that is applicable right now— “Came to believe a power greater than myself could restore us to sanity.” You can find that video here. We are powerless over what is happening right now. For me choosing daily to trust in God, who is in control, is crucial. Where does your help come from? Who are you going to choose to give control of your life to?
Psalm 121 is so powerful in moments like these.
“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
Grace and peace to you on this unknown journey we are on. If you need someone to talk to feel free to reach out by email at email@example.com or by phone at 615.405.6152. We are in this together.