Last week we talked a little bit about Groundhog Day and the predicting of the future. Next week will begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. So, this week I want to delve briefly into the topic of Anticipation. Anticipation is the act of expecting something to occur. It is not a positive or negative feeling, its neutral until applied to a specific occurrence. We anticipate the arrival of a loved one, and are excited and happy to see them. We anticipate a call informing us of some tragic situation, which causes us much anxiety and dread. We anticipate all sorts of things, and the anticipation can very much affect our moods and behavior.
As with Groundhog Day, that was an anticipation of a prediction about the coming weeks of weather. We all wanted to know if the bleakness of Winter was behind us. Phil’s prediction was spot on in this instance, six more weeks of Winter. As today is bearing out, we are in a very cold and dreary snap.
My own anticipation about the upcoming weather was not heightened or filled with dread. I like Fall and Winter weather. For others, they are ready to move on, to get to Spring.
This brings the topic more in focus. Our anticipation is not good or bad, it really just is. The way we allow it to affect us though, might be something to address. The anxiety we allow into our hearts and to control us, can be very debilitating. Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34…
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Worry and anxiety do nothing positive for us. Jesus knew this, that’s why he says not to “worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself.” Each day has its own set of circumstance for us to deal with, and they are more than enough to occupy us. I’m learning, every day, this lesson over and over again. My needless worry or anxiety about what has happened, or what will happen, do me no good. My energy, my focus, is better slanted toward those things and issues right in front of me. If I spend my time anticipating what might happen, I can never enjoy what is happening. If I spend my time, precious time that is, anticipating, I can’t walk in the heaven God has already provided me here on earth. The heaven I’m encouraged to expand to include all those I come in contact with.
Friends, we still have a bit of Winter to go through. Don’t worry, Spring will come soon enough. We have today to work through and to fully embrace, tomorrow will come quickly right behind it. As we prepare for the season of Lent, we will have a season of reflection that will be enough in itself. We won’t need to be anxious or anticipate the arrival of Easter, if we do, we will miss the blessing of the Lenten Journey. More about that next week.
My prayer for each of us is, we learn to take each day as it comes, live it to the fullest. That we bless those we come in contact with in the same ways we have felt blessed by God. That we love more and more, and more deeply.
Blessings and Peace,