Stress-Reducing Belief #2: Living One Day at a Time
Hi there, Pam Coburn-Litvak here. Here’s the second stress-absorbing belief: Live one day at a time.
The Bible says it this way: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."1
Don't let the simplicity of this belief fool you. It's also profound.
The Ten Boom family in Holland was part of the underground system that rescued Jews during the Second World War. Corrie Ten Boom wrote about their experiences in her powerful book, The Hiding Place.
In it she tells how as a child, she and her father, who was a watchmaker, used to take the train to Amsterdam each week so he could set his watch by the big clock.
One day, little Corrie visited a family in which a baby had just died. The experience was shocking and deeply troubling to her. When her father tucked her into bed that night, she began screaming with fear. She told her father she was afraid that he and her mother would die too and leave her all alone.
Her father thought for a moment. “Corrie,” he asked gently, “when we take the train to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?”
It was an odd question, Corrie thought. But she answered, “Well…just before we get on the train.”
“Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we need things, too. Don’t run ahead of him, Corrie. When the time comes for one of us to die, look into your heart. You will find there the strength you need – just in time.”2
Decades later, this belief provided Corrie with the perspective she would need to survive living in the Ravensbruk concentration camp.
Each day we are given enough grace and strength to handle the problems for that day. We aren't given strength today to handle yesterday's problems, or tomorrow’s. We've been given permission to concentrate on the needs of today.
Helen Mailcoat wrote an applicable poem that I love entitled, I Am. “I AM” is one of the names for God in the Bible.
"I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly, my Lord was speaking:
'My name is I Am.'
He paused. I waited. He continued.
. 'When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not I was.
'When you live in the future with its problems and fears, it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not I will be.
'When you live in this moment, it is not hard.
I am here.
My name is I Am.'"
1. Matthew 6:34
2. Ten Boom, C., Sherrill, J. & Sherrill, E. (1971). The Hiding Place. Bantam Books. 28-29.
White by Kevin MacLeod
Images by the following Unsplash & Pixabay contributors (in order of appearance): Mahir Uysal, Eberhard Grossgasteiger, Carl Jorgenson, Javier Canada, Thomas Q.
Dr. Pamela Coburn-Litvak has published research articles on exercise and stress in Neuroscience and Neurobiology of Learning and Behavior. Her latest book, Leaving the Shadowland of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, was published in 2020.
After receiving a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she served as both Assistant Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology and Special Assistant to the Vice President for Research Affairs at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. She then joined the Biology department at Andrews University and developed courses in human physiology as well as the neurobiology of mental illness. She also founded Rock @ Science LLC, a company that specializes in health and science education and web development. She co-developed the brain and body physiology segment of the Stress: Beyond Coping seminar with its creator, Dr. William “Skip” MacCarty, DMin.
Dr. Coburn-Litvak currently lives in California with her husband. Their two daughters are mostly grown and attending school elsewhere.
When she’s not studying or teaching about stress, she enjoys stress-relieving activities like puttering around the garden, taking nature walks with her family, knitting, cooking, and reading.