By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”—Lamentations 3:22-24 (NRSV)
The famed Dear Abby advice column offers wisdom wrapped in empathy and practicality. One such insightful column includes ways to have a chance for a fresh start today. There is no need to wait for a new week, a new month, or a new year. We don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the long term.
“Today is the day that we have the opportunity to discard destructive old habits for healthy new ones,” writes Abby, who then expands on things to do just for today:
“JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
“JUST FOR TODAY: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
“JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and accept those I cannot.
“JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
“JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path and I’ll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking.
“JUST FOR TODAY: I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
“JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I’m a smoker, I’ll quit. If I’m overweight, I’ll eat healthfully—if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it’s only around the block.
“JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.”
We are living in the midst of a pandemic. The best that we can do right now is to live just one day at a time. When we are awaiting medical results for a loved one, time slows to a snail’s pace and one day can seem longer than a year.
My daughter is a healthcare professional who was required to undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19. That test came back positive even though she did not show symptoms, and immediately she was required to self-quarantine. Because we had been in contact with her, Felecia and I were also required to self-quarantine. Praise God that we all made it through the quarantine without ever experiencing any symptoms, but we had to face each day as it came, uncertain of what would happen next. We had to live just one day at a time, focusing on the good and not promised anything beyond that.
Every day can be a good day. It is up to you to choose to see it that way. When we choose to follow in the way of Christ today, and then to continue going tomorrow and the next day and the next, one day we look up with eyes wide open to see that we are different from when we started. Our default outlook becomes choosing to see the good in each day. We are looking for the good every day, even when it is hard to see.
With every step and every day, the steadfast love of God sustains us. God’s mercies flow abundantly, promising to be new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness. Great is thy faithfulness. Amen.