A key principle we often hear in recovery circles is “living one day at a time.” In many meetings someone will read “Just for Today” – a list of positive actions that we may give focused attention to each day. When we pray the full version of the Serenity Prayer we quickly come to a line that says, “living one day at time, enjoying one moment at a time.” God’s Word encourages us to continuously surrender our will and our life into His care. As we take time to reflect on our on-going life in recovery, the Lord will give us knowledge and understanding to sort out any problems that arise. He will also give us the strength to endure as we follow through with healthy choices.
Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. (Psalm 37:3-5 NLT)
Over and over again we hear doctors encouraging us to exercise every day. Simply walking 25 minutes a day has been shown to keep us fit and add years to our lives. This is useful advice for our physical well-being only if we put it into practice. In our life with God in recovery we need to develop healthy spiritual muscles for our spiritual well-being. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it” is one spiritual exercise that many have found to be beneficial. We need to let the principles of God’s Word, as recorded in the Bible, challenge, stretch, and develop us as we draw close to Him and live in the light of His presence.
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. (2 Timothy 3:17 MSG)
As we learn to live one day at a time, it’s essential that we come to God with a willingness and intention to surrender our will and our life into His care. What does that mean? What does this way of living daily surrendered to God look like? What steps can we take to implement it in our daily lives?
1. ONGOING FORGIVENESS: It’s important to daily confess our sins and receive God’s mercy, forgiveness, and fresh cleansing.
But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NLT)
2. DAILY GETTING TO KNOW GOD’S WILL: What are we doing from day to day, even moment by moment, to train ourselves to listen and respond to the Word of God? What tools are we using to help us learn and grow? In what ways are we challenging ourselves to do what needs to be done, particularly when we don’t feel like doing it?
The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing. “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own: I listen, then I decide. You can trust my decision because I’m not out to get my own way but only to carry out orders. (John 5:19-20, 30 MSG)
3. MAKING GOD’S AGENDA FOR ME, MY AGENDA FOR TODAY: Our new life in recovery may differ from the way of life we see many people in our society exhibit. Some people make power, prestige, or money their idol. In the past some of us made sex, drugs, and alcohol our idols. Today, all of us are invited to make God’s priorities our priorities, and in so doing gain a life that is good, pleasing, and perfect.
Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 MSG)
One of the greatest gifts of this new life in recovery is that having had a spiritual awakening we can now share this message of hope with others who “silently suffer” in what appears to be reasonably good life circumstances. Amazing but true, living one day at a time in relationship with God, is the only lifestyle that results in a truly good, pleasing and perfect life for all – the wealthy and the poor.
4. GIVE UP WORRY AND REGRET: It is easy to slide into worrying about tomorrow, dwelling on the “what ifs” and the “if onlys” of our life. It is tempting to deny present happenings and try to escape reality. This is part of the insanity of an addict’s way of life. Each day brings with it a host of things which we personally cannot change. We need to come to terms with the limitations of our humanity. We are human beings confined within the slice of time we call today. We have some training, certain talents, and a few resources. God has promised to take care of all our todays and tomorrows. We simply need to live one day at a time under His guidance and care to ensure it all works well, according to His plan.
Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?… But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” (Matthew 6:25, 33-34 NKJV)
Each day will bring us something in which we can find joy because God has promised to give us power and strength to handle any difficulties we may encounter. Since God’s grace comes in daily doses, we can be sure of this, “one day at a time” is the best way to face life.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- How am I welcoming God’s word to shape my life today?
- What challenges me as I seek to live “one day at a time” – the past, the future, loneliness, daily needs, regrets, worries, resentments?
- What helps me refocus and practice living “one day at a time, one moment at a time?”
Heavenly Father, Your Word tells me not to worry about my life or the things of tomorrow. Forgive me for my lack of confidence in Your daily guidance and Your ability to work everything into something good. Please help me to deal with those things I can, and make changes where necessary. Help me to leave those things I cannot change in Your care. I choose to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness as I live one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time. Thank You for Your great mercy which is new every morning and for being faithful to me even when I have not been faithful to You. You truly are an amazing God. AMEN