When last weekend rolled around, I started to feel stressed. I knew that the week ahead was going to be much more busy that usual, and I worried about whether or not I could handle it all. First I had the America liveblogging, in which I was going to have to answer questions about some of the most controversial topics in the world with little to no time to prepare; I had a big writing deadline Friday and hadn’t even started on the piece; and in the meantime my husband and I had had a few other difficult issues arise.
Despite the fact that I had lots of help from family and friends, I kept feeling tempted to worry about the week ahead. I was trying to put it out of my mind and enjoy my weekend, but all sorts of “what ifs” kept bubbling up and causing me anxiety.
At some point over the weekend I came across a catchy little quote (via Ouiz) that not only relieved my worry about the upcoming week, but has stuck with me ever since:
God gives grace for the situation, not the imagination.
At first glance this seemed like yet another quote that I’d see on a blog or an email forward, smile and nod at its truth, perhaps even add it to my “good quotes” file, and then promptly resume not incorporating it into my life in any way. But for whatever reason, this one stuck.
It’s ultimately the same lesson that my wise commenters gave me back in this post, that Melinda Selmys discussed in her recent article about fear and the Christian life, and that I once learned from a powerful homily. It’s a restating of the age-old Christian wisdom to ask God only to “give us this day our daily bread, ” i.e. to ask for what we need today, right now, and not waste energy speculating about what we may or may not need next week or next month or next year. Yet hearing it phrased this way has helped me incorporate it into my life more regularly. Not is the catchy phrasing easy to remember, but I think the word imagination is a powerful one here. It’s helped me internalize the truth that when I feel stressed about anything other than the events that are occurring at this moment right now, it is entirely a product of my imagination.
I just thought I’d pass along this little quote in case anyone else finds it as helpful as I have.
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