I admit, I love buying a new diary and sitting there looking at it, smelling the new pages, and cooing over it. Then I remind myself that I did this last year. Look how that turned out.
Will this stop me from doing it all again this year? No, I'm afraid not. But this is exactly how it should be.
Not being able to know the future is one of God's greatest gifts to us as human beings. The fact that it sometimes bothers and frightens us is a hangover from the fall.
I have friends who suffer severely from anxiety. Some of them come from high-drama families, where the sheer adrenaline rush of fear is the preferred way to do anything.
Some suffer from physical complications such as menopause or thyroid problems, both of which can lead to increased anxiety. Some of them are just pessimists by nature, they can only see the glass as half empty, and someone is coming to take it from them.
It is a real cause of suffering, and they struggle to overcome it, because they know that this kind of chronic anxiety can be a sign that they do not fully trust God. Not real; Not in their hearts.
I think we've all been there: We think we trust God, we say we trust Him, but everything in our bodies and minds screams that we don't.
Even Mother Angelica famously said about her chronic antacid habit: “My stomach knows nothing of my great faith.”
Trusting God does not happen overnight. You can build it using two tools: gratitude and habit.
Counting, writing, or writing down your blessings every day is the beginning of true trust in God. He blesses you generously. You're just oblivious to it.
The more you notice this, the less your disbelief in him – and your conviction that he is out to get you – will diminish. You will also be more sensitive to everyday good things.
Habit is your second tool. The habit of trusting God grows through small acts of trust done in your heart over and over again.
When you combine these two things, I guarantee that your trust in God will grow, and your fear of the future will diminish. He will bless your little efforts, because he loves to see you try to trust him more.
We are not supposed to know the future. We're supposed to be careful about this, save money for a rainy day, and live within our means. The Our Father reminds us to ask for our “daily” bread, not the bread of the week or the year.
Do you remember the manna in the desert? Fell daily. The only day God's people were allowed to gather double the manna was the Sabbath, so everyone could rest (Exodus 16:4-5).
Moses told them to trust that manna descended every day, but some did not believe him and tried to store it. The manna went away immediately (Exodus 16:19-20).
Our inability to know the future can lead good Catholics into spiritual traps. One of them is the addiction to prophecy.
This is what I now call Catholics who spend a lot of time on the Internet and believe everything they read.
All prophecy is conditional. We know this from the Bible. If you use the Bible Gateway website and enter the word “remorse,” you will find nine separate occasions in the Old Testament when God would change His mind about punishing people.
If God did this in the Old Testament, I'm sure He didn't change His mind when He sent His Son to save us, even while we were still sinners.
You may not have a future. As I write this, we may see the Son of Man on the clouds. (If you're reading this, that hasn't happened. Just don't make any firm plans for tomorrow afternoon.)
Have you ever bought someone the perfect gift and then had them constantly pester you, bug you and keep guessing what it is? I hope. It takes all the joy out of him.
The future is a gift from God, and He wants it to be a surprise. Allow God to reveal the gift of your future to you in His own way, at His own pace.
Buy that new diary, smell the pages, and count your blessings. Entrust your future, whether long or short, to the Lord, because only He knows what awaits you.