C.S. Lewis said: “The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back, in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.” (Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 1952, p. 198.)
The real problem in the Christian life is being bombarded with LIFE! When we sleep, unless our dreams are invaded by our worries, we are blissfully unaware of those nagging concerns. But Lewis is right – as soon as we’re conscious in the morning, the concerns of the day snap at us.
We often think that the best way to deal with these anxieties is to plow into the day and, by might and discipline, make them go away, or, at least, diminish them. But Lewis is right (yet again) when he says, we must listen to that other voice.
What does the other voice say? He says: “Do not be anxious about your life…” (Matthew 6:25) He’s gone ahead of us through this very day. “Do not be anxious about tomorrow…” (Matthew 6:34) He’s gone ahead of us into tomorrow! “Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8) Our fretting won’t accomplish anything good! The REAL real problem is that we try to solve our problems and bear our burdens on our own – that we don’t listen the one Voice that can calm the wind and the waves in our hearts and minds.
The BEST WAY to deal with the real problem is to take time in the morning to PRAY: to pour out our concerns to God and to take in what He has for us. It is only in prayer, that we can exchange our heavy load for His light one (Matthew 11:28-30). It is only in prayer that we can lay hold of His sufficient-for-today grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).
My prayer time can be moments or hours – some days this is determined by my schedule’s demands and some days by my soul’s needs. I encourage you to set apart time to accommodate both your schedule and your needs – whatever it might take to let Jesus slay the wild animals of your worries so that you can hear Him say to you, as He said to His frightened friends: “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Mark 6:50b)