What happens today is the result of my actions yesterday. I am trying to drill that principle into my head. As simple as that principle sounds, I forget it. I especially forget it when I have a bad day of writing. I will stare at the screen and struggle to put thoughts together. I feel like I am wasting time. When I come home from work and my wife Mia asks how my day was, “I say frustrating. Or OK.” Then nine times out of ten when I go back the next day to write, things click. Suddenly, I have something to say. A good day of writing usually follows a bad day of writing or a day of struggle. If something comes easily to me, it is usually because an idea has been marinating in my mind for a while. The struggle of yesterday or past thought and reflection has become fruitful today.
The same thing happens in my spiritual life. I will pray today for something and expect God to act. Recently, I fasted for something and expected to see results from God that same day. What was I thinking? That is not how God works. We offer to him and then it usually God responds in his time, not ours, but it is rarely instant. This is why Scripture tells us over and over again to wait upon the Lord.
In an age of instant gratification and communication, we find it very difficult to remember that today was shaped yesterday. You reap what you sow. Whatever you have today is the result of yesterday’s actions. Yesterday may mean literally yesterday or a week ago or a month ago or a year ago.
Knowing that today is formed by yesterday, I offer two practical piece of advice.
One, don’t allow the feelings of struggle to defeat you. Struggle today often brings fruit tomorrow. The next time I struggle writing, I am going to remind myself that it is part of the process and that most likely my next attempt will bear fruit.
Second, develop the practice of reviewing the past day, past week, past month or past quarter. About 4 to 5 times a week as part of my prayer time, I go through the past day and go through my activities and thoughts. I ask God to help me see them in his light. Then I am aware how the events of yesterday may impact my day. I am also trying to get away four times a year to look back on my journal, so I can review what has happened and recalibrate my life.
What did you do yesterday that you are feeling the impact today?