We’ve all had those days.
The alarm clock doesn’t go off and you’re late for work. The clothes that you were going to wear today are still damp in the dryer, so you have the choice of wearing cold, damp clothes or pulling something dirty out of the laundry basket. There’s no time to pack lunches so you toss your kids some lunch money and send them out the door. One child has a meltdown because his tummy hurts. You can’t find your keys. Oh, and you left your coffee in the microwave. All before 8:00 a.m.
We’ve been there. We know your pain.
Stress has a way of building and building until we crack. Our bad days can turn us into monsters that we don’t recognize in the mirror. Subconsciously, we feel like we have to do something to let off steam. For many of us, our impulse is to yell.
Our frustration can be let out at anyone in our path: a spouse, child, co-worker, or even an unsuspecting telemarketer. On a particularly stressful day, I once let a Direct TV salesman have it in a Costco store. “NO, I don’t want to know about today’s great deal on satellite TV! We have Netflix which costs a fraction of the price and I’m just here to buy granola bars!”
(I went back a few days later to apologize to this poor man who had caught me on my worst day. I never did find him, and I dearly hope he didn’t quit because of my outburst.)
In the (in)courage blog When Your Bad Day Gets Thrown onto Your Kids, author Sarah Mae writes about a time when her bad day led her to yell at her beloved daughter.
“My husband had had a bad day at work, and I had a bad day, and the badness of the day got flung onto my kids through the sharpest weapon I have: my tongue,” she says.
Mae’s daughter began to shake with fear, just as she remembered doing as a child. Disgusted with herself, she went upstairs and cried, and could hear her daughter doing the same on the floor below.
She felt God telling her what to do.
Mae went back downstairs to her daughter and said, “I hate being yelled at. I did to you what I hate. I’m so sorry.”
In a moment that had been so built up by stress and chaos, grace found a way in.
“I may have botched up, in a moment of incredible weakness, but I am not my weakness,” Mae writes.
“We all botch up, every day, some days, but we don’t have to stay there, in the mess.”
But how do we set ourselves from the mess?
Mae says, “We can enter into real love when we break before others and let Him bind us up; they see the mending and the scars, but they forgive us, as we forgive them. This is grace and freedom. And with grace and freedom there is no room for tension, the painful, ugly tension that strangles a soul.”
Bad days will still happen. But they do not have to ruin us.
In the Crosswalk.com blog How to Make a Bad Day Better, writer Betsy de Cruz says that we should always be resolving to grow.
“God is in the business of changing us, so don’t let your failings discourage or define you. His mercies are always new. Accept His forgiveness. Ask Him for grace to change… Bad days don’t have to undo us. We can make even a bad day better when we look for glimpses of God and ways to grow.”
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
Carrie Dedrick is an editor of Crosswalk.com. When she is not writing or editing, she can ususally be found teaching dance classes, running marathons, or reading with at least one adopted dog on her lap.
Publication date: September 16, 2016