On Having Better Bad Days

Some days we just feel “off”. We’re not sure if it’s lack of sleep or the position of the moon, or some arbitrary side of the bed, but we wake up and cannot seem to get it together. Then strange things—unwanted things—begin to happen. We feel like it’s us, that this one of “those days” we’re cursed to endure. Our mood changes, and we carry the burden of things starting off wrong and continuing that way, with the expectation that it will not stop. Enough of these bad days, and we start having bad seasons. Tough times. We were looking toward a vibrant month of flourishing; and two weeks into it, we’re wondering if times were ever this bad. Bad days turn to tough times, and drive us to despair.

I say, “we” because I believe this happens to all of us—granted, some more than others. The human tendency to find patterns creates this dynamic in many of our minds. Frankly, I used to find myself in that headspace quite a bit. I would think all of those despondent thoughts common to man: “Why me?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”, “If only I had done X or could do Y…”.

You get the picture, and it’s probably rather vivid. My guess is you’ve thought the same.

Well,  this post is to affirm that it’s okay to have “bad days”—to have those moments of failure, of disappointment, of uncertainty. You’re not alone in that; and frankly, I believe that we live in a culture that breeds discontentment and constant doubt, a cynical culture that lends itself to seeing the bad more than the good.

But while affirming your emotions, I want to offer encouragement. So many of my bad days were not the result of my external circumstances but my internal ones. Much of the time, these so-called “bad days” have been the result of forgetfulness—not forgetting to pay a bill or bring our lunch or call whomever. The thing I too often forget is the truth, a guiding truth not just on bad days but all days:

God is God; God is good, and we’re going to be alright.

It’s a bit cliche, but for a reason. Longstanding truths tend to be repeated. My days change at the above thought. It’s hard to maintain a downtrodden heart when the truth of whom God is becomes your focus.

I’m typing this during a day like the one I’ve described. I had a hard time waking; I misplaced items and found myself rushing out the door; I had some tense emails to field before getting to work; then the coffee pot in the office broke, and the replacement pot was lost. Plus, the overcast weather just puts a damper on everything. I was frazzled, fairly tense and feeling a bit lost.

Of course I was lost.

My compass was off magnetic north. My bearings were gone. I was navigating the challenges of the day without remembering—–without focusing—–on that guidance-giving truth: God is God; God is good, and we’re going to be alright. I’ve been musing on that, meditating on it. Suddenly, my day has not been so bad. In fact, it’s been pretty good. I’ve been getting things done, I fielded those emails, and even I got a cup of coffee from another department. Plus, my wife had a good doctor’s appointment regarding our baby, which is enough to make any day a good one.

So I am sitting here at lunch, my bad day has ended, but I have plenty of hours left before catching some sleep. Who know what good is yet to come when we remember that God is God; God is good, and we’re going to be alright.