In my more than forty years of life, I’ve discovered that some days are harder than others. (Shocking, I know.) Sometimes it’s due to stressful life circumstances, and other times you can’t pinpoint a cause. You just feel off, unmotivated, or discouraged. You probably have those days too. But, as people of God, “blah” days aren’t just something we should ignore. Rather God has given us his word as a balm for just a time as this.
When I have days like this, I feel like I’m wearing cynical glasses with dark lenses that shape my view of everything. Instead of giving others the benefit of the doubt, I assume that they are doing their best to thwart my plans. My kids are fighting because they want to irritate me, not because they’re sinners who need Jesus and someone to model for them how to love others. My husband is ignoring me because he doesn’t care about me, not because he’s trying to finish preparing for a lecture and didn’t hear me.
Truth for the Downward Spiral
The thing about hard days is that it’s easy for a difficult day to get worse. They tend to spiral downward. We think negative thoughts, and then we only look at things that reinforce our negative ideas. If you don’t believe me, just try examining the assumptions you’re making next time you’re in a bad mood.
Mercifully, when I cry out to the Lord in these difficult days, he opens my eyes. He enables me to see what’s going on in my heart, and I find that the biblical truths on which I regularly feast, help me take off the cynical glasses.
One of my favorite places to turn on difficult days is the Psalms. One particular passage that helps me reframe a bad day is Ps 131:1-2. “My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
I have found that I often have a bad day when I’m busy striving after all the things I feel I need to control. Ironically, the trivial things of life often put me in a tizzy. I have plans, and they’re being thwarted, and this makes me feel stressed. But the image of a child who is quieted by his mother is a beautiful picture of how our Father stills and calms our anxious hearts.
Perspective from Scripture
Perspective is so important when it feels like life is going crazy. And when I feel like nothing is going according to plan, I find it helpful to step back for a few minutes and reset. Sometimes, in the moment, the Lord’s plans don’t make sense to us because God’s ways are higher than our ways (Is 55:8-9). When I acknowledge his wisdom and providence and his love for us, it’s easier to let go of my illusion of control.
It’s painful to be reminded that we are limited and our best-laid plans may fail. But James (4:13-15) reminds us, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”
Hard days will come. Our plans will fail. But rather than allowing these realities to send us down a path of doubt and cynicism, we can look to who God has shown himself to be in Scripture. We can remind ourselves of the truth that He is in control, and that learning to trust him in the hard times is part of our sanctification.
I hope that some of the passages I mentioned will help you step back and reframe days that go awry. What passages of Scripture encourage your heart on hard days?