How to Come Back From a Bad Day
Today was not a good day. Nothing terrible occurred; it was just a long day filled with whining and disobedience and cancelled plans and rain and a Momma that was too tired to Mary Poppins all that into a fun time. Nope. I wasn't feeling the "mommy magic" today. I decided that, perhaps, I should sit down and write this blog in the midst of my exhaustion, because in my attempts to encourage other parents, I want to always write the truth. And the truth is that I love being a mom. The truth is that I love the life God has given me. And the truth is that I sometimes have a bad day.
So how do we get back on our feet after a day that has spiraled out of control? The two bits of wisdom that come to my mind this evening are from C.S. Lewis, and Rachel Jankovic, and they are as follows:
"Do the next right thing" and "Apply Jesus. Repeat."
Let me unpack those briefly.
First, I must say that I have always attributed the quote "Do the next right thing" to C.S. Lewis, but a quick Google search has me feeling that may not be correct. Either way, there is great wisdom in this advice. No matter how bad you have screwed up you can choose to do the next right thing. I didn't like the way I spoke with my children today. There was too much irritation in my voice - not enough grace and joy. What should I do? Should I give in to the "mom guilt" that is creeping at my door? Should I take out my bad day on my tired husband? What is the next right thing? I pray. I repent. I think about apologizing to my kids tomorrow. I give thanks - not because I'm particularly in the mood, but because it is good medicine and tonight I need medicine. And that brings me to the second bit of wisdom...
"Apply Jesus. Repeat." Not long ago I had the opportunity to listen to a webinar with one of my favorite new voices, Rachel Jankovic. She and her husband are raising a houseful of godly kids and doing so with such grace and wisdom that people are always asking her how they do it. Her answer was so simple, so brilliant: "Apply Jesus. Repeat." But how do we "apply Jesus" in our homes? How do we "apply Jesus" to the tantrum that is happening down the hall? The first step is that we must know Jesus. We must spend time with Him in His Word so that we can observe how He responds to people and situations. We must spend time with Him in prayer so that His Spirit can show us "the next right thing" as we turn from our trials and shortcomings and look to Him. Finally, we must know His Word. James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom we can ask God. And listen to this wonderful promise in John 14:26: "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." Isn't that incredible? It's like God is saying "Feast on my Word! Get as much in you as you can hold and I will personally remind you of the bits you need in the moment that you need them" That is nothing short of miraculous, friends, and I have experienced this phenomenon!
So just in case this is all sounding too abstract, let me give you a brief example of how we "applied Jesus and His Word" in our home today.....
One of my children (who shall remain nameless) had been sent to their room for direct disobedience. While my son was cooling off in his room, I prayed "Father, show me the root of his disobedience. What is going on in his heart? Give me the right words to speak to him." Several minutes later I went to his room and we had a short conversation that included the following: "The Bible says that children are to obey their parents and so when you disobey Mommy you are disobeying God. One of the jobs God gave Mommy is to teach you how to obey God all the way, right away, with a happy heart. Obedience is very important to God and so it is very important in our family. That's why we need to keep working on this, okay?"
I would like to report that after our little heart to heart all wrongs were righted, but...life doesn't normally work like that. Transformation takes time - lots and lots of time. Mercifully, God gives us lots and lots of time with our kids. Tomorrow is a new day with new mercy and new opportunities to do the next right thing.
-The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.