Not too long ago I posted a question box on Instagram, asking for you all to share your assumptions about me. The one I received the most was the idea that I never had a bad day and never got irritated about things.
As I shared in my response post, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. However, it is my desire to live in such a way that people see the peace of Jesus reigning in my heart instead of the irritation of Whitney ruling my life.
We all have bad days. We all face really hard things in life. What can we do to have peace in spite of them? What can we do with bad days? I have three things to share with you today, and they are based on the words from this passage:
Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17)
#1 Create rhythms to ground your day in the truth
Start the day with Bible reading: Whether you listen to the audio while getting ready or sit down with your Bible and read, make it part of your morning routine that won’t be altered. (Get more help for this here)
Pray over your day: Choose a Bible passage or phrase that you pray every day to remind yourself not to handle things in your own strength. This might be a verse like “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with my spirit today (Philippians 4:23)” or “Please help me to be peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others (James 3:16-18).”
Listen to worship music: Turn it on in the morning, set up a playlist for your commute, or have it playing in the background at work (I like piano music by Stan Whitmire for the office).
Those three things make a HUGE difference for me.
#2 Place reminders where you need them
If I’m feeling tired and cranky as I begin a work day, I’ll write a verse on a post it note and stick it on my monitor. Several years ago I had a job where my phone rang constantly. I would write the word grace and stick it on my work phone, as a reminder that I had all the grace I needed (in Jesus) for every difficult phone call.
At home I like to use my kitchen chalkboard for displaying these reminders!
#3 Be willing to reset when things are unraveling quickly
I absolutely have days where it just seems like nothing is going right – I hate my hair, I spill my coffee, I have to change my outfit and I need gas on the way to work. Some days Paul and I are at odds, supper isn’t turning out like I hoped and the internet is down.
Here are a few things you can do in those situations. I don’t always do them, but I’m always better off when I do:
- Stop and pray.
- Walk away from the frustrating thing – have a glass of water, take some deep breaths, etc.
- Turn on music. Sometimes it’s worship music, sometimes it’s fun music.
- Go somewhere that you can be alone (bedroom, bathroom, car) without your phone and read Scripture. Psalm 119 is my favorite because it contrasts “things are really messed up” with “but God, you are…” It’s long enough that you get a good 20 minute break or so while reading the whole chapter.
- Have a snack.
- Change something – put on comfortable clothes, pull your hair back, get ready for the day, put on lipstick, tidy the space around you, turn on soft lighting, or light a candle.
But what about the really bad days – when we’re faced with life-altering news or tragic circumstances? Having a snack isn’t going to bring lasting peace or hope.
Be sure there is no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations. Be sure there is no root among you bearing poisonous and bitter fruit. When someone hears the words of this oath, he may consider himself exempt, thinking, ‘I will have peace even though I follow my own stubborn heart.’ This will lead to the destruction of the well-watered land as well as the dry land. -Deuteronomy 29:18-19
When we turn our hearts toward God, we find peace. When we turn away from God and pursue the wisdom of the world or our own hearts, we find destruction. That’s why it is so important to set up those daily rhythms that keep our hearts, ears and eyes focused on God.
I love this definition of peace: “Keeping a sound mind and a calm soul amidst life’s challenges.” Life is always going to be challenging, but we can have peace when we allow the peace of Jesus to reign in our hearts.
I don’t do this perfectly – anyone who is around me on a regular basis can vouch for that – but I am thankful for the grace that’s available for me when I need it.
The next time you feel your day spiraling downward, remember: Rhythms, Reminders, Reset!