Sometimes, in spite of it all, you are just having a bad day. Like the children's book, 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day', written by Judith Viorst. And you are Alexander.
"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."
Okay, that was Alexander, not me. But I can match it and then some. And from there, the day just gets worse. Alexander resolves several times to move to Australia. Sounds good to me. They speak English there, right? I've decided that I'm too old to learn another language.
It's never really the circumstances. It's my brain that I'm fighting. My thoughts and my fears. Life is hard and people can be mean and hurtful. So here is my list of go-to things to do when I'm having a really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day:
1. Pray. On your knees. I cry much more easily on my knees than when I sit to pray. I can't tell you why, exactly. But just lean in to God, even if there are no words except telling Him how desperately you need Him. I ALWAYS feel better after spending time like this with my Father.
2. Get away from the computer. Especially social media. If I'm already sad, facebook is a killer. Every. Single. Time!
4. Run. Jump. Go ride your bike. Walk outside. Lift the gallon milk jug from the floor to over your head a couple dozen times. (Make sure the top is on tight. It NOT being on tight might set you over the edge!) But move and get some exercise. Lying in a fetal position doesn't help. (Okay, maybe it helps a little with stomach cramps.)
5. Take a shower. You can cry. But be done when you turn the water off. Get dressed. Do NOT put your pjs back on!
6. Organize something. But commit to it first. Do NOT take everything out of a closet or cupboard and find yourself unable to put the stuff back. That mess you've made is depressing even if you don't have anything else sad going on. Put each thing away or throw it out.
7. Go help someone else. Mow your elderly neighbor's grass or make them lunch. Or at least, write an encouraging letter or email to someone who you know is broken and hurting. DO NOT tell them your troubles. Focus on them!
8. Eat something that you love and you know you shouldn't. Just for today. Now, trust me on this. You can't have a really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day every day for months on end and get away with this one. Don't ask me how I know.
9. Realize that people are not really out to get you. That their hurtful actions are more about themselves. Sometimes people will lie and slander to try to get themselves out of a jam. To try to make themselves look better in the eyes of others at your expense. But it's not really about you. They are just selfish. Do NOT stoop to their level. Take the high road. Try to remember that it's not really personal, no matter how awful it feels.
10. Pray again. This time, not for yourself. This time, it's all about others. Intercessory prayer. The very best cure for my broken heart is to allow God to break my heart for others. Plead with Him to comfort those who you know are suffering. And watch what He'll do to your own heart.
11. Go witness to someone. If you meet someone's eyes with yours and smile at them, you'll be surprised how easily they'll talk. Give them hope. The Blessed Hope. Everyone is hurting. Tell them of your joy-unspeakable-and-full-of-glory if you are a believer and it is true. You'll be reminding yourself. Have a friendly tract ready. Our family loves 'Bobby's Boat'. I have a huge advantage here now. I have my website handwritten on the back, and after chatting for a few minutes people seem grateful to receive the tract. I've had strangers hug me as they thank me!
12. While you're out looking for someone to witness to, buy a new pair of shoes. Preferably pretty heels. Maybe patent leather. Well, if you are a girl.
Okay, maybe that last one was just for me. :)
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