Have you ever had one of those days where everything that can go wrong goes wrong?
You wake up 30 minutes late for work. You’re in panic mode; you’re out of the house in record speed. You wait for your train, trying not to sweat through your shirt, when you realise you forgot your handphone.
Six trains – all packed like cans of sardines – pass you by. You get on seventh train only through some unearthly contortion between men who apparently have sworn off bathing. When you’re 300 meters from your office building, it starts pouring. You plop yourself at your desk, soaked to the bone, cold and ready to explode.
I had one of those bad days recently. But instead of shaking my fists at God, I chose to … pray.
BE STILL AND KNOW
In the words of C S Lewis: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” We’re forced to look for God in our struggles; because when life is peachy keen, we’re so busy enjoying it that we forget the one who’s made it all possible.
On another of those bad days, I woke up feeling exhausted. I was worn out from constantly putting on a front, and tired from nursing all my wounds – fresh new ones and scabby old ones. I didn’t want anyone noticing a dent in my usual upbeat demeanour. Pretending to be perfect was exhausting.
I told God that I wanted to break the mindset that having a bad start means I’ll have a bad day.
My heart was shaken and hard-pressed, and it was desperate for some peace and quiet. Then a verse sprang to mind: “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).” That’s when I decided to get on my knees and placed my head against the cold, hard floor.
I told God that I wanted to break the mindset that having a bad start means I’ll have a bad day. It was one of those days that I couldn’t afford to have a bad one. I had so much to get done; so many things that were clamouring for my attention and not one of them could be put aside.
In that moment, I was reminded that God cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). He cares for me even when I’m flustered, anxious and angry. He’s looking out for me even when I can’t seem to get my head around things. I know He’s still concerned with the state of my heart – even when I’m at my least teachable and open to correction. I know that God is and will continue to be sufficient in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
And right there, in prayer, my heart turned from having a bad attitude to being full of gratitude. There was a shift in my heart, and it was because I chose to put my hope in God (Isaiah 40:31).
Instead of letting a bad start set the tone for the rest of your day, choose to give thanks for the fact that at least you managed to get onto the seventh train. Choose to give thanks that you’re able to put food on the table. Choose to give thanks and hold fast to the faith that God will turn it around for good.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. (1 John 5:4)
Carry on choosing to give thanks because it honours God. Carry on being excellent in your work even when your boss is tough. Carry on loving well even when you’ve been given every reason not to. Do it because that’s how you honour God (Ephesians 6:7, Colossians 3:23)
The next time you get a foreboding glimpse of a bad day, don’t be anxious but give thanks in advance because God will give you victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).
You just need to stick around for it.