Do you ever have “one of those days”? You know the kind. Everywhere you look, there’s a mess that needs cleaned up. Each of the kids is having their own version of a bad day. There is so much to do, and not enough time to do it.
Then, someone gets hurt…an argument breaks out…the car breaks down. And you think, “Is it bedtime yet?”
I had just a hint of “one of those days” today. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The kids obeyed (mostly), they didn’t fight (too much), and we were kept safe (in spite of a nasty storm). My day had its good moments, but it made me think about how to cope with those days that seem impossible to get through. I’ve had my share of those days and have learned some lessons:
As hard as it can be to see that silver lining, it is always worth it to find a way to praise God. When you trip over the toys that were supposed to be put away, thank God that your kids are healthy enough to play. When you are tired of fixing yet another meal, praise the Lord that you have enough food to eat. When the same child needs discipline for the third time that day, rejoice for the opportunity God has given you to teach your little one about obedience and grace.
Lower your standards.
Don’t expect to accomplish everything on your “to do list” on a day like this. Today isn’t the time to strip the sheets off the beds or tear everything out of the closets for a major cleaning session. Focus on the essentials. Only do the laundry that must be done. Make simple meals. Use paper plates. Don’t worry about the dust. Let the kids watch an extra video, just for today. Tomorrow is a new day, and you can raise the bar back up first thing in the morning.
Don’t lower God’s standards.
It’s tempting on this kind of day to overlook sin – in our kids and ourselves. Don’t make excuses for yourself when you lose your temper or erupt in a fit of complaining. Call your sin what it is, confess it, and accept Christ’s forgiveness. Don’t let your kids get away with murder either. It doesn’t do them any good to teach them that God only expects our obedience on our “good days”.
Set things up for success.
Give the little ones their naps a bit early if necessary. Put off the spelling test till tomorrow. Don’t expect the room to look perfect. Spend extra time reading stories. Hand out cookies.
Clean as you go.
Instead of doing the cleaning projects that may be calling your name, simply try to make every room look a little better than when you walked into it. When you step into the bathroom to grab a band-aid, quickly put away the toothpaste. When you walk past the desk, take the scissors with you to put away in the kitchen drawer. And before you leave the kitchen, put just one glass in the dishwasher. After a day of doing this, you may find that your house doesn’t look so bad after all.
Go to the gospel.
Open your Bible. Drop to your knees in prayer. Or, at least humble your heart in prayer as you’re pacing the floor with the baby. Write a verse on an index card so you can glance at it throughout the day. Trust the Lord to give you the grace you need for today. After all, “in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). God planned this day for your good and His glory. I bet He’ll given you many opportunities to glorify Him in your difficulties.
When I’m not too busy feeling sorry for myself, these are a few of the things I try to remember to help me make it through my not-so-easy days. So, buck up, Soldier. Don’t forget: Tomorrow is a new day! Go kiss your kiddos, thank God for those struggles, and break out the cookies. This is going to be a growing day!
This post has been updated and republished from the archives.