Can a Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day Be Beautiful?

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Wouldn’t it be nice if every day went according to plan? For me, that would be coaching, blissfully crossing items off of my to do list, squeezing in a happy chat with someone dear, a little time with my nose in a book, and still being able to whip up a delightful dinner to enjoy with my husband. That would all add up to a practically perfect day.

Most days are pretty smooth, but every now and then I feel like I just stepped into Alexander’s world. You know, Alexander from the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. His day started out on a terrible foot when he woke up with gum in his hair. The good times didn’t stop there. His best friend left him: there was no dessert in his lunch bag, and on and on. You get the idea!

Ever feel that way?

Bad days make you want to quit! Interruptions appear out of nowhere, tasks take far longer than you ever imagined, and even seemingly easy tasks suddenly go haywire! We all have days like that – even a life and leadership coach!

Recently I had one of those days. My printer stopped working, there were serious snags with a project I was working on, and to top things off when I went to relax after all the frustration that evening my TV wouldn’t work properly! Not exactly gum in my hair – but almost!

When circumstances or people are challenging or your day doesn’t go as anticipated, it’s maddening. Those moments have a tendency to trigger your Fear Monster and perhaps some other deep feelings you didn’t even know you had.

And those unplanned experiences can be an amazing barometer for the condition of my heart!

This year my One Word is ACCEPT. So far, it’s been a timely word. I’m seeing how frequently I fret about situations that I have absolutely no control over. What a great big waste of energy!

And I am also noticing what a difference it makes when I accept what’s come my way and keep my eyes wide open for what God is up to in moments that seem “terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad”! Even in those moments, God always has something beautiful for me IF I am willing to see it!

My One Word ACCEPT is not an invitation to be passive and just let my day take me wherever it will. No, it’s an invitation to trust God no matter what He allows to fill my day and a reminder that I am deeply loved by Him; that He has my best in mind…even in terrible moments. It’s a chance to see again that He is ultimately in control and able to work out even the worst moments in beautiful ways. He’s strong enough to see me through, and I can relax knowing that I will come out on the other side more like Him…IF I allow Him to work in me.

My response to the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad moments, or days, or weeks reveals a lot! It gauges my level of confidence and trust in Him and highlights what needs to change – my heart, my mindset, my habits, my priorities, and more.

The next time you face one of those bad days or moments, keep this in mind:

1. Something Might Need to Change

It’s tempting to focus on all the ways others need to change in difficult moments, but less than wonderful situations truly expose what needs to change in me. Those moments highlight mindsets, habits, or ways of doing things that also might need a little tweaking. Maybe you need to alter a process, or develop a habit, or embrace a new way of thinking. That might not be fun, or easy, but those changes make a positive difference in my life.

Making changes is more challenging when we choose to go solo in the process. That’s just one of the many reasons people choose to work with a coach. God created us as interdependent beings. You and I need others in order to move forward in life. That’s just one of the reasons I love my coach!

2. My Words Matter!

Words are exceedingly powerful – especially the words that surface on “those bad days”. Oh, I might not say anything out loud, but even the words I whisper in my head have a powerful way of influencing me. The old adage that “Talk is cheap” is a lie! My words have the potential to cost me dearly! That’s why it’s important to slow down, tune in, and take the time to think about the words I say – even if they are only words I say to myself. Tuning into my self-talk is one way to spot my Fear Monster messing with me.

My words can also be a powerful tip off that I’m not accepting my circumstances or others the way I’d like. When I find myself complaining, making excuses or saying yes when I really want to say no, I am probably not accepting what’s come my way.

What attitudes, beliefs, mindsets, or lies do your words expose? How is your Fear Monster messing with you?

3. Tune into Truth

Whatever negative thing I am telling myself will grow unless I lay it before God and allow Him to speak truth over me. I have to intentionally imagine myself uprooting the untruth from my heart, like pulling weeds and replacing them with His truth. Without replacing those weeds with seeds of His Truth they will spring back to life in no time – that’s what weeds do!

In order to absorb the Truth that God has for me, I need to tune in to what He’s speaking to me. That can happen in a wide variety of ways, but it never hurts to linger in His presence and dig into the Word daily.

Truth easily slips away, so it helps when I keep truth in front of me. I often write Truth on sticky notes that are near my computer, but you might prefer to post notes on your mirror, refrigerator, or in your car. You might even make it your screen saver or set reminders in your phone to bring you back to Truth at different points in your day.

How will you make space in your life to connect with God and tune into Truth?

4. Get Back on Track!

Anchored in Truth, I’m better prepared to face hard times, and there will be more hard times! Another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is in my future – most likely there’s one in yours too. I want to have the right mindset so I can be speedier and speedier to accept those moments and trust Him so that I can take my thoughts captive and get on with what He’s created me to be!

What about you? What turns a day into terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for you? How do you turn that kind of day around so that you can stay on track with what God’s called you to?

…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5b (NIV)

© Can Stock Photo / bogdanbrasoveanu

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