How to Rescue a Bad Day (by giving yourself grace)
Have you ever had a day where you felt overwhelmed, insufficient and unkind right out of the gate? This is the story of how my no-good day was rescued.
My no-good day started the night before when I didn’t sleep well, causing me to hit snooze so I missed my quiet time. I walked out to a sink is full of dirty dishes. I screamed at my kids after listening to a podcast about God’s grace. Lovely. This day has the potential to be nice, easy and fun, but instead, it devolved into tears, anger, and irritation. Is there a way to rescue this bad day?
Somedays it’s easier to extend myself grace, but today isn’t one of them.
I can look back at moments of my life when I feel like it was easy to have grace for myself, like when we brought home our first baby. You know that time when the baby is so new that people bring you dinner, a relative does laundry, and you eat whatever you want because you’ll lose the baby weight later? Your needs are met and no one expects you to answer email because your life has been turned upside-down by a 7-pound pooping machine.
The life-altering event of having a baby means that you are extended grace. Time and responsibilities are suspended and expectations are really low. It’s easier to be gracious with yourself during these times.
In my current life, there are no life-altering events so it’s easy for me to believe that I can do it all on my own.
I am a college-educated, moderately-intelligent woman who should be able to get children ready for school, pack a lunch, do some house cleaning, volunteer at church, and supervise homework time while cooking a balanced dinner all with grace.
But therein lies the lie: that I can be both self-sufficient and God-dependent.
The truth is that I am insufficient to do life on my own, no matter how easy, small, or routine that life may seem from the outside looking in. My human nature does not have the capacity for divine grace.
How can we stop the craziness that is telling us that we can do it all if we would just pray a little harder, get more organized, and just get it together? How do we rescue this day?
- The first step is to recognize that I am not the rescuer. As an Achiever, I love being the fixer, but when I’m spiraling downward into frustration, I cannot save myself. Jesus is the one I need to turn to to rescue me, and this day, from myself.
- I remember that Jesus is my person. He’s not an item to check off my list. He is a person who loves me like crazy, and because of that, I can tell Him what I’m feeling. I vent and He listens because that’s what friends do. Sometimes I just say, “Hi Jesus” and He directs the conversation from there.
- I ask myself if the expectations I have are the expectations God has for me. As Achievers, we set goals and formulate an attack plan. Sometimes I get the sneaking suspicion that what I have set out for myself is not what He has set out for me. So I ask Him.
For example, today we had a play date. While I was cleaning the house like a mad woman, the kids were in the way and I was getting irritated. So I talked to God about it, “Is my obsessive need to clean an already pretty straight house what you want me to do right now?”
I quit the cleaning and straightening because I felt like Jesus was telling me, “Clean the house right now? Blah! Go for the kids! Jill, I really don’t care about the one stray dog hair on the hardwood floor. Hang out with the little people I gave you.”
And you know what? Our friends didn’t even notice the load of toys waiting to go up the stairs or the robes on the back of the kitchen chairs. And I got to spend time hanging out with two of my favorite people in the whole wide world. Achiever, give yourself permission to extend grace to yourself.
Grace says that hitting snooze is okay because my body and brain desperately need rest. Grace gently reminds me to be thankful that I have dishes to wash. Grace says that even in my impatience with the kids, His peace is flowing to me. Grace tells me to trust when I want to tackle. Grace says that He rescues the bad days and makes them good; that my mess is His beautiful masterpiece. Can I get an “Amen?”