We’ve all had those days.
You know, the ones where you feel like “when it rains it pours” or that the “bottom just fell out” or maybe it’s closer to say “all hell has broken lose.” These days could be described as “the pits” or if you’re overly dramatic like me, you call your husband and lament that it’s been the “worst day of your life” (even though you told him that same thing last week when you found your son eating dog poo off the street!).
As hard as those days are in the moment (and for many moments following!) there is much to be learned from these character-building moments if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
If you missed the exciting saga of finding mice in my van, you may want to stop and read that first. If nothing else, it may make you laugh (or cry if you hate rodents with tiny beady eyes) and help you know that you aren’t alone in your bad days!
What to Do When the Bottom Falls Out
1. Change Your Perspective
I can tend to see the glass half empty. I’m a realist. I see the logic. I analyze the facts before me, and I base my conclusions on what I deem to be the obvious.
Nathan, on the other hand is an optimist. He sees the glass half full. Because of his perspective, which at times infuriates me because I wish he’d be a little more, well, realistic (which oftentimes, means negative), he tends to receive something very different than I do. I learned years ago I could fight him, or join him.
I decided his way of seeing life seemed much better so I tried it. Much to my surprise, I liked it. I started to react less aggressively, I didn’t feel as angry inside, and I seemed to find solutions to the problem much faster. Now I know how to use my gift of logic and analysis for good, rather than negativity.
In trying situations, where it feels like the bottom has fallen out, give it a try. Change your perspective by asking to see what God Himself sees. He is above all and can see all.
We have such limited views from where we stand and if we will yield to Him, we might be pleasantly surprised how often a “higher perspective” will change not only our reactions, but sometimes even the situation itself. So don’t be too rash to believe the worst. Look for the redemption that Jesus wants to bring you.
Jesus died to give us power and authority over these situations in our life. To allow us to rise up, with His resurrection life within us, and be “more than conquerors” not defeated, angry people who feel like life sucks and offers us nothing but lemons (even though we might feel that some days).
2. Believe Truth. Not Experience.
I learned years ago, after the passing of our son Hosea, that if I base my beliefs on my experiences I wouldn’t make it.
So many days I thought I would literally die from the pain that was in my heart. What deepened the pain was my beliefs – what I believed about Jesus and how He works in our lives.
The problem was, I was basing my beliefs and what I would call “truth” on experience.
The problem is our experiences don’t always line up with Truth, because we live in a world that does not function as it was originally intended to function. So I had to make a conscious choice, even in pain, to line my beliefs up with Truth rather than my experience.
What is truth, you might wonder?
Jesus. He said “I am the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life” (John 14:6).
On my worst, “the bottom is falling out” kind of days, I have to literally speak out the truth I know about my life, situation, and who I am. That truth is found in God’s Word, the Bible. It is my road map for life. I don’t know how I would’ve made it through the hell of burying a child without it. Every word is Life, Freedom, and Truth to me and it gives me the lenses with which I see life.
These Truth lenses allow me to see that “all things work together for good” (another truth found in Romans 8:28). I can see the redemption of things that Satan, our enemy, wants to steal from us or destroy in our lives. Although Satan is hard at work to kill and destroy, Jesus came so I might have abundant life.
Does this mean a life free of problems? A life free of mice and no car problems?
No, but it does mean I can declare, “Greater is He (Jesus) that is in me, than he that is in the world (Satan).” I will rise above all things yucky, stinky, and annoying in my life because Jesus gives me the power to. That’s what I choose to believe. And therefore, that’s what I will receive. You too will receive what you believe.
3. It’s a Choice.
Through any bad day we’ve had, loss we’ve experiences, or frustrating experience Nathan and I have had choices to make. Choices to cuss, get mad at each other, be angry, and just plain quit.
Believe me, I’ve not handled this, or other trying situations perfectly by any means! There has been tension, frustration, tears, and temptation to run. But at the end of the day, I’ve realized…
…I have a choice.
We so often want to blame our reactions on our situations or the people in our lives. But the harsh reality I’m faced with daily is that my situation didn’t choose my response, I did. The buck stops here. I made the choice.
So the good news is, if I don’t like how I feel after I react to a problem, trail, argument with my spouse or kids, or any bad thing that comes by way, is that I can choose to react differently.
The only way I personally can choose differently is because of the life-changing power of Jesus in me. In “Jenni’s strength” I’m pretty puny and yucky. But partnered with Jesus, I’m an overcomer. He works in me to produce something I could never have produced on my own – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Aren’t those all amazing qualities of leaders and people we look up to?
I want those qualities in my life.
I can have them and so can you. All we have to do is receive them. I don’t have to try harder or work to be good. I can do NOTHING on my own. I just receive what Jesus already did for me and allow Him, the farmer, to cultivate the fruit in my life. But I have to choose to let Him and choose to agree with what He says about my life and situation. When I choose the opposite, to daily speak out the negative and play, like a broken record, the bad things that have happened, I will never see those fruits like joy and peace grow in me. Rather, I see anger and stress coming to the surface!
But we all get to choose. What will we rest in? Our own strength to be different next time, or Jesus’ finished work (because of the cross) and power to change us moment by moment. One is hard, one is easy.
So the Mouse Saga continues! Our car is in the shop now with $1900 of damage because of these little critters. But I’m choosing to believe truth and see things from His perspective. We will find out this week if our car will be totaled because of so much damage. Wouldn’t that be a strange blessing in disguise? Get a whole new car out of a situation that seemed so bad?
Whatever way this story ends, I know it will work out for good.