Have you had a bad day recently? One of those days when everything seems to go wrong? You know the ones. Maybe it started with sleeping through your alarm, and it just went downhill from there. Spilled coffee, unexpected bills, toddler meltdowns, bumper to bumper traffic, burned dinner, and a hundred other things leave you exhausted and wishing you could sleep the day away and pretend it never happened. Or maybe your bad day has extended into a hard season. It could be that you are in a job that you hate, and it is a struggle to wake up every morning. Maybe you have a baby who is going through a sleep regression, and the exhaustion is taking a major toll on you. Perhaps you have been hit by one tragedy after another, wondering if there will ever be any relief. Whether it's a day or a season, deep suffering, or persistent annoyances, we need to know what to do with bad days.
How can we faithfully live in the midst of hard days or hard seasons? The good news is that the Bible has a lot to say about living in a broken world, so let's take a look at how to deal with bad days.
We may be tempted to attack our bad days with positivity, but the reality is that this world is fallen, and it is good to grieve over what sin has broken. When Adam disobeyed God in Genesis 3, the curse of the fall spread to every corner of creation, distorting what God made and called good. Every bad day goes back to that day, and it is right to mourn that the world is not as it should be. God welcomes our sorrow and invites us to bring it before Him. Lamenting is grieving over sin and its consequences and calling out to God to help us as we trust in His goodness and sovereignty. Heed the words of David in Psalm 62:8 when he says, "Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before him. God is our refuge" (CSB).
2. Confess and Repent
When we have a bad day, it is our natural tendency to respond sinfully. We become impatient, we lash out at someone, or we act selfishly. On the one hand, we might want to let ourselves off the hook because of our difficult circumstances, and on the other, we might stew in guilt and shame, but neither approach is helpful. We must not use a bad day as an excuse not to love others well. God calls us to recognize that our sin is a very real problem–a problem so severe that its result is death, and He has graciously provided a permanent solution. Jesus Christ took our guilt and shame upon Himself and paid for it, so if we are in Christ, we experience true forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We are all going to have hard days, and we are all going to mess up in our responses, and God gives us grace for that! But grace does not just mean that we keep living the same way. His grace empowers us to change, and as we confess our sins and come to Him, little by little, our response will change too.
3. Run to the Lord
From minor annoyances to devastating pain, "God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble" (Psalm 46:1). He is able and ready to strengthen us, help us, and uphold us (Isaiah 41:10). He is the one who is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). When you are weary and exhausted, the Lord will be your strength. When your patience is running thin, the Spirit can empower you to walk in love. When you find yourself frustrated, disheartened, or too tired to continue, when you find yourself wanting to react, call out to Him in prayer. Your helper is near.
4. Preach the Gospel to Yourself
On good days and bad days, our forgetful hearts need to hear the truth of the gospel that impacts every area of our lives. Remind yourself of the good news. Preach to your heart that it won't always be this way–when Christ returns, bad days will be a thing of the past. Rehearse the truth that even while you wait for that day, God is using every annoyance and tragedy to make you look more like Jesus. When the inconveniences or sufferings of the day seem nonsensical, remember that God is in control of every circumstance, that He is perfect in wisdom, and that His actions toward you are all done in love. Preach the truth to your own heart that in all of it, God is so, so good.
We cannot escape bad days through a vacation, retail therapy, or "me time." The remedy is not to tough it out and push through. We have a future hope and a present help, and by His grace, we can live faithfully even in the hard days. In God's economy, not a single day goes to waste.