A Bad Moment Doesn't Have to Become a Bad Day

A Rough Start
My alarm went off at 5:30am, and due to an 8:30 bedtime the night before, I actually felt somewhat rested (even though the baby was up 3 times).  I crawled out of bed and did the shortest but most effective self-care activities I could manage before coffee, which included putting on jeans and washing my face.  With the house still quiet, I crept to the kitchen to brew a hot pot of coffee before my husband left for work.

This was shaping up to be a great morning - it had all the marks of success.
At 6:00am I had a Skype meeting with my sister-in-law for our podcast, which was fun.  She, my husband and I had some lighthearted conversation, and I was hopeful for progress on our projects.  We started checking things off our to-do list when I heard a door opening down the hall.  Shortly after, two grumpy, bleary-eyed twins were standing in front of the Skype window.  Within minutes, they were fighting over a toy hammer and screaming at a pitch that shouldn't be allowed before 9:00am.  Naturally, this woke up my oldest son.

Before 6:40am, my three oldest children were milling around at my feet.  I kept moving the laptop from room-to-room, hoping to finish a sentence in our meeting without having to say, "hold on".  I felt like I'd been invaded.  A television show helped for a few minutes until their morning hunger incited whines that I couldn't ignore.  The meeting would have to be finished another time.

At 7:00am, I make them all cinnamon swirl toast with cut up banana.  But this was not good enough.  Each of them said, "I no want it." (but I was in no mood to be a short-order cook).  "This is what we're having.  If you don't like it, don't eat it."

By 7:45am I'd been up for over two hours, and realized I hadn't eaten anything.  But before I could scarf down some toast, the baby wanted to nurse.  Eventually, I had a few moments to eat a disappointing and unhealthy breakfast and pour my 3rd cup of coffee (did I actually drink the other cups?  I can't remember now).
This morning, which was supposed to be restful, wonderful, quiet and productive had turned noisy, needy, and difficult.  
When I regrouped after breakfast, I found myself wondering, "Does this have to be the start of a bad day?"

3 Things to Remember When the Day Starts off Badly
I'm a sucker for letting hard moments define my day.  If the enemy can get me started off on the wrong foot, I'm pretty quick to keep walking down that path.  I quickly give into "survival mode" at the first sign of a struggle.  But on this particular morning, I stopped myself and thought through the following things:

1.  A bad moment doesn't have to make a bad day.  
I tend to be the type of person who gives up on healthy eating quickly, because if I "splurge" and have a bad snack, I give up the rest of the day and say, "Oh well, I'll start again tomorrow".  But once, someone told me, "You don't have to throw the whole day away just because you messed up..." and the same thing is true for my hard moments. In Christ, I'm a new creation.  I'm a redeemed creature with a forgiving God and the Holy Spirit inside me.  Just because I reacted wrongly or experienced a few hard moments, doesn't mean I have to continue walking in that throughout the day.  My hard moments don't define me.  I can repent, seek refuge in God, ask for wisdom, pray and regroup.  That won't necessarily change my circumstances, but it can change my outlook.

2.  It's never too late to have time with the Lord.  
Just because my children woke up earlier than I'd planned (as I was hoping to get my meeting finished and have time in God's word before I was greeted by sleepy faces) didn't mean I couldn't open my bible that day.  While I have a million things I like to use my "after breakfast cartoon-time" for, on this particular day, it was evident that the dishes needed to wait.  The word of God and prayer are powerful, and having alert children in the other room didn't mean I couldn't open my bible.  In fact, I hope they have many memories of a mommy who was meeting with Jesus in the everyday moments.

3.   I don't want to be a mommy-martyr.  
Who wants to be around someone who has a pity-party every time things don't go their way?  Is that who I want to be?  Someone who whines and complains (just like my children) when events don't play out according to my preferences?  No!  I want to be a person who recognizes that God is ultimately in charge, and this is about his will, not mine.  I want to model joy and contentment, even in the face of less-than-ideal moments.  Besides, the bible says that my children are a blessing.  It might not always feel that way, but I want my thoughts to be defined by truth, not my selfish obsession with personal convenience.

A Grace-Filled Day
So, did my day snap-to-attention and suddenly afford me all the comforts I hoped for?  No.  But maybe my heart wasn't so quick to give up after that.
  • It might be winter outside, but it doesn't have to be cold inside.
  • My children might whine and complain, but I don't have to.
  • I might be tempted to reflect my children's attitudes, but I want to let Jesus control me (not my 2 year olds).
  • There might not be anything "fun" or "special" on our calendar, but that doesn't mean I can't view our lives as a gift.
Are you there with me?  Do you ever have a hard morning, only to throw your hands in the air and "give up" for the day?  Basking in how hard you have it and how much no one understands?  If this is you (as it usually is me), remember that in Christ, we have eternal and unquenchable hope.  We aren't defined by other people, we are defined by Jesus.  We are a part of a bigger story, a bigger mission, and a greater plan.
These moments aren't trivial, they are the moments that make up our life.  They are the moments that God is using to shape us more into the image of his Son.
So stop and let God change you as his truth renews your mind.  A bad moment doesn't have to become a bad day.

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