The Worst Day: How to make what’s not working work for you

by Kari on January 24, 2014


For whatever reason, Wednesday was the worst day.

Nothing truly tragic, just the garden variety of fatigue and frustrations, discouragement and disobedient children. It was Jeff’s day off, the day I usually take to write and study in preparation for speaking. But for whatever reason it just wasn’t working.

And we fell into the funk. Hard.

Every household probably has its own funk-patterns. For us it’s the dance of switching from Mommy’s-in-charge to Daddy’s-in-charge, handing over homeschooling hat, planning out the day with enough structure for some of us and enough freedom for the rest, with enough housework to keep from falling too far behind, but with enough rest and play to feel refreshed, constantly re-routing based on the inevitable curve balls of life, and then tossing into the mix my own indecisiveness, reluctance and lack of confidence about spending a day away from the kids.

And of course I tried to tackle it all without coffee. Never a good idea.

Of course I’m joking, but sometimes we have those days, right? The perfect storm of emotions and hormones and physical factors tossed in with a whole host of spiritual forces we cannot see, stirred up with the widely varied personalities, needs, desires, and feelings of four feeble creatures called a family.

And my good man and I looked at each other and said, “Something isn’t working.”

*Sigh* Please tell me you have those days too?

But one little paradigm shift helped us make what wasn’t working work for us (got that? ;). 

One of my favorite things about The Plan (I know, it’s a diet book, stick with me here!), is how the author leads you on a complete paradigm shift about weight. Instead of emotionalism, or tying the number on the scale to our feelings of value or worth, failure or success, she leads you to treat it as data. What do I mean?

Let’s use a real-life example. Let’s say you eat a bowl of popcorn. The next day your stomach hurts, your eyes are puffy, your weight’s up 3 lbs. overnight, and you feel terrible. Instead of feeling bad, beating yourself up, and feeling discouraged, you say, “Oh. Apparently popcorn isn’t a great choice. That’s great data to apply to my daily life. I don’t think I’m going to eat that anymore because it makes me feel awful.”

You take what’s not working and make it work for you. 

So Wednesday, when we were spinning our wheels and turning circles and I felt ready to blow a gasket or burst into tears, suddenly I remembered: This day is data.

Meaning: Take a look at what’s not working and make it work for you.

In real-time, this meant sitting down and praying, “Give us wisdom to see what’s not working.”  It meant slowing down long enough to see. It meant thinking through our Family’s Mission Statement and evaluating our day based on what really matters. It meant me going for a walk by myself, to get the alone time my introverted soul so desperately needed. It meant making a whole new plan for the day, each of us investing quality time with one child, to get their love tanks full again. It meant me trusting that the teaching notes will get finished … another day.

(And … in the spirit of full disclosure, it meant me going to Ikea to get an under-the-bed storage bin to contain all those blasted Legos!)

It meant making a plan for next Wednesday that’s much more likely to work, because we took what wasn’t working and made it work for us. 

In Colossians 1 we learned this week that prayer is supremely practical. Prayer doesn’t enable us to escape the world, but equips us to engage with it more effectively.

Prayer gives us the spiritual wisdom and understanding we need …

to make what’s not working actually work for us. 

{Praying you can use the “data” of today to give you wisdom for tomorrow. Happy weekend! Thanks for reading.}

*UPDATE: The next Wednesday worked! The changes we made, based on that day’s data, were so effective. Hooray!