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!


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Strouth January 24, 2014 at 6:11 am


I have a lot of these days. It’s so hard not to feel desperate and discouraged as they are unfolding right before my eyes. I never thought of them as “data” before, but that makes so much sense if you’re going to course-correct based on what’s really important! Thanks for your transparency and the paradigm shift!


Kari January 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Yeah, it’s tough when these days all string together! Praying you find the wisdom you need, from God, for your situation!


Melissa January 24, 2014 at 7:16 am

I love how you can take a situation that we all struggle with and turn it around for His glory, such wisdom you shared! I am so happy that it all worked out and we will see you next week :-) Love you sweet, wise friend!


Kari January 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Oh, thank you sweet friend. And thank you for your sweet understanding. So grateful for you!!!


Shelly January 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

I realized as I was going through a struggle the other week that without these days we might overlook the blessings on the rest of them.


Kari January 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

True true!


Katie January 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

You always write, “thanks for reading.” I say ” THANKS FOR WRITING!” I can relate to almost everything you write! I am so thankful for your writing. Thank you :)


Kari January 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Awww, THANK YOU! I appreciate that, Katie.


Shauna Crisan January 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Thanks for being transparent Kari. I had the same situation this morning where myself and my little one were frustrated and I was feeling unequal to the task in front of me. I’m thankful for Jesus’ quiet reminder the He is even bigger than what I’m feeling. :)



Kari January 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Amen to that! Thanks for sharing.


Janae January 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I bought a couple under the bed storage bins this week too. And I took those blasted Legos away for a week about 4 weeks ago (and I am not sure I am ever giving them back ;)). Keep trucking on friend!


Kari January 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Legos! We love them we hate them. ;)


Catie January 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Your little girl is ADORABLE. :) And I had to laugh out loud at your Lego comment.

This is good. I think sometimes (a LOT of times) if the day starts spiraling downward I sort of go with it. I’ve really been trying not to do that. I’ve been trying to stop. and pray. This article reminds me to keep doing just that. I really like your Mission Statement idea. Gonna have to steal that. :)


Kari January 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Oh, thank you! And of course you are welcome to steal whatever–that’s what it’s all about! Blessings, Catie.


Erica January 24, 2014 at 10:20 pm

As seems to often be the case your post is incredibly timely. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and take a look at what isn’t working and change it.


Kari January 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Thanks, Erica!


Maggie January 26, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I smiled too at the Lego comment. My challenge is Barbie clothes, shoes and miniature tea sets. I was so frustrated the other day when I looked at my living room. I felt that my house would never look like an adult house…yeah, then it struck me. You cannot have an adult house with two kids under seven and thank God for two healthy kids whose toys bring them hours of joyful play.
Your posts always wonderfully put things in perspective. Thank you for being such a positive light. When I am having a rough day I check out your blog for inspiration. Thanks.


Kari January 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Oh, praise God! And yes, when there are children there are delightful messes. Comes with the blessed territory, yes? Have a great day!


Emily January 26, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Wonderful, Kari! I especially love where you said “Prayer doesn’t enable us to escape the world, but equips us to engage with it more effectively.” So much truth!


Kari January 27, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Thank you, Emily!


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