Well, that sure didn’t go the way I hoped it would. Have you said that to yourself lately? We all have bad days. How do you define a bad day and how to you respond when you have one?
God used my sweet pup Miley to teach me a valuable lesson on how to respond when things don’t go my way.
Miley is the oldest of my three pups (she’ll be 12 in December). She is an Italian Greyhound/Golden Retriever mix, and she is the perfect fusion of sweetness and orneriness rolled into one package.
The last thing I do each evening before going to be is let all three of my girls out for their final potty run.
However, on this particular evening I did things a little different. After letting them back in, I decided to watch a little more TV. I didn’t plan on falling asleep on the couch and not waking until after 1:00 AM but that’s what happened.
No problem, I thought as I stumbled to the bedroom; the pups following along behind. They jumped on the bed and I joined them in my allotted 12 inches of space (they truly are bed hogs). That’s when I noticed it.
There were only two pups in bed with me. Half asleep I counted again. Yep, there was Sadie and Zoe but Miley was missing. I called her, but she didn’t come. That is not like her. so after calling her again without a response I got up to look for her. What I found made me feel like the worlds worst dog mom. But in my defense, it’s hard to see black dogs at night when the lights are out (just saying).
When I couldn’t find her anywhere in the house, I opened the back door which leads to my tiny sunporch, the gateway to the backyard. Sure enough, there she was waiting for me to come for her.
You might say her day or at least her evening didn’t go her way. After all she had spent the last five plus hours alone confined to the sunporch. Her response is where God’s lesson for me begins.
Allow me to anthropomorphize a little as I unpack Miley’s plan for how to handle life when things don’t go your way.
First, she didn’t panic. She didn’t take it personal. And She didn’t get mad or try to place blame. Miley could have barked and carried on to get my attention, but she didn’t. Instead, she assessed her situation and refocused.
I’m learning the first step to dealing with disappointments and frustrations that come my way is to refocus. I like to ask myself, “What really matters in this moment?” or “God what are you trying to teach me right now?” I sometimes also ask, “In light of eternity how important is this?”
The next thing Miley did when things didn’t go her way was to trust patiently. She realized the situation was out of her control but she also knew she could trust her fur mom with the outcome. So while she waited for that to happen she made a nest out of the throw rug, curled up and took a long nap.
“... I will trust and not be afraid.” – Isaiah 12:2b (NIV)
So often when faced with disappointments or frustrations I tell God I trust Him then rush ahead without Him trying to fix the situation.
Patience is not one of my strong suits but I am learning it goes hand in hand with trust. I need to give God time and His time is not my time. Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NIV) tells us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
I need to remember that there is always enough time for God to work. In one moment He can make up for years of loss or frustration. That’s His job. My job is to trust and wait.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Summing it all up Miley would say when you have a bad day:
- Refocus and make sure you have the right perspective
- Trust God
- Wait Patiently
This quote from Allen Arnold says it well, “We all have our own filter for defining good and bad days. I used to think a hard day was a bad day – and a good day was one that went exactly as I planned. I now realize the goal isn’t comfort or control but simply to enter each day expectant for what God has for me. Those days are good and hard... but never bad or boring.”
I don’t get it right all the time but when I apply Miley’s method it’s a game changer. Oh, and one more thing, I’m learning to count heads when I let the dogs in at night.
How do you define a bad day and what is your method of dealing with life when it doesn’t go your way?