Having a hard day? Occasionally, everyone does. Things won’t always go your way, but instead of succumbing to the emotional distress of a bad day or a bad week, you can employ strategies to improve it. As a Christian, you have a ready-made toolbox right at your disposal; simply put these tools of faith into practice and watch your outlook change.
1.Praise and Worship
The Word tells you to “enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4). Whether you’re in your car, at the office or at home, you can improve your day immensely by taking a few minutes to praise and worship God. It’s a great way to refocus on God’s greatness, stir up your faith, and get your mind off your present frustrations.
2.Meditate on God’s Word
Find a scripture that pertains to your situation and begin meditating on it. Prayerfully consider what the verse means. If it’s a promise, then claim that promise for yourself. For instance, if someone is making life at your workplace difficult, you might stop and meditate on Psalm 118:6, NKJV, which says, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Speak it out and thank God for His provision and protection.
Then write that verse out on a sticky note or make it your home screen on your smartphone or tablet. Don’t simply read it and move on. Stop, close your eyes if necessary, and focus on what it says. Instead of letting irritating situations or conversations play on a loop in your mind, let that scripture take their place. And while Psalm 118:6 may work for your situation, there is a whole Bible full of other scriptures on which to meditate.
3.Encourage Another Person
Focusing on others and encouraging them through their difficulties is a great way to give yourself a break from your own troubles. Ask the Holy Spirit for direction, and you’re sure to find someone—a co-worker, a neighbor or a long-distant friend—who will greatly appreciate a sincere smile, a kind note/text/email or an encouraging phone call.
4.Take Stock of Your Blessings
The enemy loves to convince you that all is lost, but that’s not even close to the truth. God has provided so much for you. When struggles come, take stock of all the blessings God has given you—your salvation, your health, your home, your family, your family’s health, your job, your church and more. James 1:17 reminds you that “whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” Take time to consider all the “good and perfect” blessings in your life.
5.Stop and Remember What the Lord Has Done
Think of all the times God has come to your rescue in the past. To the Israelites, He said, “Be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 6:12). The Lord wanted them not only to remain thankful for what He had already done for them, but He also wanted them to remember that if He loved them enough to free them from Egypt, then He could certainly free them from any future difficulty.
So ask yourself: When did the Lord rescue me? He certainly rescued you from eternal death and separation from Him through the sacrifice of His Son, and surely, He has rescued you since then. Perhaps He rescued you from a chronic disease, a bad business deal, debilitating debt or an unhealthy relationship. When difficulties arise, it’s good to look back, take stock of what the Lord had already done for you, and encourage yourself with the knowledge that He didn’t abandon you before, and He won’t abandon you now.
Do you ever struggle with replaying situations in your mind? Journaling can help you get competing and obsessive thoughts down on paper and process how you feel about current issues. In fact, it’s a great way to start or end your day because it can help you think more objectively about what is happening, allow you to write a daily letter to God, or record prayer requests and praise reports.
“Never stop praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). There is no substitute for constant communication with the Lord. Throughout your day—and especially during difficult days—take time to ask for His perspective and help. Even if you can’t see the big picture or the end result, you can trust the Lord to give you the next step (Psalm 37:23). A simple prayer like, “Lord, what do You want me to do today (or now)?” can yield big results and help you navigate through overwhelming to-do lists, competing priorities or seemingly impossible situations.
8.Intercede for Others
Just as encouraging someone else can help you take the focus off yourself, so can intercession. When your own life is fraught with frustration, you can go before the Lord and say, “Lord, You know what’s happening in my life, and I trust You to handle it, but for now, I lift up (fill in the blank with the person’s name.)” Even if you don’t know what to pray, you can intercede for them in the spirit. As long as you don’t take on their burdens as your own, intercession will often result in you feeling encouraged and strengthened in your own life as you petition the Lord on someone else’s behalf.
9.Take a Walk
Envelope yourself in God’s creation. It’s a wonderful way to appreciate just how great the God is who you serve. As the psalmist proclaimed, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he is coming” (Psalm 96:11-13a)! There is something rejuvenating and awe-inspiring about nature and the creative power of God.
10.Serve Someone Else
If you look around, you’ll easily find someone in need: a co-worker who could benefit from being invited to lunch, a neighbor would could use a home-cooked meal, a senior citizen or single parent who would appreciate help running errands or performing household chores, a ministry outreach in your church that needs volunteers. Serving others will help you put your own frustrations in perspective and make you feel good about how you finish your day.
If you’re having a bad day and need some simple pick-me-up solutions, then put these to work. Consider them your go-to tools for improving your day and quite possibly someone else’s day, too!
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