Do you ever have days when your best laid plans go awry? When little mishaps crop up and threaten to ruin your day, do you get as frustrated as I do? As much as I wish I would just flex and go with the flow, I tend to fret and fume instead.
A few Saturdays ago, several setbacks left me frustrated and tense. I was late preparing breakfast for guests who arrived early. The gas tank on our stove ran out (a reality of life in Turkey). I had nothing to offer our friends while we waited an hour for a new tank to be delivered. Later on, a simple errand turned into an afternoon of driving from store to store through heavy traffic in the rain. While we were out, the optical called, but when I went to pick up my new glasses, the lab had made a mistake, so instead of the cute modern style I’d chosen, I had Benjamin Franklin spectacles!
As I walked back in the door at home, my inward fretting spilled out with a litany of complaints, but my teenaged daughter interrupted me:
“Mom, LET IT GO. There’s nothing you can do to change things. Why don’t you just let it go?”
She was repeating back what she’s heard me say a hundred times: Let it go. (Out of the mouths of babes…) I stopped in my tracks and tasted my own medicine. I considered the choice before me. Either I could keep complaining and let the rest of the day be ruined, or I could let go of frustration and hold on tighter to daily joy. Do you ever face that choice?
Four Ways to Hold on to Daily Joy When Things Go Wrong:
Stop a Moment
When you’re frustrated or tense, stopping for a moment to recollect yourself can help. Take a deep breath. Whisper a prayer and lift your frustration heavenward. Let God know how you feel, and then ask for grace to let negative feelings go.
Adjust Your Expectations
Sometimes when things don’t go our way, it helps to consciously let go of our expectations for the day and make a choice to surrender to God’s plan instead. That Saturday I had hoped for a relaxing afternoon, but maybe God was more interested in teaching me patience through little mishaps. Are you willing to go with God’s plan for your day?
Give Thanks Anyway
Choosing to give thanks even when little things go wrong helps us to see the bigger picture of God’s goodness in our lives. Focusing on daily frustrations with a magnifying glass will only bog us down.
Move on Past It
We don’t have to let minor irritations ruin the rest of our day. So you burned dinner? Enjoy the rest of your evening. You were late to work? You can still accomplish a lot. Didn’t get enough sleep? How about praying for grace and believing that with God’s help you can have a good day anyway? Move on past it!
I need so much to grow in learning to let go of daily frustrations, but God’s Spirit whispers encouragement: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
What helps you to hold onto joy when things go wrong?