For me, yesterday was miserable. Not the kind of miserable where you lose your job, your house burns down, your spouse leaves you, your dog dies and they cancel your favorite television program, but certainly not what I would consider to be a great day. It was what is often called “one of THOSE days.”
An early morning frustration was met with another, and another and then another. Disappointments found their way into the mix. Interruptions broke my concentration and focus, out of which were born more frustrations. Things weren’t going right, people were difficult, technology was misbehaving, timing was perfectly imperfect, and it all seemed to hit in continual torrents…sigh. If yesterday was a food, it would be chopped liver. Blecht.
When I arrived home from work, I was mentally and physically exhausted. And, even though the challenges of the day played a significant part in my wearied state, the true catalyst that caused this reaction was, well, my reaction.
As I considered my day, I realized that I wasn’t really as angry or defeated as much by this series of unfortunate events, but more so overwhelmingly disappointed in the way in which I handled things as I laid down in defeat. I let my aggravation win. Annoyance turned to anger, and I turned into a raging crazy person. Not only were these relentless problems pushing me over the edge, but as I got closer to my cliff, even the smallest unrelated things were burning me up. I was someone that I wouldn’t want to be around. I said some things that I know made Jesus cry.
There’s a huge difference between righteous anger and the anger I was feeling. All of these events on their own were really nothing of major significance. But when piled one atop the other for eight straight hours, the burden became heavy and I got crushed. Though I really don’t like bad language and try hard to keep those kinds of words from coming out of my mouth, I will be completely honest—I had a few moments that sounded like scenes from Goodfellas. It’s embarrassing in hindsight.
Today I awoke still exhausted by the events of yesterday. In fact, I woke up with a cold—probably from the stress I allowed myself to swim in. But as I was standing in the shower confessing my failure to God as the warm water washed over me, I heard something undeniably convicting and unexpectedly liberating: “Today isn’t yesterday.”
The guy I was yesterday is dead to me. It’s not who I am and it’s certainly not who I want to be, nor who I was created to be. Sure, I was overcome by weakness and frustration and anger, but that was yesterday. Today is a new day. I can choose to be out of control and do it all again, or I can choose to be in control as I do things differently. I think I know in which direction I want to go today.
I felt pretty unlovable yesterday. Those of you who know me also know that I am a guy of faith and conviction. While I am certainly by no stretch of the imagination a moral pillar—I’m definitely messy—my desire is to walk with and grow toward God more and more every day. I know that some of you might not share the same beliefs that I have, but I trust that you can appreciate that it’s through my faith that I have perspective and hope. I know that yesterday I had to have disappointed God, which really disappoints me. But I have hope.
My faith assures me that I can take God at his word. That’s why I am so very grateful that he promises that his mercies are new EVERY morning (Lamentations 3:22-23); that he knows the plans that he has for me, plans for good and not for evil, to give me a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11); that he tells me to not be dismayed because he promises to help me, strengthen me and uphold me with his right hand (Isaiah 41:10); that if I am transparent and confess my faults, he’s faithful and just to forgive those things (1 John 1:9); and that he is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in unwavering love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15).
Today I choose to agree with King David, who is said to have been a man after God’s own heart, when he said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10). Yesterday is gone, today is full of possibility and promise. It’s a new day. It’s a beautiful day—one in which I will do my best to give new meaning to having one of “those” days.
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