The environment is clearly confused. In Chicago, we had no snow in January or February for the first time in 150 years! Then, in March, just weeks after almost 70-degree weather, we get a 2-day snowstorm. Similar to Mother Nature, life tends to through us a storm at least every once in a while, even when you think things are coasting along just fine. You will have good days and, if you’re lucky, they will far outnumber the bad ones. But there will be bad ones. The question is, can you still be great on bad day? Can you still advance your purpose when circumstances seem to be conspiring against you?
During this recent snowstorm, my daughter also became sick with strep throat. My tire went started to deflate…again and I had to pump it back up in the cold, wet weather. I took her to the doctor (the bane of my existence) after maneuvering through the snowy traffic, where we sat for the better part of an hour, before they even performed the throat swab. For the rest of the day, I was at home with her, trying to work and call clients and prep lessons for some upcoming speaking engagements. Then, I left to pick up my youngest daughter from daycare. I got them home, fed, bathed and in bed. Finally, I had a conference call with my co-teachers at 10pm for an upcoming class we will be teaching. Oh, and this happened to be on a day where I was fasting so almost all of this occurred on an empty stomach. Although, this is by far not the worst day I’ve ever had and there are many more people that experience far worse on a daily basis, I found the circumstances of my day to be far less than ideal.
In spite of the setbacks, I managed to get to the office and get everything I planned to do accomplished. I got all of the grocery shopping done for the next week. I successfully conducted some business, did some Bible study, prepped and practiced 1 of 3 lessons, made dinner, cleaned the bathroom and spent time with my family. None of this list is written to brag or boast. Rather, I hope it demonstrates that allowing circumstances, or bad days, to influence our mood or success is a choice, not an inevitability.
They say, “when it rains, it pours” (or in this case, snows). What makes our circumstances feel overwhelming is when they seem to pile on one after the other. Someone once said, “Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.” So, don’t look at the 10 things you have to do. Focus on the ‘next thing’ you need to do.
Difficult situations can provide a blessing in disguise. You can learn a lot about yourself when your plans get altered or when circumstances dictate how your day will go. You can either adapt, or be overrun by the complexities that present themselves on any given day. However, if the goals you have are actually important, then giving up on them due to obstacles should not be an option. Truthfully, it’s not just that important lessons are learned through adversity, some lessons can only be learned through adversity. Sherrilyn Kenyon said, “The strongest steel is forged by the fires of hell. It is pounded and struck repeatedly before it’s plunged back into the molten fire. The fire gives it power and flexibility, and the blows give it strength. Those two things make the metal pliable and able to withstand every battle it’s called upon to fight.”
In order to make sure that you proceed in spite of hindrances and obstacles that may come suddenly, you should remember these two things. First, God has multiple objectives. You and I can’t see how God is connecting the dots. He’s not just connecting the dots in your life. He is connecting the dots throughout His entire earthly Kingdom. So what seems like a bad day to you or I might be right on target in His global plan. Isaiah 40:22 says, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” Second, oftentimes the process reveals the purpose. We can’t get so annoyed, frustrated, or impatient with the process that we abort it and never realize the purpose for the process. In many respects I had a bad day but the events of the day also allowed me to spend some extra time with my daughter before I left town. I found a way to be better than my day.
Think to yourself, “am I only at my best on the best days?”