When I have a bad day or am in a bad mood, I tend to have a very general response. My default position is to get really quiet and despondent. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t really feel like dealing with anyone. I just want to be by myself until I feel better, which is usually after I sleep for a while. Then, after I wake up, I normally feel better enough to engage in a simple conversation with someone, but I either still prefer being alone or being coddled by someone of my choice. Now, you may roll your eyes at me, but I am being honest and truthful about my general nature when I’m in a bad mood. And I have come to realize (it didn’t take me long to realize this) that marriage does not afford you the opportunity to just have bad days or remain in a bad mood without some kind of cost.
Now certainly, you can have a bad day and remain in a funk. You’re grown, and you can do whatever you want. But your funk impacts everything and everyone in your day. The moment you’re upset, you begin to misinterpret everything and everyone’s actions, choice of words, and general behavior. The fact that your husband didn’t help you when you feel like you obviously looked like you needed help just frustrates you even more. Suddenly, people seem to drive even worse when you’re having a bad day, and they are frustratingly slow in the store when you’re trying to get your errands. Your child (or children) amazingly forgets everything you have ever told them when you’re having a bad day, and you just can’t seem to figure out what has happened to everyone. Why are they all acting like this?
When you’re a wife and mother, what do you do when you’re having a bad day or in a bad mood? Well, I can tell you what I have learned to do.
When I’m having a bad day or in a bad funk, I’ve learned to humble myself before God. I know that is not the normal response, but I have learned that it is the most effective response for bad days. You see, when I’m in a bad mood, I tend to exalt myself and put everyone else down for some reason or another. Once I have elevated myself in my own mind, I put myself out of reach of God’s grace, joy, and peace…because I’m too high to reach them anymore. So by humbling myself, I lower myself in my eyes and thoughts. I realize that I have massive faults; the primary fault not being able to deal with a less than perfect day and attitude quickly in a way that pleases God. By humbling myself I also realize that I am still in need of God’s grace, mercy, joy, peace, and righteousness because deep inside I know that I like the selfishness of a bad day. I like having an effect on those around me, and I like having my way when I’m in a bad mood. Humility is truthful and deeply honest, and humility exposes my sinfulness and my continuous need of God. Humility puts me in a place where I can receive God’s grace, mercy, joy, peace, and righteousness quickly. But it all takes humility.
So what happens when I do humble myself while having a bad day? Well, I don’t “magically” feel 100% better, and the people annoying me don’t automatically stop. But what does happen is that my mindset begins to change. I become much more aware of myself and how I’m affecting others. I stop looking for other people to change their behavior, and I begin to change my own behavior, thoughts, and attitude about others. I begin to press onward to Christ. I lay hold of the rich treasures He has laid up for me, the treasures of grace, mercy, joy, peace, and righteousness. I realize that my bad day is not the end of the world, and I can still have a wonderful day in Christ regardless of my circumstances.
And that is the big point: You can still have a wonderful day in Christ, regardless of your circumstances. By humbling yourself and laying hold of Christ, you realize that life is full of circumstances, but your circumstances should never affect your joy and peace in Him. In fact, your circumstances should never take you away from Christ, but only bring you closer to Him. But it takes some intentional humility to see that and have that all work out in your life.
So do I still mess up and linger in my bad mood longer than I need to? Yes, that does happen. But I’m growing in Christ, being made aware of my faults more and more quickly, and learning how necessary humility is to a peaceful and joyful heart, home, marriage, and motherhood. Trust me, it is not worth holding on to your selfishness and sour mood just to “make a point” or “get your point across”. By learning to humble myself (even when I think that I’m in the right), I am blessed with a peaceful heart and spirit, and this helps me to get over offenses much more easily and remain open to others, especially my husband and daughter. My prayer is that I grow in humility to the point that one day I will no longer be offended by anything that goes on in my life and that I no longer respond to bad circumstances with a bad mood or by having a bad day.