Some days we feel like the universe is conspiring against us
A couple of Mondays ago I didn’t have a great start to the day. I hadn’t slept well and so I woke up grumpy and a bit late. I rushed to get ready for work and then ran to get to the bus stop in time. I made it by the skin of my teeth but then realized that I’d forgotten my bus ticket in my other handbag.
I mentally kicked myself in the shins as I watched the bus drive off without me in it and then began a quick-paced walk back to our apartment to get my ticket. I ran up the three flights of stairs to get to our door, dashed to the bedroom, wrenched the ticket out of the other handbag and fled out the house again in an attempt to I be in time for the next bus so that I could make it to the train station in time to catch the next train to work.
I did catch that train but it was overcrowded and loud and didn’t make for a peaceful journey. Two hours later, I walked into the office, feeling like I had run a marathon before the working day had even begun. Some days are like that. They unravel like a string of dominoes as a dozen little things just don’t go our way. On those days, I find that I have a choice to make. I can either choose to let those little things get to me, or I can shake them off and focus on the things that I know give my life meaning.
Focusing on the things that give our lives meaning
On tough days we need to remember why we’re here and it’s because of that that I keep these three things in an easy to access file in my mind. These truths help me to refocus and to get things in perspective.
1. You’re here to love.
“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if I miss my bus. The fact that my work commute doesn’t go to plan on a Monday morning doesn’t give me an excuse to snap at my husband or to be impatient with a colleague. I’m here to love. That’s what points people to Jesus and so that’s what I need to do.
2. You’re here to do good works.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
The universe isn’t conspiring against me. Things go wrong for everyone and I can’t allow a gang of mishaps to define the quality of my day. Our lives are meaningful because God has made us each unique, with a unique intersection of strengths and relationships and circumstances that enable us to do good things in our worlds. Instead of sticking the label of “bad” on the day, I need to learn to remind myself that I’m here to do good.
3. You’re here to be salt and light.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” Matthew 5:13-14 (The Message Bible)
I’m not here to get to the bus on time. It’s helpful if I do, but it shouldn’t rock me if I don’t. I’m here to make life look and taste better. I’m here to shine a light on the creativity of God. I’m here to speak with words that are lavishly seasoned with grace, not grumpiness. I’m here to point to the real star of the story, not to be the diva making demands and sulking when things don’t go my way.
What about you?
These three things from scripture really help me to zoom in on what’s important in life. What about you? What helps you to refocus when things aren’t going your way?