7 ways to protect yourself from a bad day

Ruthie Rearing 11 Comments

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“On a good day, enjoy yourself;

On a bad day, examine your conscience.

God arranges for both kinds of days

So that we won’t take anything for granted.”  ~Ecclesiastes 7:14


Did you have a bad day last week?  How about yesterday?  Do Mondays always live up to their reputation?

Guess what.

You determine some of that.

Yes, there are truly bad days; life altering situations and catastrophes that are  just plain terrible.  The verse says that God arranges both good days and bad days.


Did you know that you can regulate the dynamics of even the bad days?


“On a bad day, examine your conscience.”


Sneaky snake goes dancing, wiggling and a-hissin’

There’s an ancient old song by Tom T. Hall called Sneaky Snake.  Boys and girls, if you’re not careful when you’re near the lake, he’ll sneak up and drink all your root beer.

The enemy is a lot like that old sneaky snake.  In fact, he’s just like him.

He seeks a toe hold on your day.  If he can just sneak up there on the bank while you’re not looking and drink your root beer – aka mess up your plans for:


a night out with just the husband (no kids)

a night in where the husband comes home on time

an office presentation for which your comrades didn’t come through on their end

a day to accomplish much-needed tasks gone awry

dinner gone wrong (as in burnt)

______________ {insert bad day problem here}

(mine would be my web site shutting down randomly)


Then you could choose to do one of two things.

  1. You can blow up
  2. You can handle the situation with grace
It's not a magic formula, but it does change your perspective if you spend time in awe of your Maker before tackling the day. Click To Tweet

As in:  the dominoes fall in the direction you push them.


The Ripple Effect

You know the scene.  You fix dinner, sit the kids down, enter the hubs, and everyone’s a voracious weir wolf.

The baby screams.  He doesn’t want to eat with a spoon, he wants a fork. (True story at Gigi’s house, btw.)

The kids are bickering because the boy has his chair too close to the girl.  He’s in her bubble and she’s pushing.  He’s enjoying her discomfort.

Someone complains about the macaroni and cheese.

Kid number 3 spills his milk.

You’re so hungry you could eat the kids.


How you react is what will determine the course of the rest of the dinner.


Does it sound like I’ve been sneaking over and looking in the windows of your house during dinner time? (To steal your root beer?)

Oh girl.  I’ve lived that nightmare.  Too many times to venture a guess.

And I failed probably more times than I succeeded at setting things aright.

I want to share with you 7 ways to protect yourself from getting to the boiling point.


What you didn’t expect from the 10 commandments

There’s one caveat before I share the seven.

Do you know what the first two commandments are?  They’re the foundation for all ten, because without them, you may as well pitch the whole thing.


“You shall have no other gods before me.”  Exodus 20:3

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image…”  Exodus 20:4


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“Idol:  a good thing (or person) who is given too great a position or priority…placing one’s identity, meaning, value and security in anything (or person) rather than God.”





Here lie four indicators that there are little gods usurping God’s place.

  1. Nightmares (things we fear)
  2. Daydreams (things we wish)
  3. Frustrations (things we obsess over on a daily basis)
  4. Uncontrollable Emotions  (BINGO)

That last one hit me smack upside the head. (And yes, I’m from the somewhat south.)


“Awareness should lead to repentance. Repentance should lead to replacement of the ultimate thing – GOD’S GLORY”


I know what you’re thinking.  “How in the world could an out-of-control emotion (such as rage or frustration) be a god?  I don’t WANT to do those things, I just can’t control them!”

Not necessarily a god, but an indicator of a god.  Maybe it’s pride.  Maybe it’s a learned pattern from your childhood.


When you let an emotion control you, that is an indication of an idol.


Yes, it’s difficult.  But is it glorifying to the Father when you “lose it”?

Anything worth conquering (such as a bad attitude) is going to take effort.

But with God, ALL things are possible.

And yes, He DOES have all power, and yes, He DOES want you to practice a spirit controlled temperament.


“One has a god when a finite value is worshipped and adored and viewed as that without which one cannot receive life joyfully.”  ~Thomas C. Oden


Even though you say you want to control that emotion, if you aren’t willing to control it with God’s help because “you can’t”, you are still holding onto that emotional idol.

You need the keys to get rid of it.  It does not help you capture the joy of parenting.

Are you willing?


The secret seven

1)  Beat the family up.

Ok, not literally.  Get up in the morning before them.  I know, I KNOW – it won’t always work.  Best laid plans and you hit the coffee maker, settled in your comfie chair with your snuggie and your Bible and here comes a kid wanting to “snuggle with you, mommy – WHY are you up?”

Keep trying.  That’s all I can tell you.

It's not a magic formula, but it does change your perspective if you spend time in awe of your Maker before tackling the day. Click To Tweet

Stand before Him in awe, have a time of prayer in praise and worship, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you through His Word.

If you absolutely can NOT get up in the morning, do this during nap time or at night.  Or even catch snippets here and there with your Bible open on your kitchen counter.  Just determine to make it work, even though it’s not “perfect” according to your standards.

Anything is better than nothing!

*Note:  if you are a mama of a newborn, or work outside the home, or have extreme circumstances (like 10 kids), you will have to get creative.  Use the quiet time while nursing to pray.  Have your Bible open near your normal breastfeeding station.  Post a 3×5 of Scripture on the wall near the rocking chair.  Or, do all this during bathroom breaks (might want to keep some earplugs in your stash, too).


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2)  Post a notecard with a written verse on your kitchen window

Maybe the verse above in Ecclesiastes.  Choose a verse about God’s power and how it is at our disposal when we ask according to His will – and I’m pretty sure His will is for you to have self- control over your emotions.  I’m going to list some at the end of this post if you need ideas.


3)  Send up a quick prayer

Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.  God is as close to you as your skin – even closer.


Acknowledge Him, even if it is in just a split second.


4)  Send out a quick text

*You may not have time for this – such as in the dinner table scenario.  But if you do, shoot it to a trusted friend who will drop everything to pray for you right then!  (Have your artillery ready – might want to put those friends on speed dial.)


5)  Step back and count to 10

(Or maybe even 50.)

Yes, really.  I know what you’re thinking.  “If I do that, I’ll lose momentum and control of the kids.  They need to see how serious I am about their ill behavior.”

No.  They don’t need to see it that way.  Not with anger.  Trust me.

I wish I’d taken this advice more.


6)  Have a visual reminder in your brain.

Remember how badly you felt the last time you blew up

Recall the verse on the 3×5

Or determine another sort of picture to have ready to recall (or possibly draw one)

Do this while counting to 10.


7)  Make yourself accountable to another mom/friend

I have a couple of friends who chat at the end of each week to see who lost their cool and who kept it under the lid.  This is a great idea.

Accountability is key for success in overcoming any undesirable trait. Click To Tweet


This is not a magic formula.  But it will help if you truly desire to have a better attitude.

And consider this verse in Ecclesiastes 8:1:

“There’s nothing better than being wise, knowing how to interpret the meaning of life. 

Wisdom puts light in the eyes, and gives gentleness to words and manners.


The more you implement these steps, the more often you will gain control over your attitude and

…your days will be better.

And here’s some more artillery for your bad day defense.  Better get those post-it notes and 3×5 cards ready!


“Now to Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.” ~ Jude1:25


“Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.” ~Ephesians 3:20-21


“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all-sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” ~2 Corinthians 9:8


So how about it, girlfriend?  Do you have a certain method for gaining the upper hand over your bad day?  I’d love to hear!  Share in the comments below, or contact me here.


{If you have been encouraged by this blog, would you let me know?  Comment, shoot me an email, or even better – sign up for email at the right of the page!  Oh boy, would I be encouraged by that!!! I just need to know you’re out there and that you’re reading every once in a while.  Thanks, friend!}


*Special thanks to Dr. Larry Halsey, for his wisdom on the four idol indicators.


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Comments 11

  1. Oh, yes… remember those days when the boys were young. Miss those days now, how about you? Still so true for us Mimis and Gigis. Blessings on your day, Ruthie!

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      Ah yes, I remember those days so so well, Janice! Miss them I do. So much. But yes, even as Mimis and Gigis we can apply this. Anyone can apply this, because everyone has bad days. I needed it probably more than anyone lol this dumb website keeps going down on me. ACK!!

  2. The enemy does have a way of sneaking in. I love your list…#4 is one I use a lot. I have a group of friends who I call my prayer warrior friends. We have often prayed with and for each other. It is such a gift!

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      Tara, I’m so glad your grandmother is doing better! Prayer warrior friends make ALL the difference, don’t they? Just knowing they are pulling for you and remembering you before the throne helps you get just a little bit farther. Thanks for your kind words, heading over to read yours in a bit!:)

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  3. Oh, wow, you’ve majorly stepped on my toes here. Out of control emotions are indicators of little gods???
    Hoo boy, that one smacked me in the face. More prayer time needed. Thanks for calling me out, there, Ruthie.
    Here from Tuesday TAlk.

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      Haha! Well it smacked me in the face too so don’t feel too bad. It’s hard dealing with emotions but the realization that they are stemming from little gods is really the first step. Unearthing that “little god” can be a life changer! I pray you can follow through and get to the bottom of it! 🙂

  4. Once again, good, challenging encouragement, Ruthie. You had me laughing out loud at being hungry enough to eat the kids – yup, been there! How about having to go pee so badly you’re running around in circles unable to figure out why you can’t stand still? I’m going to have to think through the emotions out of control indicating idols. That’s right on, so what are mine indicating?

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      That message about the law really hit home with me and I questioned my pastor at length on it. I think it really speaks to what we settle for in our lives because “it’s too hard” to change. Is it? Or are we preventing God to do His work in us? Food for thought!

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