These are the days of our lives… ha, sorry, I’ve always wanted to say that 😛
But seriously, the phrase is an interesting one – it’s the day to day that fashions us, that forms our character and our mindsets, our attitudes and our capacity to influence. So how do you cope with those kinds of days? You know, the ones that you look back on and struggle to find where the gold was?
Sometimes I fight those days and win. I come out on top, crashing into bed from the sheer effort of maintaining my ‘posture’ – my attitude, my character, my atmosphere shifting tongue – but full of a sense of satisfaction that I broke through whatever that wall happened to be on that day.
But there are days when I collapse into bed, still feeling the struggle, still fighting the archaic mindsets and feeling the fight trickle out from my weary mind and body. On these days, despite all my best efforts, the score doesn’t settle in my favour… or does it?
Is it possible, that despite the seemingly damaging blow to my equilibrium, that these ‘bad’ days are in fact a blessing in disguise? Is it, I dare say, a privilege to have the opportunity to push myself beyond what I am able to cope with… and fail?
Is it plausible that where I feel I am teetering between breaking through the wall and collapsing beside it, that in fact, these times of struggle, of defeat and failure (as we often view it, be it right or wrong), are part of my birthright to walk through?
Now stay with me. I’m not suggesting that we are to go looking for bad days, or that we allow defeat to rob us of all we have the right to experience in life. I am not suggesting that we live with a poverty mentality or that we get out the cloak of self-wounding false humility to wrap ourselves in.
No. What I am suggesting is that I’ve noticed that at times, for example, I have had to make decisions as a parent, that have caused an outcome that seems unfavourable to my children: where they have not gained the ground they wanted to – be it to acquire some new material possession or simply stay up another 1/2 hour . Or perhaps it’s been something more serious, such as navigating relationships as they forge their own paths through adolescence and make mistakes along the way, where I do not intervene to help them through but allow them to walk that path alone, despite their requests for me to step in.
Now, what if I put myself in the position of the child, and God in the position of the parent in a similar scenario as above?
How about we take the example of transitioning from being an amateur in my field, to stepping out and becoming a professional in my field? At some point, He’s not going to hold my hand every day, giving me little 2 minute pep talks every 10 minutes to keep me from flailing around like a headless chook 🙂 No. At some point, the hand holding becomes less regular and the voice of encouragement a little more quiet – not gone, just more restrained until really needed.
So, if this was my scenario, and I am having one of those ‘days of our lives’ days, how can I bring that day to a close and feel satisfied that I have had a decent bash at that brick wall, whether it falls down or not?
My conclusion so far, is that there is no such thing as a ‘days of our lives’ day that cannot be transformed in some way, to draw me into a deeper relationship with God and those around me, or that becomes a part of the solid foundations of my character, my mindset and my attitudes that strengthen me to hit that wall harder next time.
I do believe that despite how flat-line I might feel, or lack lustre my day may seem to be, I am in a privileged situation. Like those Choose Your Own Adventure stories that we read in primary school, there are always multiple choices that govern the next step in the journey. Which step I take will determine if I am building that good foundation of increased patience, maturity, wisdom, grace, and so on or if I am allowing that opportunity to become more of the best ‘me’ I can be, to slip though my fingers for another day.
So the question was: is it a privilege to have the opportunity to push myself beyond what I am able to cope with… and fail? My answer? Yes. It is a privilege. As I watch my children struggle through certain trials in their day to day, I choose, as a parent, to restrain, to hold back what I know I could easily give them. I do this because I love them. And I know that they are completely capable of breaking down that wall all by themselves. They need me to hold back. It is for their good. And when it’s needed, I give them everything I can to help. I don’t hold back.
So please be encouraged. If you are going through a day or even a season of ‘days of our lives’ days, know that there is alwasys something that you can take away from them, use that knew found knowledge or experience to build your foundations and know that the next time, you will be all the more stronger to deal with that challenge.