Have you ever gotten to the end of a day and thought “this was a horrible day?” I’ve done that more times than I care to admit. Living here somewhere between Eden and Heaven bad things are going to happen. We will have days that seem horrible and are filled with horrible things. What if there was a way to never have a completely horrible day again? By now you may be rolling your eyes; I was mentally rolling my eyes when someone taught me this. I’m not saying you can avoid a day filled with bad things, what I’m talking about is a change in perspective. It’s my personal belief that there is no such thing as a completely horrible day.
I don’t really remember the topic of the day, but a conversation with my counselor is what started this journey of making it my mission to never have a completely horrible again. I had been in a time where I was extremely depressed. Days stretched on, one blending into another, and it seemed like an endless string of horrible days. My head knew Jesus was always with me, but my heart just wasn’t getting it. I’ll paraphrase her some. My counselor told me when I got to the end of the day and found myself thinking how the day was completely horrible, she wanted me to do one thing. She told me to find just one thing that wasn’t horrible about the day. That didn’t seem so hard, but it didn’t seem that life changing or even interesting. What did seem interesting was the giant Mr. Potato Head at the end of the table. (Was he really just for kids?) He seemed much more fun than the current conversation. She asked me to tell her one thing that wasn’t horrible about that current day. She said say anything, even something small. I don’t remember my answer, but I’m guessing it had to do with either coffee, chocolate, penguins, sports, or one of my cats. I still wasn’t fully grasping the point. I’m pretty sure Mr. Potato Head wasn’t impressed either.
Then she spelled it out for me. Finding that one positive thing meant that even if there were ninety-nine bad things, there was still one good thing that happened that day. That made sense in theory, but I was skeptical of how it would actually make a difference. Mr. Potato Head seemed interested though, I mean he had his eyes wide opened and never blinked, so I agreed to try it every day for a week. I was also suddenly hungry for French fries and potato chips.
For the next week I had to intentionally find something good every single day. Mentally, I wasn’t in a good place and I admit it I did this grudgingly at first. At night I was thinking “stupid assignment” as I tried to come up with my one thing to write down. Then, it became easier. I found myself smiling before I fell asleep. I began to add more than one thing to each day because I was seeing things in a different light. The list wasn’t anything profound, but that was the point.
The next week I went to my counseling appointment with mixed emotions. The assignment did work. My perspective was changing, but that meant I’d have to admit that my counselor was right. I’d rather enjoy life than be right, so I swallowed my pride and went in with my list of good things. Mr. Potato head was there with eyes wide open. He was going to enjoy watching me admit this assignment worked. I’m pretty sure his smile was more of a smirk.
Did this one little exercise suddenly rid me of extreme depression? No, but it did make each day a little bit better. That’s the key to conquering anything. One small step at a time is all it takes to make great strides.
James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV) Looking for those good things in each day helped me shift my focus and realize that even in horrible situations, Jesus really was right there with me in every moment.
I still put this into practice many years after that session. What’s my good thing for today? I liked the rainy weather this morning. The sound of rain is soothing to me, and the smell of rain takes me to a happy place of days curled up with a good book and a favorite soft blanket.
So, I’d like to leave you with a challenge this week. At the end of the day, no matter if you feel like you had a great day or a horrible day, write down one good thing that happened. Remember it can be anything; it doesn’t have to be something huge. Take it from someone who did this grudgingly at first, it works. If you don’t believe me, you can always ask Mr. Potato head.
Please leave a comment. I’d love to connect with you. Tell me where you’re finding Jesus today or where you’re struggling to find Him.