When was your last bad day?
The kind of day when issues and complications and disappointments seemed to mount on top of each other as the hours pass. The kind of day when nothing is easy at work, nothing is peaceful at home, and nothing is joyful in your relationships. The kind of day when the weather outside matches your mood. The kind of day that you’re just ready to end, but at the same time, aren’t ready for it to end at all because tomorrow promises to hold more of the same.
That kind of bad day.
Surely you’ve had one recently. And if you were to track such things, surely you’ve had more of them in the last year than you might during another year. So do you have it? Do you remember that kind of day? Remember what it felt like?
Now go a step further, and consider this – How did you deal with your very bad day? Did you try and “treat” yourself out of it? Did you try and “talk” yourself out of it? Did you try and “fun” yourself out of it? How did you move from that very bad day into the next one?
There are obviously more healthy options than other to doing so. But in the midst of all those coping mechanisms, regardless of what they are, perhaps there’s an opportunity in there somewhere as well. A spiritual opportunity. Here’s what I mean:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
The command here is in regard to humility, but that’s a tricky venture isn’t it? It’s tricky because those who are truly humble do not necessarily recognize themselves to be. In fact, the moment you start to recognize your own humility then you have started to drift into an insidious kind of pride – you are proud of being humble.
It’s instructive, then, to remember that the command here is to “humble yourselves” rather than to “be humble.” It might be that I’m splitting hairs here, but the language seems to indicate that there are particular actions we can all take that are humbling in nature. So we can choose to do these things – to humble ourselves – and in so doing, to actually move toward a state of being humble.
That brings us to the subject of our very bad days. What in the world does that have to do with the idea of humility? It’s because your very bad day is an opportunity to pursue humility. For us to humble ourselves. Consider how humbling a very bad day is. On a very bad day:
- We are forced to admit that we didn’t know what was coming.
- We are forced to admit that we have difficulty with our emotions.
- We are forced to admit that we are, in most ways, victims of our circumstances.
- We are forced to admit that we need help.
Is this not the essence of humbling oneself? Is it not about admitting, without equivocation, that we are in need? Of course it is – and of course that’s why it’s so difficult and painful. Because those who are in need are those who are weak.
But this is also the opportunity before us on those very bad days. In the midst of trying to cope with all that has happened to you in a 24-hour time span, take those 24 hours as a reminder of your own frailty and need. Acknowledge it freely knowing that the Lord is gracious and merciful. Embrace the weakness that’s always there, which a very bad day brings to the forefront. Humble yourself, and trust the One before whom you are humbled:
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near the brokenhearted;
he saves those crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:17-18).
This post originally appeared at thinke.org.