So this is the day the Lord made and I should be happy about it? Huh. Seems like that’s asking a lot.
Am I the only one who’s found this bit of the Bible to be a difficult one? I know it’s supposed to be uplifting, but it’s a big ask, if you ask me. Afterall, it doesn’t say, the Lord made the days you feel good and everything is going your way and all the other ones are something else.
As much as that makes sense to me, that’s not what it says. It says “this”. This specific day, which would include every day of your life – the worst days, the boring days, the anxious and un-ending days. And we’re encouraged to rejoice and be glad in all of them.
How does one do that, exactly?
In my daily life, I tend to face my responsibilities as if I’m the only one who can carry them and struggle under their weight. So, I have to ask, even these heavy days are the days the Lord has made? And you want me to be glad and rejoice in it, God? Well, I’ll put it on my to-do list and we’ll see if I get to it…
This is what I suspect many of us would say privately, right? However, this isn’t what we say for the most part. Our world demands for us to believe in all the right things and say them in the right way, ideally with the perfect image, fonts and color schemes expertly designed for our social media feeds.
Our actual truths may be very different from our aspirational posts. We harbor hidden things we may only know in the visceral feeling of our bodies – the pits of anxiety in our stomachs, the clench of burden in our shoulders. These are things that don’t fit into our curated worlds of friendly conversation and careful social media. These dark things become our private suffering. They do not fit our own ideas of how life is supposed to be, so we shove these truths away. Not so that we manage our difficulties better, but so that we appear to everyone and perhaps even ourselves that we are fine. And maybe we can actually convince someone out there that we are really rejoicing this this day.
Honestly, how often is it true that we rejoice and are glad in this day, or any day? How do we get closer to living this teaching of gratitude, regardless of our circumstances?
As I considered this question, it occurred to me that someone far wiser than I am said these words to begin with. What is it that they knew that I do not? Is it possible that there’s really nothing wrong with this stupid day and might it be worthy of celebrating, if we weren’t so busy keeping our pain private, hidden, and unmanageable?
We have never been called us to be perfect or to be unbroken. God never said, Thou Shalt Look and Be Awesome In All Things. We have been asked to be glad and rejoicing.
So, perhaps the questions to ask ourselves might be:
- Can I relax my assumption that my problems are so very serious or hard?
- Can I consider that the things I am demanding of the world by not be necessary?
- What happens if I let go of my need to be seen a certain way or have certain outcomes?
- Can I open myself to not knowing what’s next?
- Can I allow help to come from unexpected places?
- Can I simply face what is here and present in this moment without planning how to control the next moment?
- And maybe most importantly, can I give my internal storyteller a break? The one who tells me I’m lost, when I’m only wandering and the one that tells me I’m adrift, when I’m just at sea. The one that doubts the value of guessing and tells me I need to be anywhere but here. That one. Maybe she can relax a little, too.
But I’m not lost, I’m only wandering
I’m not adrift, I’m just at sea
I’m not sure, I’m only guessing
This is right where I need to be
– Chorus of That’s the Way These Things Go by Carrie Newcomer