By Caryn Rivadeneira
Last week a friend told me how happy he was to hear that “kids today” were being taught the classics—that is, the Sunday School classics. He reported that while the kids frequently sang contemporary worship songs, the “classics” like “Trust and Obey,” and “This Is the Day” live on.
The rest of the day, I hummed or sang these songs. I was so happy to have them back in my head. I drove my kids nuts with my attempts to get them to “echo” my lines in “This Is the Day.” They wouldn’t, but I kept singing it anyway. It was a great day—and the perfect song for it.
But then the next day happened. I awoke with a killer headache and three whiney kids complaining about the “nothing” we had to eat. When “This Is The Day” tried to revive itself in my brain, I grumbled at it: Oh, shut up.
As the day went on—and included writers block, a meeting I didn’t have the energy to attend, and a snippy fight with my husband—the song kept sneaking up on me. Each time, I nipped it in the bud with nasty thoughts: I’ve got nothing to be glad in right now. Just shush.
But the song proved persistent, popping up again and again throughout the day. Finally, in the early evening as I sat out on the front porch watching my kids wheel their bikes up and down the driveway, I let it play out in my head.
This is the day (This is the day)
That the Lord has made (That the Lord has made)
We will rejoice (We will rejoice)
And be glad in it (And be glad in it)
These words come straight from the Psalms (118:24, to be exact). While the Psalms contain plenty of praise, much of them were written with a backdrop of horrifying hardship.
As I sat on my porch I wondered why on these icky days (that paled in comparison to the stuff of the Old Testament) it was so hard to rejoice and be glad. Of course, I should rejoice and be glad in any kind of day, I thought. For one—pure and simple—because God made it. And for two, because God uses bad days. And bad weeks. And bad months. And years. He uses them to teach us, to fold us into his arms, and to learn of his goodness. So that we can come out of bad situations assured of God’s faithfulness and singing his praises. Like the Psalmist.
While this is important for me to remember in all areas of my life—as a writer, a mom, a wife, a friend—it rings particularly true when I think of my life as a leader. Because let’s face it, we leaders have plenty of junky days—when hard decisions have to be made. When we face criticism. When the right thing looks wrong to others. When we feel alone or burned out. When we wish we could delete the very day we were in—or fast-forward to a better one.
And yet, each of these bad days is a day that the Lord has made. What would it look like if we learned to relish these hard times—to rejoice and actually be glad in them? Once I recognized that even a headachy, crabby, annoyance-filled day was made my God—and allowed myself to rejoice in it—my perspective changed. It’s funny how that happens.
Caryn Rivadeneira is the author of Mama’s Got a Fake I.D.: How to Reveal The Real You Behind All That Mom (WaterBrook Press, 2009). She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband and three kids. You can find her book here: http://www.amazon.com/Mamas-Got-Fake-I-D-Reveal/dp/1400074932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266868584&sr=8-1