The funny thing is, outwardly my day was pretty good. I had an encouraging call from an employer who was happy with my work and I got a jewelry order. But it only takes one bad message to tune out a dozen positive ones. And the irony that these defeated feelings came after my thoughts on rulers and servants was not lost on me. God is good at creating and making the most of "teachable moments."And he does tend to send encouragement in our discouraged moments if we have eyes to see it.
We all have our little coping mechanisms on bad days. A good book. A long nap. A bubble bath. Warm milk. Chocolate cake. Going for a run. A glass of wine. A phone call with a friend. Journaling. Retail therapy. All of the above.
Those things can be helpful in a small way. But I find that the only way I can turn off all the negative self-talk is by replacing those false messages with true ones. Who am I? Not failure, not rejected, not defeated. I am Beloved by God, Child of the King, Victorious in Christ. Capable and gifted because that's how God has made each one of us. My standing before God is the sure, true, eternal thing, and all these other things are temporary at best and lies at worst. Some days it takes a long time of repeating to myself (in my head, lest people begin to question my sanity) these messages before I believe them.
Or, better yet, I need to let God say these true messages to me in his Word:
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zeph. 3:17)
My bad day got me thinking: how will my kids learn to deal with these kinds of days? I'm not sure I tell them when I feel defeated or what I'm doing to pull myself out of it, because I don't want them hearing and picking up on negative self-talk. And I'm not sure I notice when they are having these kinds of days because they may not even recognize it and they may not verbalize it even if they do (it may show up as obstinance or inexplicable grumpiness).
So my bad day yesterday was a good reminder to help my kids acknowledge their bad feelings and learn how to deal with them in a healthy way. It's not enough to just give them the true messages of who they are in Christ--although of course that's crucial. I also need to let them see that mom sometimes feels like a failure, but that I know Whom to go to first when I need a pick-me-up. Not friends, not self-help books, not distractions, but God. The one who saves me, rejoices over me, and quiets me with his love. The one who sings for me.
When my kids have bad days that make them feel defeated, I need to be a conduit of Christ's healing love to them. Not offering the world's messages of self-esteem or even my own feeble expressions of love, but offering Christ's love and grace. Telling them that God made them wonderful, that he has a purpose for them, that he is helping them grow. Telling them that I love them and cheer for them. Reminding them of past successes and then maybe offering some of those simpler coping mechanisms that will make them feel better. A bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream perhaps. But it has to start with God's love for them, because that's the only true comfort on a day of defeat. The best part is, you can always count on him to sing a beautiful lullaby over you.