5-Step Plan for Taking Back Your Rotten Day

turn-around-rotten-day-arrowIt’s alarming how fast my attitude can turn south. With the right mix of conditions, it does a U-turn in about 1.2 seconds — often with little-to-no warning.

I became keenly aware of this phenomenon yesterday with the second of our boys returning to college after Christmas break.

Runaway Emotions

I mostly felt okay: a bit sad but not overly so. Then the evening blew steadily out of my control (as if I normally have control), and my frustrations peaked with another “not-what-I-want-to-deal-with” situation.

The day became a bit inconvenient, and with it my mood. Just that fast!

Circumstances do that. They have a way of tying up our emotions. And if we’re not careful, they’ll tie us up real tight and hold us hostage.

But we don’t have to be a puppet in the hands of happenings. In fact, as Christians, we shouldn’t be.

We don't have to be a puppet in the hands of happenings. In fact, as Christians, we shouldn't be. A 5-step plan. Click To Tweet

God did not intend for us to live at the whim of our emotions. He charged us with rising above our mood.  That’s where the Holy Spirit can help. 

“walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 ESV

Instead of riding the waves of the day’s winds, we can tap into His power. After all, all good things begin and end with Him.

Instead of riding the waves of the day's winds, we can tap into God's power. Good things begin & end with Him. Click To Tweet

But it does require some intentionality on our part. Thus, the plan for a rotten day.

5 Step Plan for Taking Back Your Rotten Day

(Click to download)

A Plan for Your Rotten Day

  1. Far before your mood takes a southward turn, fill your heart and mind with the life-giving and life-sustaining words of Scripture … daily!
  2. Enlist God’s help. Ask Him. God offers the grace of salvation, but He loves us so much He provides even more: He offers grace to live this life well.
  3. Study your triggers. What sets you off? Be prepared to counter these. 
  4. Create a plan for reining in those out-of-control emotions. 
  5. End with thanksgiving for the blessings of the day.

God loves us so much He provides even more than the grace of salvation; He offers grace to live this life well. Click To Tweet

The other night, the one where my son’s leaving sent my emotions reeling unexpectedly, I implemented my plan, just before my ‘tude was ready to erupt (okay maybe a little had already spewed out).

Here’s what it looked like. I 

  • asked God to intervene in helping me corral my emotions. Inviting Him near brings me the security of knowing who I am and Whose I am.
  • turned off my computer. The stress of the online world (yes, even in surfing there is stress) can sabotage the best plan.
  • lit candles (lots of them). The light from the candles reminds me of the hope I always have in the Lord.
  • put on quiet music to settle my heart and mind.
  • spent a few minutes in Scripture, grounding myself with the truth and love of God.
  • took time to finish reading a lovely Christmas devotional by Liz Curtis Higgs, The Women of Christmas. (Click the link to get your own copy.)
  • thanked God for my family and the blessings surrounding them. What a perfect way to end a day and reframe negative thoughts! 

All this took a bit more than a half hour. By the time I finished, I had a recalibrated mood and a day that ended well.

Glorify the Lord

My friends, emotions will try to rule our days. If we let them, Satan wins.

But with the help of the Holy Spirit and a bit of planning on our part, we can end each day well, glorifying the Lord in all we face.

Emotions will try to rule our lives. If we let them, Satan wins. Click To Tweet

With the help of the Holy Spirit and some planning, we can end each day well, glorifying the Lord in all we face. Click To Tweet

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

Reflections: Sometimes I need a few reminders to rein in my emotions. How about you? What do you employ to help flip your ‘tude upside-right? How about when you have little time and must recalibrate on the fly?

More than 4 years of counting and I’ve surpassed 4,500 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! Here are numbers #4,642–4,662. Read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Incredible beauty of fog settling on the trees; Day spent with Danny; Overnight with sister-in-law and brother-in-law
  • Good health report for Danny; HuHots for lunch; Stopping to tour a majestic early 1900s church on our way home
  • Crackling of a fire getting started; Sibling love of my kids; Big and little moments with my oldest the day before leaves for an out-of-state wedding and then back to college for his last semester: where did the years go!?
  • Some hard gifts for this mama as I begin saying good-bye again: Daniel’s safe arrival for his roomie’s wedding; Still enough of us around to play 4-person games; Delightful personality of my girl: her mischievous laugh is a riot
  • Early-morning Bible reading wrapped up in my shawl and a soft blanket; Situations that are knocking me to my knees; Walk through the fog with Zachary
  • Long overdue closet cleaning in Rachel’s room!; Christmas decorations packed away; A daily dedicated family mealtime–love connecting with those closest to me
  • My guys’ willingness to serve in our church; A furnace that works and a woodstove backup: frigid weather has hit!; Divine patience as I dealt with a difficult Rachel

*(Affliliate link included in this post.)

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

5 comments on “5-Step Plan for Taking Back Your Rotten Day
  1. Linda Fitzpatrick McClellan says:

    I have the hardest time sitting down the first thing in my day and spending time with the Lord in prayer and reading my Bible. Seems like something always comes up and it gets put off until much later and sometimes doesn’t happen at all, I do say prayers for things that come up throughout the day but that’s not what I want to do. I want to sit down in a quiet room by myself and spend an hour, just me and God. I’ve been trying to make this a habit for a long time. I know I need to spend less time on the computer but then most of the things I do are reading my blogs which are all Christian and I wonder does that count? Hope you have a blessed week~Linda

    • Julie Sunne says:

      I’m doing much better with my morning time with God, Linda, but I can relate. I now get up about 30 minutes before everyone else to fit it in. On those occasions when my morning is interrupted, it is hard for me to set aside that time later. My time with the Lord continues to be a work in progress. Of course devotions and Christian reading are good things, but nothing can replace time in the Word and prayer. Ask Him to reveal the time slot He wants you to set aside. He is faithful to meet you there. Blessings!

  2. Kristine Brown MTY says:

    Wow, Julie! 4662 – awesome! Yes, I think your number 5 is like the ‘icing on the cake’ for me. Thanking our wonderful God for all the things He has done for me is the only way I can fully get my attitude back in check:) Thank you for these great steps! I will definitely be putting these to action the next time my ‘tude gets out of whack. Blessings!

  3. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) says:

    Julie: This morning, I received some unsettling news. I called some close friends to ask for prayer. One of them and I got to talking. We decided that there are very few things over which we have control–not the weather, not what someone thinks of us, not what will happen to us during each- it’s all in the Lord’s hands. When we remember that, we have come a long way in living for Him.

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