Three Steps to a Better Day (the A.R.T.)

With freezing fingers and toes and a burning anger, I glared at the little device in my hand. It had failed me again! All sanity quickly fled and I relabeled a good day “bad” in a nanosecond.

And this over a relatively simple incident—one that involved an evil (in my opinion) Palm Pilot (PP). 

We’ve all had those days if we’re honest. A day where one relatively minor negative incident is drowning out all the positives.beauty_in_the_cold


Why is it so easy to focus on the negative?

I’m thinking, it’s human nature. In other words, we like to grumble. Yet listen to the Apostle Paul’s warning against that: “And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel” (1 Corinthian 10:10).

Yikes, those are harsh words!

Now, I don’t believe expressing disappointment about something once in a while is what Paul is talking about here. But letting a seed of malcontent root in your heart leads to thanklessness.

That’s what needs to be guarded against. Living a thankless life. 

Letting a seed of malcontent root in your heart leads to thanklessness. We need to guard against this. Click To Tweet

After being freed from Egyptian bondage, the Israelites wrote the book on malcontent. A book each generation seems to be diligently studying with increasing fervor. 

Yet there are other books out there written about redeeming a day gone bad (or really, our minds, when we think a day has gone bad). We’d do well to study those books with even more ardor.  

Since I have no desire to end up being “killed by a destroying angel,” and since it’s just no fun to be disgruntled all day, I set out that day to rethink my “stinkin’ thinkin'” about the PP incident.

The plan I developed seems to help with all kinds of discontent. So here are the ideas I implemented in case you would like to give it a try. 

A Better Day

How do you redeem a day? 

  1. Acknowledge it. Admit it’s not going well. Out loud.
    • This seems silly, but by voicing your frustration, you validate that there is something bugging you–and that’s okay.
    • Plus, if you admit it loud enough, it releases tension (my case with the PP).
  2. Regain perspective.
    • Ask yourself, What’s the worst thing that will happen from this incident? (With the PP issue, I lost some work time, a new PP might be warranted, and another person may have been needed to get the data for me–not earth-shattering consequences).
  3. Take action to redirect your thinking. 
    • Pray–call on God for mind transformation and renewal (after all, that is in His job description).
    • Take deep cleansing breaths. Breathe in God. Breathe out grace.
    • Begin a list of the days positives. This is always a great way to redirect stinkin’ thinkin’ to something more sweet smelling.
    • Listen to music. It is rare indeed when music doesn’t lift my spirits. (I forgot all about the PP after listening to a little David Phelps, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Casting Crowns.)
    • Exercise. Okay, it’s hard. And not always fun. But it sure does take a mind off of a day’s troubles. And it’s healthy too!
    • Get alone or with someone who can help you redirect. This sounds contradictory, but it really is about what helps you the most. Do you have someone in your life that talks truth to you? Or do you do that better after processing the issue by yourself? 

There’s no reason to hide our bad days. We know they will come. Everyone has them. 

But don’t let minor problems blind you to the glorious gift of each day.

Don't let minor problems blind you to the glorious gift of each day. Click To Tweet

Just like good days can turn bad, the opposite can be true as well. You can have a better day. It just takes a little more intentional thought.

So incorporate a little A.R.T. in your life: Acknowledge the issue, Regain perspective, and Take action to redirect your thinking.

And by the power of the Holy Spirit, redeem today for the good side. 

“I cry aloud to the Lord; I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; I reveal my trouble to Him. Although my spirit is weak within me, You know my way.”  (Psalm 142:1-3)

Reflection: What is one of the silliest things you let ruin a day? In hindsight, what could/should you have done to redeem the day? 

Linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience in 2013 with my Joy Dare list for Multitude Mondays (#2292–2312, read the entire list by clicking here):

  • Zachary is an Eagle Scout!; Growth that occurs in the difficulties; A loving, forgiving hubby
  • Being among young people as I chaperoned high school honor band; Teens discussing prayer & their faith; My kids’ school
  • Bathroom heater that works!; Traditional colors of Thanksgiving (gorgeous brown,orange,& red hues); Great school report
  • Coolness of the air on my face while bundled warm otherwise; Making the better choice; Inspired to simplify “Christ”mas
  • Getting my office area cleaned–say fire anyone?; Early morning snow; Serving on district Spec Ed Transition Advisory Bd
  • Created and sent out my first reader survey; Playing football with my boys in freezing temps–so grateful to be able to do this (despite the cold); Tonic Sol-Fa Christmas concert–fun!
  • Sun and moon both visible at same time–Rach gets excited about a daytime moon; Warm, soft bedding; Clean office area!–long time coming

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.

2 comments on “Three Steps to a Better Day (the A.R.T.)
  1. I finally had a minute to read your post. Great tips Julie. I’m glad I didn’t miss this one after the week I’ve had! (lol) Happy Thanksgiving beautiful lady!

    • Julie Sunne says:

      I’m sorry you had a rough week, Marisa! I hope you found some encouraging here. It’s amazing what a big difference a little change can make in our attitude. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Marisa.

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