So, imagine you have just found a big dent in your car that wasn’t there when you went into the store. You have a ticket on that same car for parking in a No Parking zone and you are certain they put that sign there while you were in that store. Then when you get home from that store and began hauling groceries inside, the bags ripped and your jar of pickles shattered on the garage floor along with the dozen eggs you needed for a recipe that night for dinner.
Hello and welcome back to the table! Pull up a chair, grab your coffee or tea and let’s talk about this bad day you’ve had. Let’s pray together first huh?
Father in Heaven, we come before You and ask that You open our hearts and minds to hear these words. May we be renewed and refreshed by this message. In Jesus name, Amen.
Okay, so you must be feeling pretty low after a day like that right? You might ask the question “could it get any worse?” and you might go to your spouse or a friend to vent your frustrations. I’ve certainly done that after a rough day.
You may hear anything from “I’m sorry you had such a rotten day” to “well at least it’s over now” to “Let me tell ya about my day”. But honestly, I feel like the most dismissive and overlooking statement someone can offer is “You know, someone always has it worse than you.
Though this may be a true statement, it can feel like we are being a… well… cry-baby of sorts when we have a terrible day. Everyone goes through these kinds of days and it’s important to validate our feelings about it. If we don’t, it can begin to feel like God only cares about the really big problems in life and doesn’t have time to hear about our floor style scrambled eggs with relish. He does in fact care about those things.
It may seem like the helpful reminder to someone that things could be worse, but where does that line get drawn for validation? When we have such days, that is our hard time moment in life. We can only sort out or deal with one day at a time so there isn’t any point in reflecting on another day that could be worse.
Do you remember the scene in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation where the Christmas tree burns up, the family is at each other’s throat, there is an unwanted dog trashing the place after chasing a squirrel up and down the stairs? The family is putting on their coats and preparing to leave the craziness per the suggestion of the wife. She told him it was best for everyone to go home before things get any worse. Clark Griswold is shocked at his wife’s response and shouts “how could things get any worse?”
It seems rather unusual to me to console someone with the idea that it could be worse. I feel validation for the way they are presently feeling displays compassion and caring for their feelings. After all, God cares about their feelings.
It’s important to hear the thoughts and emotions of someone struggling with something and give validity to how they feel. We don’t need to let them stay in a pit of despair or anything but just letting a person know that you hear them and empathize with them without the declaration that things could be worse. It’s okay to feel bad after a bad day and not be seen as someone who doesn’t know how good they have it. We can still know we are blessed in the midst of a rotten day.
I think the best thing someone could say to me while I’m having “A day” is something like:
“I hear you. I’m so sorry you are having such a time right now. It’s difficult to be happy right now and it’s okay to not be. You have good reason to be frustrated. I know you know God has your back in all this but right now I understand you are feeling down.”
Something like this let’s a person know they don’t have to add salt in the wound by having a lousy day and now should feel guilty for feeling frustrated or unhappy.
Psalm 40:17 “As for me, I am poor and needy but the Lord takes thought for me, you are my help and my deliverer do not delay, oh my God.” (ESV)”
We see in this verse that God thinks about us, takes notice of us, looks after us. It doesn’t say He does this only in the big circumstances.
Make no mistake that God sees every dent, every ticket and every broken egg and pickle jar. He is attentive and compassionate in all our situations, even the ones we feel guilty for fretting over.
If God validates our feelings and we are made in His image, then we can validate others feelings too. We can also ditch the guilt about our own feelings about our feelings. Validate how you feel, sort out the why’s behind them and let God begin to wipe away the angst. It’s not wrong to feel bad over a bad day.
I hope these words help someone to let go of the concept that we should always remember that someone else has it worse than us. Allow the feelings for a time and know that God cares about your feelings too. Be blessed my friends and I’ll see ya next week!