How to Put Your Faith in Front of Your Feelings

Why Your Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Bad Day Doesn’t Define Your Life

How do you deal with bad days? In the midst of those moments, it’s easy to feel like things will never get better. The emotion clouds our perspective

How to Put Your Faith in Front of Your Feelings

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When our daughters were toddlers, my wife would read them Judith Viorst’s wonderful little book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Poor little Alexander had a bad day not because bad things happened. As it turns out, those things happen to everybody. It was a problem of perspective.

When we look at our lives, we tend to rubberneck the wrong direction.

Ultimately, our problem is with God. But we don’t say that. We’ll point to people as the reason pain lurks in our lives. Parents, bosses, children, spouses, and even the devil has his part to play. If God would only bring relief, all would be well.

It’s a problem of perspective, not of circumstance. We need God’s perspective.

Your Day Doesn’t Define Your Life

Consider this question King David asked:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? —Psalm 13:1

You think David was having a bad day? Sooner or later, David’s question finds its way to the lips of all of us. But is how David felt—but it isn’t what he believed. We often feel what we don’t believe, don’t we? That’s our tension. Putting our faith in front of our feelings.

God's Perspective for You

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One problem is that the present pain seems so very permanent. We want immediate relief from the Lord or we immediately lose heart. We focus only on our lousy life. We need to look to God’s perspective.

God’s Perspective for You

The funk you’re in today isn’t permanent.

  • The argument you had with your spouse doesn’t define your marriage. God’s perspective says you should see where selfish hearts can choose to serve instead.
  • The ticket you got doesn’t make you a bad driver. God’s perspective helps you see the value in justice, even when you’re the recipient of it.
  • The sinful thought you had (or acted on) doesn’t mean you’re unsaved. God’s perspective reminds you that you were saved by grace—not because of your own righteousness.

Choose that Your Day Does Not Define Your Life

One-off flubs are just that. But daily decisions to continue in the one-offs will add up. Those days eventually can define you—in that they set the course for your life’s direction. Little choices add up, so make them good choices—even when you blow it.

Determine to learn from your mistakes.

Never give up, and I mean never. Ever! Your day doesn’t have to define your life.

Look to God’s perspective.

Question: What helps you on the bad days? To leave a comment, just click here.

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  • ARM BAR

    What helps me on my bad days is God himself,through the inspiration that He gives me,so i will remember about His Promise that He will never leave me alone and He will help me in the end according to His timing,very good topic Wayne and very helpful for me,Thank you,God bless you.

    • You’re welcome. It’s something we all deal with each day— and it’s so essential to keep our focus larger than our own struggles.

  • Jody

    I’ve created an acrostic of God’s promises that ‘ANCHORS’ my soul. By the time I’m done, my perspective has usually adjusted (e.g. (A) – I have A relationship God Almighty through Christ, my Lord, Who will (N) Never leave or forsake me because I am (A) Adopted in the Beloved, a child of God …). You get the picture: anchor your soul in God’s promises. ~ Jody

    • I love that, Jody. Anything it takes to refocus the mind and heart on God’s truth— and to keep our perspective higher than the struggles we deal with each day. Thank you.

  • Denise

    Wayne,

    Your insight is so helpful as I find myself as a wife and mother holding on for dear life for my marriage and my adult children who are really struggling.
    I have many bad days but I get outside and walk through the grass barefoot. I listen to the gentle summer breezes as I look at the river gently flowing and I look up to the sky as nature is God’s creation just as we are. Being outdoors praying with God always works!!!!

    I love your encouragement to never give up…ever.

    Thank you for all you do.

    • I’m so glad, Denise, that the Lord’s creation gives you a glimpse of the Creator. The struggle you’re enduring right now is not easy. I’m praying for you— that God’s grace will sustain you while you wait on Him.

  • K Boone

    I can’t say all bad days but some bad days when I catch the downward spiral I have to ‘be still’. Mentally and physically. Moving my body causes my mind to keep running in the wrong direction. So for me I literally have to Stop, take control of my thoughts, and remember who my God is. I keep this acronym with as a reminder of what I need to do when I stop. APPS (Accept what I can’t control, Pray about it, Praise the Lord bc He does not change, and Smile bc I am loved by Him who is greater than all.

    • That’s a magnificent strategy. It reminds me of God’s command to “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) and of David’s prayer to the Lord: “O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me.” (Ps. 131:1)

      • K Boone

        Seeing your email this morning was much needed and spot on. I was in a moment where my feelings were outweighing my faith. Feeling the heavy weight of being tired of my ongoing circumstances and “seeing” no change. I was having a bad day (couple of days). So Thank you

        • Patrizia Galluzzi

          Thank you for sharing. I also feel tired of my own circumstances and today feels definitely like a bad day as I “see” no possible change. Today I fasted and sought the Lord and asked for His help to sustain me. May the Lord help all of us as we seek Him

  • Delphine Reed

    I suppose my perspective is a bit different. Historically and presently, my focus turns to II Cor. 1:3-4. I have discovered that whatever I go through ultimately has as its design, my ability to help someone else cross the same bridge. Though I don’t enjoy the pain, I try to look beyond it for the joy that is set before me. Pain is part of the privilege of servanthood!

    • That’s a great addition, Delphine, definitely. It takes tremendous maturity to have that perspective. Thanks for your gracious, wise words here.

      • Delphine Reed

        As always, you are welcome. I don’t want to waste anything God allows in my life. All of it is meant to ultimately bring Him glory. Blessings on your day, Wayne!

  • I think of that big red RESET button I see as clipart when our days start unraveling. With three young kiddos, emotions run big (including mine). So when the Spirit convicts me, I stop, pray, and hit the RESET button of grace. I’ve had to train my eldest on this. One mistake and he would think everything was ruined. Just last week I heard him tell his younger brother, “It’s okay you had a consequence. It doesn’t ruin the day.” Progress!

    • If I had that reset button, it would be a constant buzz! They key is direction—not speed— in progress. 🙂

  • Robert Nash

    Bad days are just that. I must come back to the basic facts. God loves me. He proved it through Jesus’ finished work on the cross. God saved me and has created me for good works.
    When I begin with the gospel being applied to me, the bad day begins to look so much better. The focus goes from me to him. I can then give him thanks. Suddenly the bay looks significantly better.
    Bob Nash

    • Yes, Bob, that’s a great perspective! Focusing on a moment is like looking at only one frame in a movie. The whole film is our life— not just the frame. Thanks for your helpful perspective today. God bless.

  • Jody

    Wayne,
    I loved the principle you mined out of Kadesh-Barnea; it’s so true “our hearts are fashioned alike,” right? To answer your question … my heart is where I go, asking God to show me my heart-motive, to keep ‘in-step’ with His Spirit. After making sure what I am about to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to aligns with Scripture, then praying for biblical wisdom, I ask the Lord to search me & reveal my heart-motive.

    That would have served the Israelites well at their precipous; fear was at the heart of their rebellion both times. Fear, rather than the “love that casts out fear,” is rarely a good indicator of God’s direction. His “perfect peace,” instead, often solidifies His purposes. Allowing God to clean my heart of any envy, bitterness, selfish desies and other “logs,” helps me see His purposes and plans more clearly, as well. ~ Jody

    • This is a great strategy, Jody. Really well put— and so essential to keep it all in balance. I have found it easy to come up with a strategy but hard to implement it in the situations that always seem to be “exceptions” to why I should trust God. 🙂 Every day is an act of faith. Thanks.

  • Breitnica Mascarenhas

    Prayer helps me a lot….

    • Prayers help me too, Breitnica. Somehow talking to God reminds me of His presence.

  • Michelle thick

    To pray and ask God to help me. Please God be with and sometimes I repeat over and over God help me. I dont know what to do. Have a thankful heart and pray pray and talk to Him.
    Thanks

    • That’s a good response, Michelle. We just keep trusting our powerful God.

  • wft2969

    Thank you for Tweeting out this message. I have bad days because I am so darn disobedient! Wicked and evil define so much if what is inside of me. Why can’t I ever repent? I know what I do is wrong but still do it anyway, thumbing my nose at my Creator. You are helping more people out here than you realize. Thanks for your messages

    • You’re welcome, and thanks for your comment. You’re not alone, honestly, in your struggle against the sinful nature. Even the apostle Paul admitted in different words what you said yourself: “What I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Romans 7):15. But Paul also wrote about ways to have victory over the sinful past. Of course, the battle begins with your relationship with God through Jesus Christ—only after that initial step can we hope to have victory. Thanks.

  • KB

    What helps me on bad days is the Holy Spirit, He calms me, talks to me through frustration or tears. I have an answered prayer journal, and He’ll remind me to go back and look through it if I’m struggling in a moment of doubt so I can immediately repent. He’ll remind me of relating scriptures and bible people trials, and His victories. Great devotion Wayne!

    • Thanks, KB. Yes, a journal is a great way to chronicle God’s work in our lives. That may be a blog post worthy of writing too! God bless.