A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22, NKJV
Earlier one morning this week I got up and dressed quickly, intending to exercise as I normally do before I get the activities of the day started after a quick bite of breakfast with my wife, and headed towards the treadmill when I felt something under my left foot, almost as if I was stepping on something that slightly elevated my shoe. Looking down I discovered a blue tennis shoe on one foot, a white one on the other! Was I glad that I hadn’t worn them in public! That’s part of the challenge of being so affluent that you can afford two pairs of sneakers–or is it merely a foreboding prediction of a bad day? What do you do when you start your day with unmatched shoes? Or how do you handle it when things don’t go right? You oversleep. The toast burns. A sock is missing. You can’t find the report on your computer that you worked on the night before. Your car won’t start. The kids are fighting.
It takes more than unmatched tennis shoes to ruin a day!
First, have a good laugh at yourself. Look at the funny side of it. That’s what I did. And my wife laughed harder than I–but, of course, as is usually the case, flubs are usually funnier to others than to yourself. Laughing at yourself is better than being irritated or annoyed. As Proverbs suggests, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22, NKJV).
Next, take stock of your situation and refocus. Concentrate on what you need to do to redeem the situation. There’s a cartoon showing a little comic strip character all frustrated and bewildered, and underneath is the caption: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” So stop and take a deep breath and ask, “Where do I go from here?”
Question: Did Jesus ever have that kind of days which women describe as “bad hair” days, days when nothing seems to go quite right, and if you could, you would rewind the clock, get out of bed on the other side and start over again? Never thought about it, right? Well, if you ponder the fact He lived in a fully-human, fully imperfect world, you will also come to understand that while Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John didn’t write much about it, there had to be days when He was disappointed in people, and situations confronted Him not at all unlike the unmatched tennis shoes which someway escaped my notice.
If you follow sports, you are aware that one of the subtle tricks some use on their opponents is the deliberate attempt to break their focus and concentration–whether it is tennis, basketball, soccer, or ping pong. Distract your competitor and he’s apt to make a criticial mistake.
The fact is, our old natures kick in and undermine our focus on doing right or doing what we ought to do, and then we feel that the whole cause is lost. Lately I’ve talked with more people than I can number who had something go wrong in their spiritual life. In a moment of weakness, they slipped, surprising even themselves. And from that point on they thought that they had failed so miserably that there was no hope for the future.
If you are walking through a forest and lose your way, you ask directions and try to get back on the path which will take you where you want to go. Make every day count. Start your day with prayer, and when you hit the bump in the road, ask His forgiveness and help. Your attitude has everything to do with the altitude that you reach in any given day. It takes more than unmatched tennis shoes to ruin a day!
Resource reading: Proverbs 17:10-22.