If you’re human, you’ve undoubtedly had “one of those days.” Emotionally-fueled reactions may vary, but often times it can get ugly. And not “ugly sweater” ugly. More like “Online Comment Section” ugly. That, “hide your kids, why am I reading this” sort of ugly that gets into your blood and makes it hot. The question is, can one respond differently in the midst of “one of those days”? Let’s find out.

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Have you ever had, “One of those days?” Or maybe one of those weeks or even months? I can see you’re nodding your head in agreement. (I can also see you’re wearing a pretty snazzy looking shirt. Hats off to you on your style.) Some of you are urging me to keep going, though, having had a lousy year. Others want me to go further yet, completing an entire decade of bad days. If you say century, though, I’m going to have to cut you off. That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think? Regardless of how long your streak is going, I know I’ve had my fair share, and I want to take you down memory lane to one particularly bad day. Here’s a quick recap of how it went down.

There I was, on an October afternoon, changing my oil like a self-sufficient beast. As usual, I also changed the oil filter, air filter, and this time I even put in some fuel injector cleaner. Of course, the day wouldn’t have been complete without checking the fluid levels and tire pressure, too, so that’s how I wrapped it all up. With everything looking right as rain, I started the car to back it off the ramps. 

And that’s when it happened. 

4 1/2 quarts of fresh — and not-too-cheap — oil blew out of the bottom of my engine and all over the ground with enough force to power wash the garage floor. Luckily, I’m so accustomed to strange/weird/bad things happening, I had laid enough cardboard down to soak up Niagara Falls itself. I needed every inch of it, but it worked. None of my precious oil made it to the ground to stain the pavement. Phew! It did, however, absorb into the cardboard — my only cardboard — and render it useless.  (Not-so-Phew.)

After shutting down the car and draining the rest of the oil, I soon located the problem. Normally, I stick with the same brand of oil filters whenever I work on my car. The last time, probably due to some sale, I had switched it up and tried a new one. Apparently, that filter, when removed, left its inner seal stuck to the filter-pipe-connector-thingy (hope I didn’t lose you with that technical term), and I didn’t even notice. I must have been on autopilot, so the tiny black ring it left created extra space and made for an imperfect seal. Consequently, the previous 20 minutes of work went right down the drain, almost as fast as the oil itself. 

You could say I was frustrated. You could also say I was angry. Both would be true, and both would probably lack the full level of emotion running through my blood. 

What’s a person to do when life gives them, “One of those days?” Well, I knew that if I let it frustrate me, it would just destroy the rest of my day. Been there. Done that. So, I took a step back, asked God for some patience and perspective, and then did what we should all do; I finished the job. 

By taking my frustration out of the equation and not letting it control me, I was then able to see how God provided for me. He gave me a roommate who was kind enough to drive me to the auto store to get more oil. He blessed me with a monetary gift that I’d been given from a fellow Christian the week prior, and that meant I had enough money to buy new oil, which was even on sale. (Nice touch, God.) He also gave me a beautiful, warm, October day for me to spend a little extra time in. I was cooped up at a desk most days, so that was a nice bonus. 

Best of all, the word that popped into my head to describe my day was “calamity”, and when I looked it up on Biblegateway, God’s Word had a great verse to pick me up. 

If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us. – 2 CHRONICLES 20:9 – NIV Scripture © Zondervan 

Perhaps my car’s oil blowing out of the bottom of my engine isn’t quite on the same level of bad day and calamity as plagues, famine, or judgment, but I was distressed all the same, and I do believe God was listening.  

“Those days”are going to come. Probably a lot. When they do, try to step back and let God separate you from your frustration. Finish the task at hand. Look around and see if you can find blessings that will allow you to continue on and still make the best of it. No one enjoys those moments, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mitigate the damage they do and give the situation back to God. There is zero point in losing even more of your precious time because you let your emotions dictate what happens next. More anger and destruction solves nothing. More importantly, the example you set for others can help you be the light Jesus described in Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16 ESV Scripture © Zondervan 

No one gives praise to God when they see you losing your mind in your driveway. (They give praise to the fact they’re not you, or married to you, but certainly not God.) And I’ve never met anyone who came to Christ because their neighbor threw their lawnmower through the fence after it kept stalling out. People watch us in those moments. It matters what we do. 

God can transform “one of those days” into a day you can remember more positively. You may even be able to laugh about it with your family and friends. Get it on video and you may even make some sweet AFV cash. Whatever you do, you can’t give in to the moment. No one is honored then, and no good comes of it. 

Let’s not let “those days” define us any longer. And who knows, if we start taking back those days, we may not have to endure “those weeks, months, years, or decades” ever again. 

Brent “Wishing my car ran on tears” Maverick

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Photo: Tree at Bryce Canyon National Park. Taken with my pixel2 

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