I’ve been a runner most of my life. Through high school, I ran track and cross country, and now I willing lay down a lot of money to participate in half marathons and 5ks. I completed my first marathon a couple years ago. If all goes as planned, this summer will be my third year participating in a 339 mile relay across Iowa.
The most beneficial advice I can offer anyone who runs is to treat each mile as its own mile. You can’t let one mile negatively affect the next. If you have a great mile, perfect, but don’t let yourself get cocky. If your pace is awful on another, don’t let it pull you down. Running is such a mental sport, so you have to train your mind to focus on one mile at a time. Sometimes a mile will suck. It is what it is. But if you let yourself dwell on that one mile, it will break you down. You have to accept it for what it was and move on to the next.
Honestly, this is true for every sport in a way. Some games are just going to suck. Your team isn’t meshing right, you can’t focus on the game, your movements are sluggish. But when the next game rolls around, you can’t keep dwelling on the loss. You can admit that you lost. You can work on what improvements need to be made. But you can’t keep rehashing your mistakes. Eventually, you have to strap your helmet back on and suck it up, buttercup.
Life is not a battle, guys. It’s not a sprint. It’s not a single game.
It’s a marathon. It’s a tournament.
It is full-out war.
And it’s so hard sometimes. But listen: Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. To be honest, if life is hard, you probably are doing it right. It’s hard to be human. It’s hard to show up every day, loving people every day. It’s just hard. That’s just how it is, and that’s okay.
You are going to have days that just suck.
You are going to have days that are the absolute worst.
There will be days when you can’t get out of bed. Days when you can’t be the mom you should be. Days when you lose your cool at work. Days when you flip someone off in traffic. Days when you get syrup in your hair . . . or on your brand new scarf you bought from Altar’d State.
Really, does maple syrup ever come out of anything? And why do kids smell like syrup for no reason? I’m asking for a friend. And frankly, it’s concerning.
Crappy days happen.
This is one of the best things I have ever learned: You can have a bad day. Sometimes the best thing you can do is admit you’re having a rough day and just let it happen. Then try again tomorrow. I promise the world will keep spinning. Crazy, right?
The truly amazing thing is we’re not the ones holding it anyway.
Maybe you can’t get out of bed one morning. It’s just too hard. Cut yourself some slack and try again tomorrow.
Maybe you were too harsh on your kiddo. Maybe you were in a crabby mood all day (and when mom is in a bad mood, everyone is in a bad mood – that’s just one of life’s rules). Moms are allowed to make mistakes, too. Your kids will probably be fine.
Maybe you did blow it with a coworker. But keep in mind that any two imperfect humans working towards anything together is a recipe for disaster and only turns out well because of some sort of magical grace God scatters around everywhere, so the occasional conflict is guaranteed to happen. Admit you messed up, shake hands, and walk it off. Come back in the morning and don’t sulk about it.
I’m not saying that we ignore issues or that we don’t try. If you’re having a bad day over and over and over again, there are probably areas of your life you need to look into or some help you need to be seeking out. But you’re allowed to have an off day once in a while.
There is wisdom in counting your losses and retreating. There’s wisdom in acknowledging that you’re not at your best. Look at the Green Bay Packers this year: Aaron Rodgers underwent surgery after breaking his collarbone in the sixth game of the season. After seven games, the Packers decided to let Rodgers play against the Carolina Panthers, with the possibility of also playing him in the last two regular season games if they had a chance for the playoffs. When they were kicked out of the race for the playoffs, the team decided to put Rodgers on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
I’m a Lions fan, so by nature it’s not possible for me to like the Packers (I am a tad miffed that the Lions somehow still didn’t make the playoffs despite their golden opportunity – the Packers and the Bears literally handed them NFC North title), but I know how much of the team is made by Rodgers. I’m sure deciding to sit the rest of the season was not an easy choice to make, by Rodgers or by the organization. But it was the wisest thing to do.
Rodgers had a bad season. He got hit. As an organization, the best choice was to accept that his season was done and bench him. They knew making the playoff was out of the picture. Why risk injuring your star player further when there’s not much of a reward left? The wisest thing to do is to let Rodgers rest and come back when he’s fully healed and ready.
If fighting a bad day is causing you more harm than good, call it. Tap out.
God never ever expects perfection. He’s the God of Continuous Do-Overs and Unlimited Try-It-Agains. So, if today absolutely sucks, I bet He’ll understand and let you try again in the morning. He tends to offer grace like that a lot. In fact, God’s mercies are new every morning and they will never end (Lamentations 3:22-23). In the original Hebrew, the word for “new” used here is the word chadash, which means “a new thing” or “fresh.” It can also refer to something that is unheard of, something that hasn’t happened before. Every day, these mercies poured over you are completely new for you to experience. They aren’t yesterday’s mercies or mercies for tomorrow. They are mercies designed specifically for you, mercies that God intentionally gave to you so you can go confidently through whatever the day holds.
Don’t ever let a bad day define you or determine your next days. It’s just a day. Call it what it is, gain what you can from it, and move on. Tomorrow will be better. God will keep showing up, His mercies will be completely new, and you get to try again.
Life is tough, my darling, but so are you. — Stephanie Bennett-Henry
Also, if today happens to be a rough day, here’s a gif of Nick Miller wearing a helmet. I could watch this all day: