We ask and answer that question all the time – “how was your day?” Our answers can range from “Awesome!” to “Terrible!” but probably most commonly land somewhere in the middle – “good” or “fine.”
Behind our answer is a process by which we assess and determine how our day actually was. How we measure is based on our own priorities, expectations and circumstances.
- Today was awesome because I didn’t have to get out of my pjs!
- Today was the best ever because I signed three new clients.
- Today was terrible because it rained.
- Today was a success because the kids are all alive and the house is still standing!
- Today was great because I won at tennis.
- Today was awful because I fought with my friend.
Our definition of success (or failure) is unique to us and our particular life circumstances – and it can change from day to day.
However, without consciously considering those yard sticks; without intentionally determining what defines a successful day, we can find that each day just rolls into the next. We can find ourselves disillusioned by a seeming lack of accomplishment or meaning. We risk letting days slip by unmarked or acknowledged for the gift they are and the fact that each of them added together is painting the picture of our lives. They will become our history – the story we will tell.
When I ponder the question “how was your day?” I do it through the filter of these three categories.
MAKING and DOING
We have a natural leaning towards being productive and creative because that gives us purpose. Some of you don’t consider yourselves creative because when you hear the word creative you think artistic. Not all people are artistic but, made in the image of a creative, creator God, we all bear the capacity for creativity – to make things better – be that aesthetically or practically. Pleasing to the heart or eyes or pleasing in terms of efficiency and sensibility. A balanced account, a streamlined distribution process or practical storage solution are the marks of creativity – just as a sculpture, dance or poem might be. The sense of satisfaction found in a task completed, a list ticked, a system maintained, all testify to our bent for purposeful, meaningful engagement.
A good day involves making and doing.
LEARNING and GROWING
When we stop learning and growing we stagnate. And stagnant things are smelly and gross and not the stuff “good days” are made of!
Trying a new recipe, learning a new computer program or other skill, growing in God’s Word, increasing in patience and tolerance, understanding another’s perspective, engaging in study or training, and receiving coaching or mentoring all serve to stimulate our hearts and minds. They contribute to our ongoing transformation and maturing.
The concepts of ‘learning and growing’ also empower us to redeem otherwise frustrating, hurtful or meaningless experiences because we can always ‘learn and grow’ from them. When we reflect on a day of disappointments or challenges we can claim it as a “good day” for what God might use it to establish or develop in us.
A good day involves learning and growing.
LOVING and LAUGHING
Some people can be hard work and annoying. Not you, of course, other people. Many times the success or failure of a day can largely rest on the nature and outcomes of interactions with others. Introverts and extroverts respond differently to highly social situations and times of isolation but – in the end – it’s the people that matter most. In the image of a relational God and in the love of our Heavenly Father our hearts are wired for intimacy and relationship – with God and with one another. People matter more than things or tasks. Relationships matter.
Was it a good day? Who did you get to love? Who did you express kindness to? Who did you serve? Who did you encourage or comfort? Who did you help? And what of those things did you receive yourself from others? Who did you laugh with?
A good day involves loving and laughing.
For me, the success of a day considers each of those three categories. If a day includes all three it’s off the charts!! That’s a red letter day right there!! And as for a bad day? Well, I’ve come to discover that they are normally more to do with me not looking hard enough rather than these three things being entirely absent. This checklist then provides a lense through which I can reinterpret the events of a ‘bad’ day to see that it hasnt been wasted or futile.
So, how about you? Did you have a good day?