As a former classroom teacher, I loved reading the book, “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst. Alexander begins his day with, “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Leaders- have you ever had one of those days? How do you handle it? Here are some tips for the next time you have one of “those” days.
Take a deep breath- God is bigger than your situation! Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves Him. They are the ones God has chosen for His purpose.” (CEV) Remember that whatever went wrong, God can redeem it for His ultimate glory and His purpose. He can take our less-than-perfect effort and create a beautiful masterpiece.
Stick with it! In the book, Alexander decides, “I think I'll move to Australia.” Giving up doesn’t make it better! Don’t move to Australia after one very bad day! Just because your volunteers don’t show up one day, don’t give up! Just because your perfect lesson didn’t turn out the way you hoped, don’t throw in the towel!
Stop looking for perfection. None of us is perfect. At the end of the book Alexander realizes, “Some days are like that. Even in Australia.” Because your church is made up of imperfect people, we need to realize that no matter what we do, there will be bad days- even in Australia.
Realize that sometimes the impact is unseen. Ever feel that the lesson you’re trying to teach isn’t getting through? Do you wonder if you’re even making a difference? Just because you can’t see the light bulb come on, doesn’t mean your effort was wasted. Sometimes it just takes a while to take root.
Get a little perspective. Sit back and honestly evaluate what made your day so bad. Was it the situation or was it your mood? Be ready to take a good honest look at yourself and ask, “Was it me or was it them?”
Make a plan for improvement. Think about where your day began to go wrong. Can you learn something from this failure that will help make you a better leader in the future?
Relax! Isaiah 26:3 says, “The Lord gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.” (CEV) Relax in the knowledge that you’ve done the best you can. Have peace knowing that God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plan. God’s plan and purpose is much greater than one bad day or even a week of bad days! Relax in the knowledge that you have been especially chosen to fill this role and He will give you the strength to continue.
"bright ideas for those who lead children, parents, and volunteers"