A few days ago, I just felt unsettled. There was nothing altogether wrong with the day, just unexplainable, low-grade anxiety for no apparent reason. Some days are just like that. For such a long, long time, I thought if I tried hard enough, I could “fix” my bad days and turn them to gold. And while this is definitely possible, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes storm clouds just come and all we can do is wait out the rain and watch for the sunlight to break through the clouds again. I’m learning how to embrace my bad days now and just let them be. Rain waters the flowers and without the occasional gloom in our days, how would our flowers of joy grow? We wouldn’t even know how to appreciate the happy without the necessary sad.
I love these words from President Boyd K. Packer:
“It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal. Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life” (as quoted in “The Surprising Science Behind Supremely Happy People”)
I have to tell you how much this quote comforts me. I get nervous every time a bad day creeps around–thinking that I must be doing something wrong. But as I read these words, I realize there is no reason in the world we should get down on ourselves if we have a bad day. Bad days (on occasion) are normal. I love the words from President James E. Faust that my mom texted our family a few weeks ago:
“Although ‘men are that they might have joy’ (2 Nephi 2:25), this does not mean that our lives will be filled only with joy, ‘for it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things’ (2 Nephi 2:11). Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume. Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than thinking in terms of a day, we perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last.”
I love the thought of snatching happiness in little bits and treasuring them while they last. There are periods of joy and times of sadness, but remember–no sadness lasts forever. Eventually, the tides will turn and joy will return.
I learned a profound lesson on that day of general anxiety last week. I recorded the following in my journal:
“I felt rather unsettled all day long. I don’t exactly know why, but I just had some low-grade anxiety. But I continued exercising faith and praying. The Lord answered. The teachings of Joseph Smith comforted me. Music comforted me. Being with my children comforted me today during school. Writing helped. Reading Joseph Smith’s teachings to the Relief Society truly helped. Then I pleaded some more. Then the Spirit prompted me to ride the bike instead of doing yoga tonight. It was miraculous. I felt instantly relieved, like I was riding out all of my anxiety and stress and worry. I felt so good that I had to celebrate with a bowl of ice cream (cookies and cream–my all-time favorite) while watching a documentary about the Pacific Ocean with Patrick. Tonight I learned that if we keep coming to the Lord in our distress, He will indeed answer. He will point us in the direction we need to go and steer us toward the tools and resources that we need that day. Every bad day or sad day or worried day may be different, but if we stay centered on the Lord–having Him be our stay of water and staff of bread, He will lead us to the places and things where He will nourish us. This is my testimony. I’m not sure why I’ve been asked to live out all this worry and anxiety but I can feel the Lord tutoring me so I can share these messages of hope and faith.”
So if today you are having a bad day, just go to the Lord, for He is the source of all joy. He will lead you aright. Every bad day requires a different remedy and the Lord knows just what you need today. He will point you in the direction of healing and will be there to comfort you in your tears. This I know.