The “Have a Good Day” Heresy

smiley-163510_640How can pursuing a good day possibly be evil?

During a prospective employee assessment for a job policing aliens in Men in Black, Will Smith is handed a gun and presented with a simulation of a dangerous situation. It’s a dark city street. Late at night. The street swarms with vicious looking aliens and one sweet looking schoolgirl, Tiffany, carrying an armload of textbooks.

Smith passes the test when he shoots Tiffany, proving he knows that the most pernicious evils often disguise themselves as light.

Living in a day of secret Internet sites, global politics, and stock market crashes, suggesting that consumers “Have a Good Day” may not appear to be dangerous but I believe the “Good Day” heresy is symptomatic of a systemic darkness that has infiltrated the matrix of our lives.

We’ve become a culture of consumers. This is what we do. We consume. We evaluate. We consume more.

We’ve elevated Have a good day from a clerk’s polite greeting to a cultural value. We worship at the altar of the good day. We idolize making choices that lead to all things good – good days, good marriages, good jobs, good children, good churches, good Christians.

Oswald Chambers once wrote, “The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.”

When we aim for a good day, we aren’t aiming high enough. The truth is that life is intrinsically a good thing. Our lives are a gift from our Father. They are already good. However, each day will contain positive and negative aspects.

Growing up, I loved the old hymn, Day by Day. I was especially comforted by these lines: “He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, Gives unto each day what He deems best—Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest.”

That was my expectation. Not all good days.

The false expectations that we’re responsible to have good days is a source of great anxiety for many. That’s become our goal, our idol. To have good days. To experience happiness and pleasure at all times. If we don’t, we feel let down, a sense of failure, a concern that we’ve been shortchanged somehow or that others have figured something out that we haven’t. This good day thing. Is it any wonder we’re plagued with anxiety and depression?

The religion of consumerism has invaded every aspect of our lives. We consume our days. We consume our relationships. We consume worship. And as consumers, we view everything as a product, a product that must deliver.

Listen to the questions we ask one another on Sundays. “How was worship?” “How was the music?” “Was it a good worship service?” “How was the sermon?”

How would our mindsets change if we asked instead, “What message did you hear from the Lord this morning?” “What encouragement will you carry with you from God’s Word this week from the service?” “What aspects of God’s nature did the music inspire you to consider today?”

Deeper questions. Not questions for people who consume worship – instead, questions for worshipers.

We are a people plagued with anxiety and I believe much of it stems from this Have a Good Day heresy. Am I having a “good” day? Do I have a “good” marriage? Am I a “good” parent? Am I involved in a “good” church? Am I a “good” Christian? These are not evaluations suggested by God’s Word!

God expects there to be trouble in my days. God tells me not to judge anything before its time. He expects me to have an imperfect marriage and be an imperfect parent constantly in need of His mercy, strength, wisdom, and grace. He knows my church, my spouse, my children, my friends, my fellow worshipers will struggle.

I’m not here to consume these relationships. I’m not here to have good days. I’m here to serve Christ, to learn to love, to understand Jesus through struggles and joys. I’m here to experience life to the full.

I’m not here to consume worship and evaluate the performers on the platform. I’m here to meet Him, to offer Him my praise, gratitude, and an open heart. I come empty to be filled not bored to be entertained.

Have a good day we wish one another. And what if we don’t? What if, in fact, we have a string of days that aren’t good? What if something happens that ensures many of our days will not be good? Is life then still worth living? Yes. Yes. and Yes. Because Jesus meets us in those days. God is good.

God is good but we’re pursuing good days instead of the good God. And I believe we can’t do both at once.

He is a God of redemption. His story is about redeeming the days and the marriages and the children and the churches because the truth is, even our good days aren’t good enough but in Christ we experience forgiveness, grace, mercy, truth, and life in abundance.

Some of you are scoffing, annoyed with me for harping on this “Have a Good Day” heresy. I understand. But see if you experience some relief tomorrow if you stop trying to have a good day and instead, see where Jesus meets you in all the moments. See if worship changes this week if you release yourself from consuming it and lose yourself in participating in it.

When tomorrow comes, some evil will jump out at you as evil but some of it will look a lot like Tiffany. When you encounter her, tell Tiffany to have a good day, won’t you?

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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Jenn Convey says:

    Love this. What a better way to evaluate our days.

  2. Wow, Thank you for opening my eyes. I will never tell another believer to Have a good day again. Maybe “Have a God day” I love the way you think Lori Roeleveld. I love the way you make me think. Keep them coming. God is using you mightily.

  3. Valerie Perez says:

    Yes! You put into words my uneasiness with this outlook. Thank you for the wisdom and encouragement. We are certain there will be trials and troubles and BAD DAYS, but what is even more sure is that He is with us there, and He wants us to look like Jesus in the end (who Himself suffered bad days).

  4. Meredith says:

    Thank you, Lori! After a very not good day yesterday, this was a refreshing and life-changing perspective shift!

  5. Fred says:

    Isn’t it interesting when we say “goodbye”…?maybe that’s where this ” have a good…” stuff came from……. The salutation ” goodbye ” is the short form of “God be with ye”….
    So..have a God day….

  6. Joanne Urbany says:

    I love this! So true and freeing. Thanks, Lori. You are a great blessing.