Having a bad day? They happen. Sometimes more frequently than we want them to. However, no one is or should choose to be defined by their bad days. Rather, they should be defined by their Christian perseverance in faith, hope, and charity through difficult moments.
Here are some spiritual and practical tips for challenging times:
1. Pause. Just take a moment. Breathe. Collect yourself.
2. Invoke the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to come, fill your heart, and enkindle in you the fire of His love. Breathe the breath of life given by the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
3. Suffer. Suffering is so contrary to everything the world holds as a priority. It means abandoning comforts and stability for challenge and struggle. However, it truly is the road through the Cross to eternal life. Unite your difficulties with Jesus’s sufferings for sinners, souls in purgatory, or those in need.
4. Reflect. With the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, reflect. What is happening? Why are you having difficulty? What is the problem? Is it sin? Is it fear? Self-awareness and self-knowledge take true courage. Be honest with yourself and with God.
5. Listen. Open the Bible—the Word of God. Let Him speak to you. “For the word of God is living and active (…) discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Perhaps read a chapter or passage that speaks to you, or return to a favorite scripture verse to reflect upon. Also, listen to others in humility. Get advice from a spiritual director, wise person, or trusted family or friend. Pray with them. Ask them to pray for you. Pray for them.
6. Forgive, Be Forgiven, Forgive Yourself. Forgiveness is beautiful. It’s humbling. It’s real. If need be, make a good and honest Confession in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, do penance, forgive those you have offended, and forgive yourself. “Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God” (Saint John Paul II). The grace of forgiveness is strength to persevere!
7. Resolve. Now that you’ve taken some time to reflect, make a resolution. Persevere in faith by believing and following God’s Almighty Power and the truths of the Church. Persevere in hope by living with longing for the Kingdom of Heaven and recognizing that there lies ultimate happiness. Persevere in charity, or love, by loving God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.
8. Give Thanks… and get ready! Challenges, difficulties, and “bad days” come and go, but they call us to remain a true disciple of Jesus Christ always. “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Be prepared for challenges, respond as a disciple, and stand firm in your commitment to living the Gospel!