My leg muscles screamed in protest as I gasped for breath and pulled myself upward to the next rest bench on the mountain trail. I promised myself, “Girlfriend, you WILL be in better shape next year!” Can you identify?
For several years, our family of four participated in a volksmarch, a German term for people’s walk. Beginning at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail near Helen, Georgia, we walked only five kilometers, but with steep inclines, the distance seemed much further. At the finish line, with relief and perspiration, we accepted our medals as family tradition mementos.
Do you have days that feel like an arduous walk up a mountain while others resemble a leisurely stroll? I do. On those troublesome days, challenges can feel like rocks in our backpack, slowing progress and discouraging us.
The verb walk in the Bible describes the daily life and behavior of one who has surrendered her life to Christ.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.Colossians 2:6 ESV
Paul prayed believers would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10 ESV). How can we navigate life’s challenging times as believers and continue to bear fruit? Consider the following:
Three Ways to Navigate Difficult Days
1. Look for markers in the Bible.
On the Appalachian Trail, arrowed signs pointed the way and prevented error when undergrowth obscured forks in the trail. The Bible is like a collection of markers, guiding us in God’s way. Bible study steadies and steers us and prepares us to face the trials of mountain trail days. Writing and decorating a verse may help you commit it to memory.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.Psalm 119:105 ESV
2. Lean on the Lord in prayer.
My walking stick worked like a lever to push me up the mountain when weak muscles faltered. Communication with God in prayer strengthens us when we meet roadblocks and encounter difficulties. Having an ongoing prayer conversation with God throughout the day helps us enjoy His presence and yields His peace and wisdom to bolster us to the next level on the journey. He knows the future, and we can trust Him with today and tomorrow.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.Philippians 4:6 ESV
3. Listen to trustworthy Christ followers.
Although I read the signs and used a walking stick, I also needed my family’s encouragement, and at some points, a literal push over the next ridge. Truth. Asking for help can be humbling, yet other Christians can remind us of biblical truth and the fact that God is always with us, even on hard days.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.1Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
How is your walk today? Perhaps printing the verses above on cards or typing them into a phone app will help in troublesome times. When a day’s journey feels like a steep mountain hike, turn the day into an adventure with God by searching for His direction in the Bible and in prayer as you seek encouragement from fellow hikers.
Now it’s your turn
What helps you on trying days?
41 thoughts on “Three Ways to Navigate Difficult Days”
Indeed. We all have those challenging trails and trials that tire us out to the point we consider stopping right there. Holding onto the promises of what is to come at our successful completion is often what’s needed to help us move forward again – toward the goal. Something that always helped me during those long marches and runs was knowing that others were suffering and struggling right along with me. Later, when I had moved beyond to discipline of basic training and other training schools, we all learned to work together, doing our very best to help someone on our team who was struggling to make it through. I can’t tell you the number of rucksacks or baseplates I’ve carried for folks who later helped to carry my load when I was struggling. Great post and great lesson Ms. Jeannie.
J.D., your practical experience makes good spiritual comparisons. Christian fellowship provides a shelter for life’s storms, and learning together is an encouragement. When we can help shoulder the burden for a friend, we are blessed. Thanks so much for your encouraging words.
On trying days, my go to verse is Isaiah 42:10! “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.“
This verse reminds me of God’s love for me, which gives me the encouragement needed.
Some days, I need silence and meditation on God’s word, other days I need praise music, and sometimes a post like this one! Always a long, long walk focusing on what God wants.
Great read Jeannie…now I want to go to Helen for a Volksmarch!🤗
Traci, I’m glad you included the fact that we may need different kinds of support at different times. Your go to verse is a powerful one to remind us of God’s presence and help in troubled times. His Word is the primary way He speaks to us, so that’s always a good starting point. I appreciate your comments.
Thanks for the rocky climbing analogy! In my earthly shoes, I wish we didn’t have to go through trials, but Jesus knows it makes us stronger and more able to encourage others. I love these verses:
“I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NKJV
Donna, what powerful scriptures you included! I don’t think many of us would voluntarily sign up for trials, but as you said, God strengthens us in them. With our eyes on Him and our hearts filled with His Word, we can endure and even flourish. Thanks so much.
God is always there to give us that final tug to get us where he wants us. Let us never forget my go-to verse, Philippians 4:13.
Philippians 4:13 is a sure promise we can cling to, Peggy. I’m glad you included it. Thank you so much for your faithful comments.
Jeannie, Thank you for sharing such an encouraging post…. I am facing one of those days and it is a week long this time….
I know how those days can be, Jan, so I’m glad you found the post encouraging. I’ll pray for you. Thanks so much for taking time to read and leave a comment.
Thanks for your encouragement, Jeannie! In the times when discouragement takes hold of my attitude, I read Scriptures which encourage me, and pray for strength. My Sweet Jesus always reminds me that there is joy in the journey! Thanks for posting such an encouraging reminder of how to keep on keeping on!!!
Evelyn, discouragement can “take hold of our attitude” as you said. That certainly happens to me sometimes. I agree God’s Word offers the strength and encouragement we need to “keep on keeping on.” I love that phrase because sometimes we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and keep taking one step at a time. I appreciate your comments so much.
Thanks for your encouragement, Jeannie! In the times when discouragement takes hold of my attitude, I read Scriptures which encourage me, and pray for strength. My Sweet Jesus always reminds me that there is joy in the journey!
What gems you have given us in this post. Though situations may not be fixed, you have given clear ways to manage and be encouraged. This is a post to print off and keep in my journal. Thank you Jeannie.
Marilyn, I appreciate your encouraging words, and I’m thankful you find the post useful as a future resource. I agree the three strategies help us even when trials persist.
We do sometimes hesitate to ask for help in our spiritual lives but God knows we need each other. He told us in many places to encourage and comfort others with the comfort we have received. Jeannie, your wise advice and scriptural examples can help us hold on to this truth.
Barbara, you’re right about our sometimes hesitating to request help, but God provided the wonderful bonds of Christian fellowship for our strengthening. Amen to your statement: “He told us in many places to encourage and comfort others with the comfort we have received.” My sincere thanks, Barbara
I can imagine how beautiful that hike in Helen must be. I’ve visited the area but never hiked there. Your metaphors resonate so well with me — a fellow hiker. Nothing better than a challenging hike to awake us to God’s presence!
Candyce, although I’m too slow for steep climbs, I love walking in wooded areas, smelling the fragrance of a forest, and meditating on God’s Word. In any location, when we turn from routine activity–even if it’s a brief pause in the action, we seem to hear Him better. I appreciate your thoughts, Candyce.
My husband and I have started back to our exercise routine and I’m feeling the effects today. At my next workout, I will be thinking about the connection to my faith walk by looking, leaning and listening to the Lord. Thanks for the great message Jeannie.
I’m glad you found ways to connect the blog post to your current situation, Yvonne. I’ll try to remember your comments when my husband and I return to the gym in a couple of weeks. Thank you for stopping by to read and leave a comment.
Your analogy is apt, Jeannie. Traveling a challenging trail when hiking is helped by the same strategies as those we need to endure life’s hardships. Of course, we both know that improving our performance on the trail takes practice–going hiking often and climbing steeper pathways. Our walk with our Lord faces those same steeper pathways because we know the devil sets continuous roadblocks and challenges in the path of active Christians. It takes practice, commitment, dedication, and determination to improve both our physical fitness and our spiritual growth. Loved your message–thank you!
You included so many good points, Kathryn. Thank you for adding richness to our conversation. I’m thankful God offers His strength and wisdom as we practice and learn.
Wonderful post, Jeannie. Great ideas to ponder as we experience difficult days.
Thank you very much, Dawn. God always supplies what we need.
I loved this post. It was encouraging and inspiring yet put the focus on Jesus. Thanks for the reminders. I especially needed #3!
Sylvia, I need these reminders to “put the focus on Jesus” when trials creep into daily life. Sometimes it’s easier to keep concerns to ourselves, but sharing with carefully-selected Christ-followers can strengthen us. Thank you for your comments.
You’ve given wonderful and clear advice, Jeannie. On those tough days, I like to remember God’s past faithfulness and ask Him for tangible encouragement. He always comes through.
Annie, that’s a great idea to look back and thank God for His faithfulness. Yes, He is always willing to encourage us. I appreciate you stopping by and mentioning that.
Great analogy. I’m so glad we don’t walk alone.
Me, too, Terri! I think I miss signs of His guidance sometimes while looking down at the ground–my problems. He lifts our hearts to Him when we seek Him in His Word and prayer, doesn’t He?
Great ways to navigate difficult days. Thank you, Jeannie!
Thank you, Kathy. I’m glad you find the tips helpful like I do.
Excellent advise here, Jeannie.
It is hard to ask for help from others but is certainly needful at times.
Your post is very encouraging. Thank you ❤️
Thanks so much, Connie. Yes, it’s hard to ask for help sometimes, but I’m sure you’ll agree, the benefits are beneficial when God puts a trustworthy person on our path. He uses His Word and fellow Christians to strengthen and encourage us.
Great advice Jeannie. I was watching TV this week and a football coach said ” How can you ever measure your faith if you are never challenged?” This really stuck with me and today when I read your post I reminded myself again that we all face challenges in everyday life but as said earlier, “God always comes through”. How sweet it is! Keep up the good work!
Pam, what a great question the coach asked. I’m glad you included it in your comments. When we look back on trials and see lessons God has taught us, we see value in them. When we’re in the middle of them, sometimes the problem itself clouds our view. I’m thankful God sees the whole picture and encourages us. Your comments mean so much. Thank you!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I find that I’m reminding myself of these verses a lot. I’m the one who wants to see the big picture but life’s hacks get in the way and cause me to lose sight of what God may have planned for me or my family.
Deanna, I’m glad you reminded us of this important passage I need to remember frequently. It’s amazing how reciting it changes our attitudes. It’s sometimes easy to focus on current circumstances instead of God’s proven faithfulness. I’m sure you’ll agree, His plans are always best. Thank you so very much for stopping by.
This was much needed for me, Jeannie! It’s a good reminder that even in the craziness and busyness of life, God keeps it simple (His yoke is easy/burden is light): He just wants to be with us. Through His Word and through prayer, I am reminded of who He is and the “things of earth grow strangely dim.” I really needed to remember that!
I need those reminders too, Stacey. I’m glad you highlighted the truth of the presence of Christ with us. In busy times, on easy or difficult days, remembering His presence and conversing with Him in prayer calms our hearts as He gives us peace. Thanks for letting me know the post was a blessing to you.