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In uncertain times, faith sustains.
BY Dave Durand
My company is laying off hundreds, my neighbor
is losing his house, and every day brings more headlines of bad news. I’m
tempted to indulge in feelings of despair.
You are certainly not alone. Times
are hard, and just about everyone is worried about something. But consider that
95% of the things people fret about never come to pass. Yes, someone actually
did a study to come up with this number.
I’m not suggesting that your
situation isn’t real. You are not imagining the layoffs, your neighbor’s
foreclosure or the anchorman’s string of sorrowful stories. But keeping a
proper perspective is especially important in times like these — and the result
of that study is a helpful reminder to keep a proper perspective.
I’ve made some observations of
people who thrive during tough times. The indomitable spirit of people who
thrive is not dampened by bad circumstances. Their healthy interior life is a
bulwark against exterior forces, events and situations.
In other words, people who thrive
are oftentimes the victims of bad news, but they find their strength in the
gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The ability to thrive with a healthy
interior life is something we all have access to. It is a blend of personal
disciplines and openness to God.
On the practical level, you might
consider doing four things: unplugging the news, doing more to serve others,
playing offense with your attitude, and turning toward God in prayer and the
Almost everyone knows that negative
news is the news that sells. This is true for
the same reason that car accidents cause “gawker delays” on the opposite side
of the highway, where traffic should continue to flow at the normal pace.
Curiosity and lack of self-control
cause us to focus on problems that really don’t affect us personally (and may
dangerously distract us from what we’re doing).
slow down our progress in life when we linger and stare. A quick glance at the
headlines a few days per week is all it takes to be an informed citizen. More
than that during times like these can drag down your spirits — or at least
cause you to lose focus.
also means stepping outside of your own problems and serving others. Despair
can cause a certain level of narcissism in all of us. Victor Frankl, the famous
Holocaust survivor, observed in Auschwitz that the men who thrived were the
ones who, despite their own pains, walked around comforting others and giving
what little bread they had to those who needed it more.
hard and play offense with your attitude instead of running scared and cowering
in fear. While you are still employed, make sure you don’t give anyone a reason
to fire you for a bad or defeatist attitude. If you are let go, make sure your
attitude attracts your next employer instead of repelling him. No matter what,
you still have the power to choose your attitude. No one can take that power
away from you.
turn to God in prayer and the sacraments. It is not always easy to take the
aforementioned advice. That is why you need God’s grace to make up where .you
fall short. Philippians 3:14 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who
challenging time may be God’s way of drawing you closer to him.
Catholic business consultant Dave Durand is online at