30 March 2015

Life in Difficult Times

I know I've published this before, but it bears repeating - P.

Unless you've been living in a cave for the last eight years, it should be obvious that times are tough all over. Unemployment is high, and current events are scary. Without crying "Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake!", let us see what we can do, as individuals.

1. If you have a job, give thanks. (As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, I give thanks to God the Father. You may have other ideas; it is not my intent to proselytize you. It's the attitude of gratitude that you'll need.) Such an attitude helps keep us grounded, regardless of how well we're doing.

2. Simplify your life. Now is not the time to expand. Look for ways to streamline. For example, drink coffee in the morning at home, rather than buying a latte on the way to work, or wherever. Money in the hand is better than money out the window. Our dollars have less buying power these days; you might need that extra five bucks for something more important.

3. While these are dangerous times, don't get so into the news that you lose perspective. Remember that reporters must generate numbers of viewers/listeners/readers to keep their jobs. In simpler terms, they get paid to sensationalize.

There are quite enough bad tidings in the average newscast to depress a clown on laughing gas. Remember to follow the money, and get to the bottom of the news item. Quisnam beneficium? Don't borrow trouble, as my grandmother used to say. "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:33-34)

4. Keep your head. Whether you know it or not, people are watching you: wives, children, significant others; friends, co-workers, and so on. Panic not only won't help, it will hurt.

If you pray, pray for wisdom to know what to do in these times. My Bible says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5) Strive to be one who can remain calm, even when things are going wrong - be the calm at the center of the storm. When we panic, it's too easy to miss the way out.

5. Make adjustments, if needed, and IF you can. Is your area hard-hit by recession? If so, can you relocate? There are some parts of the country which are doing better than others.

Can't relocate? Each case is different, but again, "pray for wisdom" comes to mind. There are many variables (elderly relatives needing care, house that isn't selling, etc).

Self-reliance and personal responsibility are two of the traits that have made America great, or more accurately, that have made her people great. It requires flexibility of mind and spirit; of seizing opportunity and running with it. It's what we Americans do.

* * * * *

I've received a few e-mails asking about things I'm discussing here; it's easier to offer advice when specifics are known. Nevertheless, you all have common sense. I don't think anything I've said here will surprise too many folks.

What I'd like you take away, at the end, is some reassurance. Times are tough, and I believe they're going to remain tough for quite awhile. People who are equally tough will be flexible, and will learn to adapt.

Be of good cheer, my friends. We will get through this; we always do.


Cathy said...

So much wisdom. Yes. Stand strong. Hope and pray.

Rev. Paul said...

Exactly, Cathy. Prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best. Thanks.