“Do Not Worry About Tomorrow”
Renée was at the breaking point. Her husband, Matthew, had been without steady employment for more than three years. “I was exploding inside,” Renée recalls. “Not knowing what to expect made me so discouraged!” Matthew tried to calm his wife’s anxieties by explaining that their needs had always been cared for. “But you still don’t have a job!” Renée replied. “We need income!”
LOSS of a job inevitably creates anxiety. ‘How long will I be without work?’ the unemployed person wonders. ‘How can we make ends meet in the meantime?’
While such concerns are normal, Jesus Christ gave realistic advice that can ease anxiety. He stated: “Do not worry about tomorrow . . . Each day has enough trouble of its own.”—Matthew 6:34, The New Jerusalem Bible.
Identify Your Fears
Jesus was not saying that we should act as if our problem did not exist. However, worrying about what might happen tomorrow will only add to the emotional load of today. Frankly, we have little power over what may develop tomorrow, good or bad. But we can take measures to deal with the present.
Easier said than done? Absolutely! Rebekah, whose husband lost his job of 12 years, says: “When your emotions are so intense, it’s difficult to think about matters logically. But we had to. So I tried to keep myself under control. When the things I feared most never happened, I realized that it does no good to worry. By focusing on the present and its problems, we removed all kinds of stress.”
Ask yourself: ‘What do I fear most? How likely is it that this fear will become a reality? How much energy do I expend worrying about what may or may not happen?’
Our viewpoint can affect our emotions. Thus, the Bible urges this mental attitude: “Having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.” (1 Timothy 6:8) Being content means limiting our wants and being satisfied when our daily needs are met. Striving to satisfy the desire for more will only undermine your efforts to simplify.—Mark 4:19.
Renée was able to cultivate contentment after taking a realistic look at her situation. She says: “We have never been without lights or gas, nor have we been put out on the street. The real problem was that living like this was not what we were used to, and my unrealistic desire to maintain our former way of living intensified my distress.”
Renée soon realized that it was her viewpoint—not her circumstances—that made things seem unbearable. “I had to face the reality of our situation and not dwell on the way I wanted it to be,” she says. “Once I developed contentment with what God provided each day, I found that I was a lot happier.”
Ask yourself: ‘Have my needs for today been cared for? If so, can I take one day at a time, confident that my needs will be taken care of tomorrow as well?’
The right viewpoint is the first step in facing up to the challenge of living on less. * But what practical steps can you take when your income has been compromised by unemployment?
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Persistence Pays Off!
After weeks of fruitless job hunting, Fred felt that all doors of opportunity had closed. “It was like waiting at a bus stop for someone to pick you up but nobody came,” he says. Fred decided to take control of the one thing he could control—his own actions. He sent a job résumé to any company that even remotely seemed to need his skills. He followed up on all responses and prepared thoroughly for each interview, convinced that “the plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage.” (Proverbs 21:5) Fred says, “At one company, I sat through two interview sessions in which I was grilled by top managers.” But Fred’s persistence paid off. “I was hired!” he says.
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Something More Important Than Income
What is more important—your moral character or your income? Consider two Bible proverbs.
“Better is the one of little means who is walking in his integrity than anyone crooked in his ways, although he is rich.”—Proverbs 28:6.
“Better is a dish of vegetables where there is love than a manger-fed bull and hatred along with it.”—Proverbs 15:17.
Clearly, a person’s moral integrity and worth are not diminished by a loss of income. Thus, when Renée’s husband lost his job, she said to her children: “Many fathers have walked out on their families. But your father is still here for you. You know how much he loves you and has helped you through all your problems. You couldn’t have a better father!”