In my opinion, a solid way to live successfully must involve utilizing the resources available to oneself. It really is a matter of knowing what resources are, in fact, available, and then committing oneself to using them. I can’t help but feel that it’s a shame to know one’s resources and not use them. Not knowing the resources is temporary ignorance. It’s easily corrected. Find out what they are by any means available. To know one’s resources and not use them? There just isn’t a valid excuse for that one.
This essay is about “problem solving.” As a practicing Roman Catholic, which I was well before becoming a Catholic priest, I always knew that a major resource for me was the Bible. It’s the main resource for all Christians. Yet, ever hear the expression, “dusting off one’s Bible.” That expression means that one’s Bible is readily available but only used every now and then. So how can I solve problems with it? Number one, I see that Christ says that if I have a good foundation for my house, when the storms come, and the inherent rough winds in the storm beat against the house, the damage will be minimal. The house stands after the storm. But if I do not have a good foundation for my house and the same storm comes, the house will be destroyed,
Number two, the usual manner used by all the faithful with the Lord is by praising Him and thanking Him for all His many blessings. Since the method is used by all those who are faithful to God, and they in turn role model success in one way or another, I would have to say that living in a way grateful to God is an example of having a good foundation. With it, I can withstand any storm that life sends my way.
Concretely, I can be in a better position to solve any problem (i.e., storm) by developing the best mindset to grapple with it. And the best Biblically oriented mindset just must be, “gratefulness.” Tony Robbins, the well known success coach, encourages gratefulness as a strategy of daily living. He teaches that once awaken in the morning and in the evening before going to bed, one should think of several things to be grateful for. One mentally lists them. With this practice, especially if done daily, one eventually inculcates an ever-deepening attitude of gratefulness. And yes, one can solve problems much better now. One can live much better now!
Why is that? Well, the more stressed one is, (from anger or frustration because of the problem), the more difficult it will be to solve the concern and to then move on with life. The result is to simply live with this problem always with me. Don’t we say in English that this or that problem is “eating at me.” How true that is! An ongoing problem is basically eating at me, or in a more graphic manner, eating at my very soul.
How to end such a problematic cycle? First, develop an attitude of gratefulness. Even if one hasn’t done this but one is wrestling with a current problem, think right here and now at least five things for which one can express gratefulness and then do precisely that – thank God for them. Searching one’s life alone for something to express gratefulness alone gets one’s mind off one’s problem. And the pain of frustration is slowly replaced by a sense of Peace. Now, within THAT soul-ambiance, discover how easier it is to solve the problem. One uses a peaceful heart rather than an agitated mind.
And what did Christ say but that He would offer a Peace that cannot be given by the world. This is truly extraordinary. It’s a resource given by Christ especially for us.
Peace, Fr. Walter