The new year is finally here – but maybe you’re still facing the same challenges you were last year. That’s OK! In this season of promise and possibility, it’s helpful to do away with discouragement and adopt a positive attitude as you enter into the new year.
To help you do that, Dave Durand, founder of Decided Excellence Media and host of The Dave Durand Show, stopped by Morning Air® to discuss the role our spiritual life plays in beginning the year with a positive attitude.
“One of the things that’s beautiful about being Catholic is we’ve got liturgical seasons, we’ve got all kinds of things that are reminders of what’s actually important,” Dave said. “So when we review a year, we’re going to review the year on the temporal side, no doubt about it. What did this year bring me? But also we should do it on a spiritual side.”
Dave pointed out that when we face challenges our first instinct is to escape or wish them away. Whether we’re facing anxiety, grief, sinful habits, or physical suffering, our natural reaction is to escape or numb ourselves to them. But if we look at the challenges of this new year in light of the eternal, we recognize the most important thing is not to live a life without problems but to face those challenges with God’s grace.
“We have access to something that most of us reject,” Dave said. “We’re always trying to look for natural solutions for our dissatisfaction. We’re unhappy so we turn to a movie. And there’s nothing really wrong with that. We’re frustrated and we want to escape. Some of these things are good, but they always fall short if we’re not in a state of grace. We cannot be happy when we are not pleasing God. Begin that way.”
When your focus is on eternity in heaven, it’s easier to face even great challenges with a more hopeful and positive attitude. But Dave emphasized that entering the new year with a positive attitude is not about mind over matter or the power of positive thinking. It is about real, concrete steps we can take to ensure our soul is in a state of grace and we remain close to the Lord. It means going to Confession, it means daily prayer, it means asking God for the grace to carry you through whatever challenges you face on a daily basis.
“This isn’t trite, this isn’t warm and fuzzy, this isn’t sentimental,” he said. “I am saying that if something is wrong, in great, perfect contrition and humility turn from that. Because we can work so hard to try to have effectiveness in life, but all we do is run with ankle weights or drag our boat along with the anchor. So let’s get in a state of grace, have contrition, and have renewal.”
“When that takes place we can enter into all sorts of other challenges that can be complex and difficult. It doesn’t mean that they just go away, but it means we have a really strong fighting chance of defeating them.”
Listen to the full conversation below: