Keep the Faith

Three ways to strengthen yourself from the inside out

westina_matthews

Matthews

When Westina Matthews wrote her inspirational book Have a Little Faith: The Faith of a Mustard Seed (Matthews; $9.95) back in 2005, she was surprised so many were touched by her message that life will work out for the best if you believe it will. “The reference comes from [the Bible verse] Matthew 17:20,” Matthews says. “Where, all you have to have is the faith of a single mustard seed, and you know how tiny that seed is.”

Her book is particularly relevant today with people reeling from the effects of the recession. But Matthews, who recently retired from her position as a managing director with Merrill Lynch, isn’t among those fretting about the future. With faith and confidence, she looks forward to walking an unchartered path and encourages other to do the same.

Got Faith? Matthews offers advice on making it through these uncertain times:

Gather spiritual tools. Whether it’s meditating, yoga, exercise, or a long walk, know what activities bring you peace because you’ll want to turn to them during times of economic anxiety. One stress reliever isn’t enough in times like this, Matthews says. “Just like you need to diversify your portfolio in your personal and business accounts, you need to diversify your portfolio in your spiritual account.”

Learn to surrender. “So much of what’s happening is beyond anything we had any responsibility for,” Matthews says. And unfortunately, much of it will continue to be out of our control. But faith is about believing in a higher power, and while it’s important to take steps to look for a job or improve your financial situation, you must also learn the art of patience and allowing that higher power to work its magic. Matthews admits attaining this assurance takes effort, especially for professionals and entrepreneurs. “You’re so used to making things happen,” she says about this go-getter group. “But you’ve got to know that there’s nothing too hard for God and believe that all things are possible.”

Get a supporting cast. All of us have times when we’re overcome by fear and anxiety. That’s why you must identify those who can be calm in the midst of your storm. “When people’s faith is weak or on shaky ground, you can often find someone else’s faith to lean on,” Matthews says.

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