ACA Blog

Pete Saunders
Feb 18, 2011

What Is Certain?

To many, the world is in chaos. Everywhere men and women are losing their jobs, their loved ones, their marriages, and their minds. It would seem that the only certainty is that something dreadful is going to happen. The areas of our life that are supposed to be certain are now questionable. People are uneasy and uncertain about how they will manage and may even doubt their importance, or the meaning of their life. In some sense, our lives are dictated by fear, which is no way to live.

For awhile now, I have been pondering some of the certainties in my life. One of which is that in five months I will be out of job. Knowing this has allowed me the opportunity of starting to plan for what will follow. I am not exactly certain what will happen when that time comes; but I do believe I have sufficient time to prepare and possibly lessen the negative impact this will have on me and my family. The things that keep me calm include knowing some of the things I do not want to happen and having a few plans in place.

What would happen if we, as well as our clients, operated from a sense of certainty? There are things which are almost guaranteed to happen. Marriages will always be vulnerable to infidelity, abuse, and in-laws; addictions are often triggered by certain emotions, events, and thoughts; and depression usually results from high demands at work, family crises, and uncertainty about the future. I submit that what is certain is that we, as well as our clients, can chose in advance our responses to whatever will happen around us and to us. I realize that this approach does not happen by the snap of a finger. It is much easier to react in a way that situations seem to dictate. For example, when someone disappoints us, it is easier to get angry and shoot insults at them or someone else. However, if we (inclusive of our clients) can plan for and chose a more productive response, we can chart a different course for our future. My suggested approach to anyone who is feeling uncertain of the future is to Think. Learn. Pray. Plan. Dream. Wake up. Act. For soon…you will become (adopted from The Noticer by Andy Andrews).

I believe that bringing awareness to certainties in life affords us some control over our thoughts and behavior. One of the challenges is that we live in the present and worry too much about the future; or we live in the future and worry too much about the present. Rather than that approach, we could live in the present as if it is our future since the next minute is already the future.

We often tell our clients that each circumstance will eventually come to an end. That is a certainty. The question then becomes, how do we want to find ourselves when that time comes? Hope makes the difference. The conclusive ingredient to surviving uncertainties is hope. This is why political partisanship and religion is alive and well today. We all desire and hope for something better. This hope has to be in something certain, or at least strongly believed to be so. For some, this hope is in a new and better job; for others, it is in new leadership; and still for others, it lies in something unseen, something that is not of this world. Whatever it is or whatever we call it, we all need hope. My questions to you are, where does your hope lie and what kind of hope do you give your clients?

Pete Saunders is a counselor in training at Capella University. He also writes a weekly blog and conducts a weekly video interview on manhood at

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