Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

anya brave.jpegEleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I think of that several times a day thanks to a generous artist I know, Anya Getter, who sent me a beautiful painting of a woman with courage. 

Anya’s painting … and the visual reminder of Eleanor’s directive … has given me the extra ounce of courage needed to job hunt over the last few months, and has inspired me to take the big leap I did last week, when I accepted an offer for a full-time position at a prodigious consulting firm with a great reputation.
There are plenty of uncertainties and you can bet I’m nervous. 
I have never worked for a large corporation before and don’t know how office politics work. I haven’t yet been assigned to a specific project, although I’m hoping to work on mental health programs. I don’t know exactly where I’ll be working or how long my commute will be. In the beginning and for periods of time, I might have to leave the house at 4 in the morning and return around 8 at night. I’ll be driving in beltway traffic. Yes, the chick that hates to drive anywhere outside of a five mile radius. It’s going to be a huge adjustment. For me. For my husband. For my kids. 
However, I am not abandoning Beyond Blue
Because I’m OCD off the charts, I’ve been writing posts during the summer that I can publish during the fall if I can’t squeeze in the time to write. I also have some favorites among my archives that I wanted to resurrect with a new twist. So I will publish posts every day (except Saturday and Sunday) like I’ve been doing. Come the end of the year, I will be better able to assess the situation.


I’ve been praying the Third Step Prayer about 20 times a day since April, when I got news of my disappointing book sales, followed by the sale of Beliefnet. The prayer goes like this: 

God, I offer myself to Thee- ?To build with me ?and to do with me as Thou wilt. ?Relieve me of the bondage of self, ?that I may better do Thy will. ?Take away my difficulties, ?that victory over them may bear witness ?to those I would help of Thy Power, ?Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. ?May I do Thy will always! 
I would ask God over and over again to direct my path. To give me some small clue as to where I should go, thinking that His will would be to work for this agency over that one, to write versus consulting, to freelance as opposed to working fulltime. But, according to Wilkie Au, a professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University, that’s not what discerning God’s will is all about. In his book, “By Way of the Heart,” he writes: 
Unfortunately, many people view the will of God as rather like a ten-ton elephant hanging overhead, ready to fall on them….Actually the word which we translate into English as “will” comes from both a Hebrew and a Greek word which means yearning. It is that yearning which lovers have for one another. Not a yearning of the mind alone or of the heart alone but of the whole being. A yearning which we feel is only a glimmering of the depth of the yearning of God for us. 
Thus, the will of God is dynamic, personal love urging us along the path that leads to union with the Lord. As with an ordinary journey, there may be several paths that can lead equally well to our destination; or some way may be notably better; or some way may lead us away from our destination. 
So “the prayer to know God’s will,” states theologian John Wright, “is a prayer to have this kind of insight about the choices open to me.” When we pray “Your will be done,” we are not thinking about a script of our lives God has destined from all eternity. Rather we are referring to the choices we must make. And when these lead to union with God, they are compatible with God’s plan to unite all creation. “Thus, it may sometime happen that I will actually be doing God’s will, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, whether I choose this or that.” 
I don’t know what God’s will is for me. For the time being, I’ve stopped trying to figure that out. I just assess each situation and take my best guess as to what is the right thing to do. I put myself out there and do something every day that scares me. Like, for example, driving to a corporate job on the other side of the DC beltway. That definitely qualifies. 
Painting by Anya Getter.


Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue and click here to follow Therese on Twitter and click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.

  • Elizabeth

    Congratulations, Therese! I know it must be a relief to have a new job. AND, I know it must be really scary to have to get a new job. Especailly one where you will have to work such long hours.
    Go easy and I wish you an easy adjustment period.

  • TeriCA

    Just wanted to wish you luck Therese in your new venture. How far you’ve come!! I too am seeking full-time employment this fall and have followed you for over 3 years now. I’m finishing my BA this semester and out into the world of Landscape Design–something I’ve found I love to do! Still taking my Bipolar meds, but have been stabilized now for about 2 years and my degree has been a much smoother attempt for the last 2 years along with my GPA coming back up–thanks for all your posts over the past few years–sometimes I could totally empathize with all you were feeling. So welcome back! I don’t envy your commute, but may be facing the same thing when I go back to work. Take your IPOD and listen to your very favorite music in the commute! Music I’ve found is always a mood lifter, I guess because I’m a music lover. Just a suggestion and no commercials! So wonderful to see you’re doing so well!!!

  • Lisa

    I have always felt that if you just keep moving forward, while living in a way God would be proud of, that God will use you where ever you are. OR he’ll open up an opportunity for you to end up where He wants you. But I am a firm believer that if you just sit still and wait, while doing nothing, that God cannot use you. I believe that we must be in motion in order to have God lay at out feet those things that He would have us do. I know that He has always had to put those things He would have ME do right in the middle of the road where I will stumble over them, in order to get my attention!

  • Beverly Penney

    Dearest Theresa, Praise God you have gone forward and have gotten a full-time job, if that is what you need. I have been following you for years and have seen you at your highs and lows. I admire your tenacity of writting Beyond Blue everyday. It helps me immensely as I am sure it helps others, as well as yourself. I’m so sorry that Eric’s profession has taken a down-turn right now that it makes you go into the “rat race” of the daily grind. Isn’t there a train you can take rather than having to drive? That way you could take the trusty lap-top and write to your hearts content, or listen to audio-books, or just “zone out”on nothing as you relax and let someone else to the driving. Kinda like having a private driver to take you to work everyday. Then you can arrive at work, unstressed and ready for the day, but most important, you can arrive at home in the evening rested, unstressed and ready to listen to Eric and the kids about how their day went without have had to drive hours in horrendous traffic, bad weather, cold or hot, just arrive and say here I am – God has taken care of all of us for another day. God Bless You and your family and may He take care of all of you forever. Beverly

  • Christina W

    I am happy for you with your new position and once again thank you for your posts. You have NO idea how much you help others by being so honest and open. As someone who was just (finally!) told what has been “wrong” with me most of my life (bipolar), I identify completely with not wanting to go more than a few mile from home, and being afraid of basically everything in life. The medication I’ve been given is, thank GOD (I mean that literally!), starting to lift, ease out and stablize me so I am where you were a few months ago with job hunting. I am terrified I won’t find something and terrified I will but I’m learning, slowly, that the only way through fear is forward movement. God Bless!

  • Meg

    Best of luck to you, Therese! Praying that God will be near to you during this transition, especially as you face your fears and walk into the unknown. From the first time I picked up your book Beyond Blue and began reading what you wrote, I felt connected to you through your words, which have given me so much encouragement and hope. If God can use you through this one book to reach hundreds of thousands of people, I can’t wait to see how he’s going to use you in this new job. Praying!

  • joe gonzalez

    Therese – i admire your courage and drive. Who says women take a back seat to men ? i changed therapist less than a month ago, because mine was 83 and retiring, and here i am, with an apparently new therapist and excellent therapist whom i mightily respect and try to obey to the letter, who’s dropping some of my old and more dangerous and interfering meds, and i’m sleeping 3 hours a night. i’m scared, but not so to retrogress ; i’m in the Dark part of the Night – again – literally. i ‘m starting to pray for more prudence, and let the mighty and inconsiderate of the world have to have their way. Maybe i’m entering Merton’s and the Imitation’s advice to drop the world completely. Yet i feel so much has to be done ! And that it urges !
    Yet He has the key to time and impotence and meekness and waiting in the dark, where the crucible is at top smelting power ; and the collective powers that be are bearing down at me at pleasure and full weight ! People who have had pleasant and comfortable lives and know nothing of homelessness and the truest poverty, and preach high faluting words of truth as their distorted and capricious nature suggest, and my sense of nothingness is reducing me to Job’s ashes. i am alone with Him who alone Knows, and abandoned by my feeble confreres. But my courage remains, and my deep sense of conscience and duty…will i survive ? i leave to Him Who is all Kindness and Truth, and before whom i am nothing, like Job. But it sourges mighty and my self-doubt is at the force of Katrina before the levies burst. The high and mighty have no qualms about their privileged upbringing which covers than with such a mantle of superiority and material well-being which puts us, the ‘ poorest of the poor ‘ at such an obvious disanvantage. Perhaps my destiny will be that of Lazarus, wordlessly submissive at the rich man’s door. If so, so be it. I will soon be at Abraham’s bosom ; and the mighty, celebrated and unconcerned will be at bthe other extreme of the abyss. i have no preference for this. Oh, that we both be Saved ! Yet God’s justice is inscrutable. May His will be done : come what may, and Saved Whom He chooses ! i only know i’m giving Him my all… is there anything else ? i know by now that even His chastisements and punishments are Perfect and without flaw. His will be done ! And may i be humble enough to imbibe eagerly His fiery crucibles, and no falter in His way, though abandoned by all and sundry ! Pray for me, chosen one ! And if by way of consolation, you can even appoach being a brave Veronica, don’t hesitate to do so ! Yours in misery, someone truly poor and abandoned, or perhaps just an obstinate fool ! Pls. answer !

  • joe gonzalez

    And forgive the mispellings and ommissions, but my hands are jagged and torn.

  • Angel

    Congratulations on your new job and thank you for sharing. I too am returning to juggle a full time schedule this fall and have moments of high anxiety how will I manage the kids schedule and both my work schedules. Fear of being in the car on the beltway stuck in traffic everyday. Then I just have to stop worrying and have faith that when I jump I’ll find my wings and not fall flat on my face. The way I deal with driving the beltway is by listening to uplifting books on cd. I bought your books and all of my local libraries have multiple copies. Very glad you’ll still be posting as I look forward to reading your blog every morning over coffee. Thank you for continuing to share your struggles and triumphs with all of us.

  • Vince

    Congratulatons! I admire your courage. I’ve only been reading your blog for a short time, however, it provides good advice that I am using to help fight my depression. Knowing what you are doing in spite of the challenge of depression encourages me to reach down for the fortitude to get out of bed and do something.

  • Frank

    Therese, I’m praying and pulling for you. You have been given a wonderful opportunity – and I am convinced that you’ll be a blessing to many and be blessed! I’m expecting to hear/read of some terrific things. Be well and be assured that your many friends will be lifting you up with kindest and warmest of thoughts and prayers.

  • Mary

    Dear Therese,
    All the best to you in your new job. I sympathize with the driving part. The secret is to wait until your children start driving and have them shuttle you around for a change! Changing jobs is scary, but also exciting. Think of the friends you will meet, and the wonderful things that you will learn. And on top of everything, you are thinking about others but continuing Beyond Blue. Thank you for that. I have saved all the Beyond Blue emails I have received.
    I am facing a very scary experience. My daughter is off to college and I am finally divorcing my abusive husband. I have had to set it up carefully-my doctors have a list of the times I needed medical care because he became violent, my attorney also has a list of the times I have been abused. My therapist is ready, and I have a mentor set up for me and my daughter. Even with three antidepressants and two anti anxiety medications I still feel like I’m going to faint with fear. But I am moving on, too. I will pray for both of us.

  • veronica

    I am so happy for you. I pray that your job will be fulfilling and what you like and need and want to do right now. I pray each day for courage, strength, faith and belief and hope and to worry less and be less fearful and to realize I am not alone in my struggles and to stop feeling so alone and lonely in my struggles.
    I pray for direction and solutions and cooperation and time and life to be less hectic and more loving. I pray for better health and more energy every day and more work hours, I am trying to save my home and it is
    mind boggling to try and understand and get all in order. I drive home at midnight most nights from work and I am exhausted sometimes and feel that another 16 hour day done, thank God. I know that starting something new is exhausting too. You will be fine, you will be strong, and you will accomplish things that scare you. I know that I do it every day and just feel such relief when it is done. The Lord knows what we feel and need and also lets us make turns and twists in our life to learn and be ready for the next
    great adventure. I get weary. I get discouraged in myself and I let no one know, the work force is
    a political jungle with self promoting individuals that you have to be around and yet keep your faith.
    I wish you love and peace of mind and calm and great courage. God Bless.

  • Catherine Brooks

    I knew something was up for you as you usual humor has been missing for the summer. Your planning to have a stockpile of articles was perfect. See how corporate (actually better than them!)you are in managing your business. From home office to corp office is a challenge. Given your success with Beyond Blue…go for telecommuting big time! After orientation and getting to know your team and management, work a deal. The change in your management is always scary, but your courage, humor, and tenacity will win them to trust you and your experiene and skills. Your spirit and heart are strong and you will be fine.

  • Joy

    Congrats on your new job and stepping out in courage and faith when so many things are unknown. That’s very brave of you, and inspiring to us readers!

  • Linda Connolly

    Best wishes as you begin your new job. You will be a precious asset to the organization that you are joining!

  • Jill

    Congratulations Therese! While scary, you are once again proving an inspiration to those of us who read your postings. Doing those very things that scare the dickens out of you…..these are the things that “ordinary” folks might not see as as big a deal but those of us with off the charts anxiety can stand and applaud and KNOW how huge it is. And how huge a big deal every day it will continue to be……But you are doing it and that is incredible. Be proud of yourself! We are all certainly proud of you. :)

  • Joan

    Best wishes for you in your new endeavor! I know you will be successful.
    Regarding book sales not as expected, remember there are many factors at work here. The economy for one. Many of my friends and family members have lost jobs. I personally have lost multiple jobs in recent years with hospitals closing, and most recently my department being phased out in June. Other reasons for slower book sales: people lend books to one another or go to the library.
    As for doing one scary thing every day, wow, that’s a lot of scary stuff for a depressed person to manage. I must disagree with Eleanor Roosevelt in this instance. However, I love what she said about a woman being much like a tea bag, you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.
    I enjoy your posts and have personally benefited from your wisdom and shared experiences. In fact, I believe I have received more help online than from the years of therapy with multiple psychologists. Thanks for sharing!
    You are special person, a talented, intelligent, empathetic woman with the ability and dedication to succeed. Keep the faith and God bless.

  • barb quester

    dear therese, wow, i commend your bravery for putting yourself out there and taking a corporate position. they are getting a wonderful, funny, dedicated employee who will give all, as you have given us. i look forward to your Beyond Blue posts every day very much, and selfishly perhaps, i do pray you stay with Beyond Blue. that being said, i pray that your new job will lead you to new heights. don’t worry about the book sales. i know you are disappointed about that, but personally i think that those who didn’t buy it lost out. i love it. we never know what God has in store for us. but, if you feel Him leading you, you must follow your heart, because that’s where God lives. everything will work out the way it is supposed to. relax. easier said than done, coming from a woman who had to take a medical retirement, and that only came with a leap of faith. but, God did direct my path, and i am fine with His leadership. best of luck in your new endeavor!

  • Diane

    Congratulations on meeting your fear head-on. You are an inspiration to me. Good luck and have fun with your new job!

  • Mary Morin

    Ouch – this is hard! I enjoy your blogs, but I have great reservations about your new job…so much energy given to others. I cannot see how you will have time or your best self to give to those who matter most – your family. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” There will always be time to give more of you when your children are older. P.S. I fully expect to be vilified for this post!

  • sheila

    Hi Therese,
    Congratulations! You’re an inspiration!

  • KSG

    Thank you for your words of inspiration and wisdom.
    Advise for you in the corporate world – always be true to yourself. Always present yourself well and always have time to thank God, this will give you peace in the moments when you need them from those around you.
    Love the challenges with open arms – and let go your fears – use your fear as motivation and inspiration.

  • Nancy

    That was a very inspiring article! You often touch my heart. Best wishes at your new job and never stop writing. Thank you so much, Nancy :)

  • CJS

    Therese – Congratulations and best of luck to you in your new endeavor! You will do very well, I’m sure. This will be a huge life change for you as the corporate world can be wonderfully challenging and exhilarating, but also demanding and stressful. Keep in mind the inevitable office politics; they can perhaps more easily have a negative impact on those of us who deal with depression and/or anxiety. Thank you for your books and of course your posts. So glad you plan to continue with them for as long as you feel able to do so.

  • SuzanneWA

    My dear Therese – this is a MONUMENTAL point in your life, and I’m just so PROUD of you for following through (if this is TRULY the direction you feel the Lord is leading you) on accepting a consulting position in the corporate world. As you know, the “outside world” is full of corruption and lies…it’s HOW you react to what you will find “out there” that will determine how well you do your job. In 1968, I visited my Senator’s office in D.C., and found out that a job opening was available (full-time) for his Legislative Assistant’s secretary (yes, that’s what they called us back then). I went up to the “boss,” and said, “I would like to apply for the position.” He looked up at me…and said…”Manna from Heaven!” I filled out the application, and waited a whole weekend to find out if I was hired. I even lit a candle at Great Falls in anticipation of “good news.” On that Monday, I was told to come to the office – I had been accepted! It was truly my “dream job,” one that I had envisioned when I was only 12 years old. Unfortunately, less that two weeks into the job, I had a classic manic episode, and wound up in the psych ward of the hospital where 3 life-saving surgeries had been performed. I’m NOT telling you this to discourage you; just a small “nudge” for you to REALLY think this thing through and come to a VERY rational decision. Commutes can be Hell. The toll on your family life can be Hell. I’m sure you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of taking this job (and I assume you’ll be making more than a “decent” salary!), so my post is just for a “reality check.” As God is my witness, I wish you nothing but SUCCESS in your new endeavor. NO ONE deserves it MORE than you, and I just FEEL you will do whatever it takes to achieve your work goals. I so enjoy your “Beyond Blue” posts, and read every one. Only YOU know your true “calling.” Good luck, and “break a leg” (as actors commonly say before a performance to ward off “evil spirits”). You have my prayers and sincere love. So – GO FOR IT!!!

  • Tim

    Good Morning from the West Coast Therese:) Congratulations on your new job. I hope it blesses your life abundantly. Being one that commutes all over the San Francisco bay area daily, I know how easy it is to become impatient, frustrated, angry etc; but I discovered that even heavy commute traffic can be a blessing if we change our mind and our outlook. It is true that “it is what we make of it”. There is always something to be thankful for (things can always be worse) in addition to being an “outdoor classroom” teaching the wonder of human behavior! Good music also helps! I will continue to read your emails and look forward to them every day. Thank you for being a blessing to all of us:)

  • Connie W.

    Congrats, and I know you will do well, as long as you take some ‘alone time’ often; travel time can be used for prayer-time, and listening to praise-music. I enjoy reading your blog, and hope you have time to write it later on; at first you may not, but maybe later; you have to do what’s right for You! I’ll put you on my prayer list and be thinking of you, as you & your family adjust to the new schedule! =) Connie

  • Judy

    This makes a lot of sense. I recently awoke to my purpose in life, and it has presented itself to me in the form of a very strong yearning, which will not leave me no matter how impractical (and dangerous) it is. At times, I could not explain it to others, or even myself, except to say that I simply wanted it, or that it felt right, or that I belonged there.
    I am serving my God now, but I am also serving the self, because this is who I am. =3 God/The God, it seems, appeals to us in the way that will best get our attention.

  • hesbon

    This information is great and very educative. I agree with you that we must face that thing that scares us everyday because by doing it we shall build our strength of handling much more. thanks

  • Silvia

    I think we should not only talk to God and pray to Him, but also we should listen to him. Maybe by meditating. We should sit in the silence for a while and rather talk and talk to God, I think we should just pray that we understand his will, and if we aren’t able, then it’s meant to be that you don’t see what God wants from you now, and then we should yield to wherever the moment will take us by asking God to support us and give us strength and keep away the bad things from us. That’s just my humble opinion. Congratulations for the job. God bless us all.

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