Empty net syndrome

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

As a mom of an adult child, I try not to worry, try being the operative word here. Some days are easier than others to trust that God's plan is in charge of every situation. Otherwise, worry becomes a condition that consumes my normal cheerful self.

My daughter does freelance work, so when her industry is in a slump, her opportunities to find work are limited. Her expertise is in publishing, and every time I read about a magazine's closing, I know that means even greater competition for very few openings. So I worry, and it doesn't help her or make me feel happy or at peace.

It's time to battle the "empty net syndrome." The fish aren't biting. The net is empty. What will she do? I go to work with my Bible to find a solution to this problem, not just for my daughter but for anyone facing this situation.

Sigh. Sigh again. Finally, I caught my husband's attention. "What's the matter?" he asked. "Well, I've been researching unemployment in the Bible and I'm not really finding very much," I replied.

Giving up his Sunday newspaper- reading ritual, he joined me in my project. As a lawyer, he loves research and is often called upon by other attorneys to do legal research.

We both agreed that the story in the Bible about the disciple Peter, who went out to fish and caught nothing after an entire night of fishing, was a good example of a frustrated attempt to gain with very little result (see Luke 5:1–11).

Jesus asked Peter to go back out and try again. Without discussing the weather or water currents of the area and the way they affected fishing potential, Jesus asked Peter to cast his net on the right side. Peter did so, but sometimes I wonder if he might have thought he was just being courteous to this stranger. As soon as he dropped his net in, though, he caught more fish than the net could hold. He had to call over some of his partners to help him with the haul.

My husband had found so many great supporting Bible passages from the Old and New Testaments, and I realized what made the difference. My study was focused on lack; his research had centered on abundance, prosperity, and increase. What a difference this perspective made in gaining spiritual altitude, rather than my feeling grounded in the gloomy opposite.

We don't have to surrender to the empty net syndrome. There are fishes galore! And, of course, the end of the story about Peter is that he realized Jesus was not just showing him a way to get more fish, but to turn to God for every need and never doubt the result. He followed Jesus after that and became a "fisher of men."

One of the books I love to use when I research a topic and need a key to the Scriptures is "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy. She felt that Peter's following Jesus' instruction symbolized the life-transforming effect his teachings had on the disciples. She wrote, "Convinced of the fruitlessness of their toil in the dark and wakened by their Master's voice, they changed their methods, turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side" (pg. 35).

Can we look forward to our own nets overflowing as we cast them on the side of spiritual reality and not become ensnared into accepting a downward trend to our employment outlook? What is the right side of the boat? The one that looks to God to expect prosperity and abundant opportunities. We can express the qualities of His gifts. You know your unique skills and how they can bless others. Those gifts are qualifications that someone is looking for right now.

My daughter called me up the other day. She does that now and then, just to keep me smiling. "Guess what, mom? An advertising agency just hired me for a project that will last two weeks!" "That's great, Robyn," I said, as if I'd known it all along.

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove

me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:10

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