My thoughts determine my attitude. To change my attitude I have to change my thoughts.

Be grateful. Just last week as I watched the stock market take a dive, I got a momentary feeling of panic and fear. I quickly went through the steps above and landed breathlessly on this last step.

I determined that there is nothing I can do about the stock market. Nothing. And for that I decided to be grateful.

If I did have the power to control the stock market, just imagine how much I would be in demand. I’d be summoned to Wall Street. I would be pulled from one bank to the next, compelled to work my magic in that bank’s favor. As good as I might be, ultimately no one would be happy with the ways that I controlled and manipulated the market.

This would lead to being hauled into a congressional hearing to be grilled before the senate finance committee because, believe it or not, it is quite illegal to manipulate the markets.

Of course, this would not end up well because I would be sent to federal prison. As nice as some of those Club Feds are known to be, incarceration would only create new fears that I do not want to deal with.

So, I gave thanks for my woeful inadequacies in being able to do anything about the financial markets.  So much for that fear.

Hand it off. In the end, whatever fear remains, I ask God to take it. I picture myself handing it off to him, in faith. He knows my needs and cares about my wants. I can only see a few feet ahead, a day at the most. He sees my entire life. He never sleeps so that I can.

Years ago, my husband and I were driving through California’s Mojave Desert at night on our way across country. It was my turn to drive, while he slept. Let me tell you, it was dark!

What struck me in the black stillness of the night, was how the headlights were not lighting the entire way. Those two beams of light illuminated about 30 feet in front of us. From my spot behind the wheel I could easily see where the light ended. But as I moved into that light, the light moved ahead just a little bit more—lighting the way to our destination, thirty feet at a time.

Playing a game of chicken with myself, I got up the nerve to turn off the headlights for just a couple of seconds just to see how dark it really was. Not a good idea. Intellectually, I knew we would be fine for just a few seconds, but my brain could not overcome my emotions. Instant panic sent chills down my spine.

Without the light we would have come to a full and complete stop—stuck in the middle of the desert until daybreak.

Darkness can immobilize other areas of our lives as well. If we don’t know how to switch on the light, we become paralyzed with fear—stuck in the dark.

As you face the dark places in your life, remember this: You need only enough light for the steps you’re on. Move forward into the light.

Take that leap of faith and you’ll be amazed how the light will move ahead providing just enough light for the next step, the next and on and on until the fear melts away as you reach your destination.

This article appeared originally at Debt-Proof Living on October 31st, 2012. 

"Debt-Proof Living" was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt.  What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt.  Today, "The Cheapskate Monthly" is read by close to 100,000 Cheapskates.  Click here to subscribe.

Publication date: November 12, 2012