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Do You Believe in Signs?

I’ve mentioned this briefly before, but ever since I became self-employed, things just seem to fall into place in a way that’s almost creepy. Just when I’m freaking out about money, an invoice gets paid early or I have a good month for blog income. When I look at my schedule and panic because I’m running out of work, more quote requests come in and I find myself booked 6-8 weeks ahead.

No matter what challenges I face with my business (and this is true in other areas of my life as well), something always happens and it works out okay. Not perfect, but okay. I can’t tell you how many times I have been absolutely terrified and lying in my bed awake at night, only to watch it all resolve itself shortly after. Some people would say it’s a sign from God. Others call it good karma. Still others call it luck. Personally, I don’t know what to call it because this is the first time in my life I’ve been able to recognize it. I just know I hope it doesn’t go away!

Here’s why I have a hard time with this. So things in my life have gone okay. I see that and I’m grateful for it. But what about when it doesn’t work that way for other people? Does that mean that I’m somehow more deserving, or that they’re less deserving? So many people I know are dealing with horrible things in their lives, and while I guess things could always be worse, they aren’t getting the same kind of respite I’ve been fortunate enough to receive.

Also, let’s say this is a sign from God (or karma or whatever) and I’m supposed to interpret it, as a friend told me, as a sign that I’m meant to be doing what I’m doing. So what does that mean when things don’t work out? Does that mean I’m making a horrible mistake? Does that make the happy endings mere coincidence? Or has the “save the day” moment just not happened yet?

I’m Confused. How About You?

In my mind, if I accept that the good things in my life are a reward for whatever I’m doing right, I must also accept that the negatives are a punishment for the things I do wrong. But is it really that black and white?

If my income is zero next month and my business fails, leaving me to apply for “real” jobs (because that worked out SO well before), that would be devastating to me. I would get upset and pissed off and feel that my streak of fate/luck/karma/blessings has come to an end. But in the future, I might look back and say, “You know, that was for the best,” like I have with so many other things in my life.

I don’t know. I’ve always been kind of Eeyore – I’m not typically a “lucky” person and I get involved in some of the weirdest situations you can imagine. I’ve done a lot of stupid things and suffered the consequences of those mistakes. As a result, I’m always scared to be optimistic because I might curse myself. (This runs in my family because we ALL tend to have the same kind of luck.)

So many people lose faith or hope when things go wrong. We aren’t always able to see the bigger picture or understand why certain things happen the way they do. And I never want to be one of those people, so it’s hard for me to accept the good in my life as anything but a cool thing that may not ever happen again. That way I’m not upset if the streak I’m on comes to an abrupt or depressing end.

But in the meantime, I’d just like to express how glad I am that 2012 has been such a great year for me so far. *knocks on wood*

What do you think? Do you believe in signs? Any examples of obvious good fortune (or bad) in your life that influenced the way you think about this topic?



  1. I absolutely believe in signs – there's no doubt in my mind. I've had too many of those experiences (as you described) when life seems to be swirling towards the bottom of the toilet bowl, and then something happens and everything marches on better than before. I also believe there is a reason for everything that happens to us in life – no matter how trivial. For example, I believe I met you just so you can say "Good Morning" to me at the same time I say "Good night" to you. Great post, opposite schedule friend!

  2. I think there is good and bad and ups and downs in everyone's life. It's really hard to say when something good happens that it's from something you've done. I don't think it's an exact science. I wish it was because it would make life a lot easier to figure out.

  3. I also find the idea of a good life as the reward for being good extremely problematic… it turns God into my personal genie, and there are so many fortunate people who do bad things and selfless, amazing people who always seem to get the short end of the stick. But I also notice in my own life that things tend to work out just in the nick of time, and I think the universe does give us signs that we're on the right path sometimes, usually when we need encouragement or affirmation in the face of doubt.

    • That is EXACTLY what bothers me about it. I can't wrap my head around the idea that God just sits around waiting to snap his fingers when I do something the way I'm supposed to. There are too many tragedies and too many people who are horrible and always come out on top.

      It's so hard for me to determine exactly how I think it happens, but I'm just glad it's happening! For the moment anyway.

  4. Looking back, there have been a lot of times when I've been saved at the last minute from financial disaster. It's weird how things work out like that!
    Also I love the Eeyore reference, made me chuckle 🙂

    • It really IS weird. It freaks me out a little. I actually had some unexpected money come in WHILE I WAS WRITING THAT POST and I'm like, holy crap! Maybe I should write about this more often!

  5. Wherever we go, there we are.

    I always believe things work out for the best, even when they seem not to in the beginning.

    • I agree with that some of the time. However, I can't believe that something tragic, like someone losing a child, is ever "for the best." That's where I struggle – with the exceptions that seem to throw everything else off.

  6. So…I have always believed that the things that happen to us in life happen for a reason. That includes the sucky things. However I also think that our actions directly influence what will happen. So it's a mix of 'you reap what you sow' and 'there is a greater pattern to the world'.

    For one, we get a choice in how we live yet on the other hand, intermingled with those choices are aspects that we have no control over and much trust in ourselves and/or what we consider divine to move beyond the difficult times. I look at it like this: Today you are the windshield and tomorrow you might be the bug so keep appreciating what you have and continue to move on with the understanding that one day it might not be so great.

    • I have to believe that things happen for a reason or else my whole worldview falls apart!

      What you said at the end is exactly where I am. I try to be excited when things go well, but always with the understanding that it could unravel at my feet tomorrow.

  7. I am also an “Eyeore”…it’s the nickname my boyfriend lovingly calls me. It’s hard to be optimistic, especially when it seems things NEVER go your way. Lately, I’ve also been having some good “luck”, but I don’t see it as that. Good things have finally been happening to me because I feel for the first time in my life I DESERVE good things and I’m willing to make them happen.

    As Bethenny Frankel says, I am coming from a “place of yes”, instead of a place “Yes…but…”

    • Oooh, I like that way of thinking and the quote as well. Reminds me of when I got divorced – I finally realized that I deserved to be happy and it was amazing what capacity for happiness I learned that I had.

  8. I'm a believer in signs — and as long as you continue to attract the right things, you're doing everything right. When things don't work out, I believe it's because we were so worried that they wouldn't work that we ended up attracting the negativity we were putting out there. The biggest hurdle for you, it seems, is to stop at "everything is going my way" and fully embrace that you deserve to have things go your way. Even if there are starving children in Africa.

    • Good points, and something for me to ponder… I need to read that copy of "The Secret" I've got lying around, because it sounds kind of similar. Be the change you want to see and all that.

  9. You know, it's not necessarily something as profound as visible displays of faith or living right. Your life is different now than it was while you were employed elsewhere and deeply in debt. You've been working steadily at building your business, which is never easy, simple, or uncomplicated, and I feel certain there has been a good amount of blood, sweat, and tears put into your success thus far. You are wise to be cautious and concerned about the future. But as I see it, some of what you describe could be directly attributed to the natural, positive progression of your hard work, and it is okay to relax a minute and accept the good fortune as appropriate and deserved.

    • Thanks for sharing your point of view! I think there's a lot of truth in that – it doesn't always have to be a big huge thing; sometimes it could just be a cause and effect thing. My business is working because *I* am working hard at making it successful. I've gotten so much good feedback so far – I have a LOT to think about!

  10. I feel they exist to a point but I also believe that hard work is the cause of a lot of them. I'd say over all I've been pretty lucky in life but if you really looked at it I put in a ton of hard work as well!

  11. I think and firmly believe that life has a way of working out. Sometimes not in the way that we hoped for, but things work out.

    I'm happy that things are going well for you.

  12. I believe life takes care of you if you're open to it. I think people miss so many opportunities for good things just because they're closed minded to it. I try to look at every situation and determine how to maximize it.

    I'm still subscribing to the zen buddhism belief that everything that happens is the best possible thing to happen to me at that time 😉

  13. I absolutely believe in signs and there have been plenty of times where I questioned why I was going through a particular rough patch–but it ALWAYS works out. And if other people are still in a rough patch, it's because they haven't reached the end yet. When I was job search at the end of 2010, I had interviewed for my "dream job" and was so sure that I had the position. I was extremely qualified for it. When I didn't get it, I was so crushed. I HATED my job at the time, and this was a significant blow. Two months later, I got the job I have now and I could not be happier. GREAT pay, amazing benefits. At the time when I was rejected, I could not see the end point, just black. Looking back now, I am so grateful I didn't get that "dream job". Stuff like this happens to me a lot, so I've learned to trust in Him more often. Right now, something heavy is weighing on me, but I am trusting in Him that it will work out because He has always pulled through for me in the past. It makes me worry less–but yes, I still worry, I'm still human : )

  14. "In my mind, if I accept that the good things in my life are a reward for whatever I’m doing right, I must also accept that the negatives are a punishment for the things I do wrong. But is it really that black and white?"

    You should read the book Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman. This is not a woo-woo self-help book; Seligman is one of the leading researchers in the field of psychology. This book describes the first 20-25 years of his research, and the conclusions he's drawn.

    To the point — and this is way simplified, so read the whole book — the most successful, happy, and healthy people actually believe that bad things that happen are temporary, limited, and not their fault. But they respond to good events with the belief that this will continue forever, it will improve their whole life, and it's because they're awesome.

    It's not consistent or rational. But a little irrationality is apparently good for us.

  15. seedebtrun says

    I used to be so stupidly optimistic that I just assumed we'd always do alright like we always had in the past. When we fell into this mess, I never felt like we must have done something wrong or that karma was finally onto us; I just felt like…stuff happens. I do sometimes wonder if everything happens for a reason, though, because if I hadn't gotten into so much debt, I wouldn't have agreed to starting our blog! From that one decision, lots of things have happened–mostly positive. I've met lots of cool people and will get to meet you all in person in September. I do sometimes wonder if it's all a fluke, or if there's a reason and a purpose for it all. Ehh….probably all a toss-up, but hopefully it will be a looooong time before we find out for sure. 😉

  16. colette130 says

    I saw a quote once that said something like "Things happen for a reason – but sometimes the reason is that you make bad choices".

    I've had things that all seem related (e.g. give money to charity, get a cheque in the mail from an insurance company that is changing its structure, to use a particularly random example), but I think there is a large element of randomness, too (e.g. a child with a critical illness, getting struck by lightning) that has nothing to do with goodness or efforts.

    A lot of your examples, though, are somewhat in your control. For example,,, running out of work and getting quote requests is partially because you're delivering on your current commitments and word gets around. It's not entirely in your control, but it's not like there's a job fairy dropping things in your lap, either.

  17. Budget & the Beach says

    I have no idea. I've thought about it often myself. That's why I like parts of the law of attraction, and hate other parts. I mean if it was totally true, then every single plane I've ever been on would have crashed. I have been through some tough times in the last four years. I try not to focus on whether it's bad luck or karma or whatever. I really try hard to just focus on what I do have…that's real. I don't know how things will work out. I just try to stay positive and keep moving forward…

  18. I think you are reaping the rewards of solid preparation and in immense amount of effort put into succeeding at doing what you love. I dont think that you are seeing signs, you are seeing your efforts paying off.

  19. I believe there is a higher power watching over all of us. We all have ups and downs and how up or down they are depends on our outlook on our life. I try to look at the glass as half full, it's a choice I make every day.

  20. eemusings says

    I don't like to admit it but I definitely do believe in 'signs'.

    I don't know what I think about luck and karma. I've been lucky in many ways – when things were bad at home things fell in line so that I could move out at 17. I got a full scholarship. I got an internship that led to a PT job that led to a FT job after graduation. My next job found me, rather than vice versa.

    Yet financially we've had a lot of bad things happen – multiple burglaries, car accidents, etc. T seems to be a magnet for trouble, and I always urge him to never ever err on the wrong side of anything because if anything can go wrong for him, it will.

  21. Teinegurl says

    Yes i do believe in signs , karma, and "everything happens for a reason" good or bad. I think you freelancing is helping you hone your skills for your next possible "real" job or may be the road to financial freedom you never know. Shoots i wish you would teach me your secrets , I am your grasshopper sensai teach me!! People always have the gut feeling and you just have to listen to it. We all have doubts, worrys (sp?) that keep us up at night or yes even God. Even though im not religious at all (egonostic) I like the bible passage where jesus have 2 loaves of bread and 3 fish to feed like 1,000 people and when it comes time to feed everyone there was enough food in his basket to feed everyone. So i like to think that in times of need God will provide in context of course. Sometimes bad things do happen but if you have at least your health you know you can always go out and get what you lost once more or even better.

  22. I strongly believe in the power of Prayer.(I also believe that prayers works regardless of which "god" a person prays too, but that's a whole different post.) Without going into details, which are pretty amazing, I first noticed God answering my direct prayers as a teenager. It started in very simple ways which I then began to test. For example a woman I did not know lost an earring in the store I was working at and was very upset. I prayed that it would be found, searched the dressing rooms again and found it in the corner of the first place I looked. From those simple experiences, which I believe God provided to help build my faith, I began to pray every day. I soon learned that this didn't work like a "genie in the bottle" wish fulfillment, and God does work in His own time. However, I can honestly say I have received everything I have ever prayed for. So why does my life suck sometimes and why do other people "suffer"? In my belief it is not at all about "good" or "bad". It is about God's plan for each of us and as hard as it is to believe, there is something to be found in the worst of times, such as the tragic death of children. I'm not saying I am one of those people who could, say, use such tragedy to build a national awareness organization against drunk driving (I'd likely spent out my days in an institution) but I do believe everyone has a purpose and sometimes a person's purpose is to suffer in order that other's don't have to. It doesn't always make sense and if we try to make Prayer work in a logical way, on our time, the logical arguments fall apart pretty quickly. But this is the point of Faith and knowing that however illogical and impossible it may seem, God is actually in control and does give us signs to show us when we are on the path He wants us to take, versus the path we choose for ourselves. I don't believe it is a matter of everything being perfect, it is matter of being able to state, 'It is well with my soul", and knowing, on a level much deeper than financial security, that you are where you need to be at this moment.

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