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When news of pending layoffs hit her office, Jen Scheuermann made a choice that helped keep her peace. 

With only a few minutes to spare before my first patient would arrive, I tapped my keyboard, bringing to life the computer before me. Sipping my coffee, I quickly skimmed the first few paragraphs of an email. Before getting very far, though, bolded words began to jump from the screen: difficult steps … reducing the size of our workforce … eliminating positions … those impacted would receive a calendar invite later that day.  

With no chance to even process the words I’d just read, the door to my shared office space opened and a co-worker entered. “Did you see the email?” she asked.

Suddenly aware that I was holding my breath, I exhaled as I answered, “Yes. It seems the rumors were true.” I didn’t know what to think. I had no word to describe the odd mix of feelings running through me—shock, concern, anxiety. Would I be affected? I didn’t think so, but there was no way to know for certain.   

I stepped away to see my first patient, but returning to my office later that morning, I found it filled with the nervous chatter of my coworkers. They were speaking of friends and colleagues who had been let go. In many ways there seemed to be no rhyme or reason behind who was laid off and who kept their job—a fact that only heightened the tension in our office.

I walked to my desk, glancing at the faces of those I shared an office with and tasting their anxiety, fear, anger, and sorrow. In that very moment, I made a conscious choice: I slipped in my earbuds and turned on worship music. Lyrics reminding me of God’s goodness, His promise to carry me through any storm, and His neverending love for me filled my ears. Soon, I began to breathe a little easier.  




As the day progressed, I listened to worship music whenever possible. Whether reviewing a patient’s chart, answering messages, or eating lunch, I made certain to keep the Truth of who God is and what He promises as my background music. And during every free moment I was unable to listen to music, I prayed. Whether silently reciting a Hail Mary or petitioning God’s blessing on all who were affected, I prayed without ceasing. In turn, I was able to stand in a space filled with uncertainty and surrounded by the unpleasant emotions of others without being personally overcome by them. I was able to remain at peace. 


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I made certain to keep the Truth of who God is and what He promises as my background music. #CatholicMom


Ultimately I was not laid off. None of my close friends or coworkers were either. I suppose some would say that because I was not personally impacted, my situation wasn’t really that stressful. While that may be true, I feel certain that if this situation had taken place a few years ago, before I came to know God as the true source of my hope and peace, it would have played out much differently. I would have been unable to go through the entire day with my soul at peace. 

Turning to worship music and rooting myself in prayer were very intentional moves—moves I’ve been blessed to learn. But being able to notice my emotional shift in the moment—in this case, that subtle onset of my anxiety—and then pausing and going to God before reacting, well, I consider this a grace from God. And I pray He continues to grace me with the presence of mind to do just this each time the waves around me begin to pick up. 



Copyright 2023 Jennifer Scheuermann
Images: Canva