“Oh, Pamela, you’re so funny!” That’s what a friend said to me when I suggested to him that we didn’t need to make a plan about whether or when we would next talk—that we could trust God to let us both know at the right time. I reassured him I was not kidding—that I turn to God continually before I make a move. I don’t use an alarm clock, because I trust God will awaken me at the appropriate time. I don’t make a list of daily to-do’s and I go shopping without a grocery list; I know Mind never forgets, so I trust I won’t, either. I shared with my friend how it was that I had arrived at this approach he found so astonishing.
For 20-plus years I worked in the business world—most of the time as a partner in a national management consulting firm. For the last several years of my business career, I worked as an independent consultant, from my home office. I have always been quite disciplined, so each morning, I got up, dressed for work, and then, instead of driving to an office, I simply walked down the hall to my office and got to work.
When I was first establishing my consulting practice, I struggled with a sense of personal responsibility. True, I genuinely wanted to help my clients accomplish their goals, but in the process, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be always available, no matter when a client called.
As I studied Christian Science and applied its teachings to my consulting work, I realized that I could ask God to order my day. And I could expect His order to be clear and practical—gracefully accommodating everyone’s needs. I found a phrase from a hymn encouraging: “Our Father answers every call” (Minny M. H. Ayers, Christian Science Hymnal, Hymn 139). With this in mind, I reasoned that my business was entirely in God’s hands. He wouldn’t allow any client’s call to go unanswered, and He would make sure I was available to answer the phone as needed. I started to ask God absolutely everything. For example, in the morning I would ask, “Father, is it time to take a shower?” And He would answer—not literally, of course, but I would ask, pause, and then know how to proceed. That continued throughout the day. It was amazing to see how God managed every minute detail of my work when I asked for and then followed the direction that came to me from God. Over and over I found that, just at the precise moment I sat down at my desk, the phone would ring. And no one ever called while I was in the shower.
Thus began a continuing and lifelong endeavor of turning to God, moment by moment, throughout the day. Eventually, this approach became the norm, until I didn’t make a move that wasn’t initiated and impelled by God. What a relief to learn that there is no decision too big or too small for God!
My friend and I were having this conversation in the context of an ongoing discussion of meaningful employment. The connection between trusting that God is ordering every event of your day and finding fulfilling, lucrative employment is this: Each of us has a specific purpose, defined and sustained by God. As we faithfully and obediently pursue God’s good purpose for us, we can proceed with confidence in this promise: “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21). God is always there to direct your path.
Nothing can cause you to hide your light under a bushel. You were made to shine.
Whether you are commuting to an office or a manufacturing plant or a retail store, running a family business or working from home, raising your children, teaching at a university, performing with a symphony orchestra, or doing any number of myriad activities, your only real, enduring activity is to express God’s purpose for you. And you have a right to know what that is. As you repeatedly turn to God for even the tiniest detail, you gain confidence in the fact that God is, indeed, directing all aspects of your life. So you can ask Him to show you your purpose. And you can be confident that He will.
I thought later that if I were to write a letter to my friend, I might say something like this:
God has a purpose for you, and it is inevitable that you fulfill it. Even if it’s not yet clear what your purpose is, you can affirm that you do have a God-given purpose—and can daily embrace it, acknowledge it, and claim it as yours.
You are one of a kind. No one else possesses your distinct set of talents and experiences. So you have a unique contribution to make. Nothing can cause you to hide your light under a bushel. You were made to shine.
Mary Baker Eddy assured us in Retrospection and Introspection, “Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity” (p. 70). Note that you don’t have to find your niche—it’s already established. You simply fill it.
In a sense, you work for God, and it is God alone that you want to please. And you already have His approval, because He knows you as He made and maintains you—in His image and likeness, perfect and complete. You can relax and rejoice in that eternal fact. When you know this with your whole heart, even if you encounter obstacles along the way—as we all invariably will—you will more readily find a way of eliminating them, as you learn to acknowledge that every step you take is made through no effort of your own, but supported and sustained by God’s power and grace.
You can be confident in your work because it derives from God Himself. The Bible promises, “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). God’s work, through you, cannot be hindered, impeded, slowed, sidetracked, diminished, or stopped. As you progress in your understanding of this eternal fact, you can trust that the Christ—which Science and Health describes as “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332)—is moving through you to bless your work, and you are free to do what God has planned for you.
Your purpose cannot be taken from you, and no one else can fulfill it. Claim it, delight in it, and give thanks for it. By doing so you will be blessed, and the world will be blessed as well.
With love, Pamela
Pamela Cook is a Christian Science practitioner in New York City.