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SUCCESS IN A BUSINESS CHALLENGE

From the July 17, 2006 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


One February evening several years ago, I came home from work and found a message from my sister on my answering machine, saying that she was moving to California with her family in less than a month. (I learned later that she had found it too difficult to tell me in person, knowing how much it would upset me.)

My sister and I were very close, and managed a family business together. I didn't want to believe this was happening. I loved her dearly and couldn't imagine life without her.

However, much to my surprise, almost immediately an inner voice said, "You "ll be Ok." I realized that this must be an angel message from God, but at the time, I didn't fully understand it. I listened instead to the much louder suggestion that was screaming, "How will I manage without her?" I felt I had a tremendous amount to learn, and that it wouldn't come easily.

The seasonal farm market we had managed for 20 years was opening in three months. I lay awake night after night in anxiety over what the season would be like—the management decisions that I would now have to make alone, the countless tasks involving staffing, timing, inventory, pricing, ordering, contacts with vendors. It felt like a huge responsibility.

Still, I knew that I needed to pray about the situation as I'd always done before when challenges arose. My family agreed to open the season a little later than usual, which gave me extra time to prepare. I realized that relying on the truths of Christian Science would give me know-how I needed, and subdue my fears of inadequacy.

I continually reminded myself of Jesus' words, "With God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). The more I resolved to lean on God instead of my own ability, the more clearly it appeared to me that I could accomplish what I needed to do. God's sustaining power was the source of my strength. The work that was mine to do came from Him, and with it, the joy, preparation, and capacity to fulfill His purpose. Though I sometimes struggled with thoughts of "Why me?" I flet comforted in knowing that God would never put me in a situation that I couldn't handle or wasn't ready for. This assurance also buoyed my confidence: "Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself" (Science and Health, p.385).

Over the years, my sister had performed a number of tasks that I had never officially learned how to do. But as I prayed about this, I realized that both she and I were governed by the same infinite divine Mind, God. I affirmed that as I listened to this all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting Mind for guidance, the ideas and understanding that I needed at every stage would be revealed. Not only did I claim this spiritual truth for myself, but for my employees as well.

As the work got underway, step by step I followed God's direction, and eventually gained the skills to complete my sister's responsibilities. I gradually delegated some managerial projects to the more experienced staff members, and was grateful when they accomplished them well. When things were difficult, I reminded myself to stand still and see God at work—to let go of my own will and perceive God's harmonious control of the entire activity.

The spiritual facts underlying Mrs. Eddy's statement that "divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (ibid., p.494), supported my prayers about employing staff. When I resolved to turn from the limiting thought that there weren't enough employees available to do the work, I felt the calm assurance that Love would sufficiently meet the employment needs of the farm. My husband offered to adjust his work schedule so that he'd be more available to help. Most of the workers from the previous season returned. And I managed to hire and train enough new employees to cover all of our needs. This proved to me that provision for our daily needs stems from our willingness to trust wholeheartedly in God and to obey His leadings.

When it seemed as if there was too much work and too little time, I found encouragement in the idea of measuring time "according to the good that is unfolded" (ibid., p.584). Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks that weren't yet finished, I would express gratitude to God for all the good work that had already been completed. I discovered adjustments that resulted in more efficient management of the business, and creative ways to streamline deliveries, paperwork, and the number of vendor contacts. The more thankful I was for the good already in evidence, the easier it became to cross items off my "to do" list.

Consistent, resolute prayer had put me on a new track. I began to see more clearly that I wasn't struggling mortal living in a material world, laboring under a burden of too many responsibilities. Instead, I was at work in God's kingdom, expressing His qualities of freedom, harmony, order, productivity.

As far as filling that emptiness I'd felt so keenly at first, I learned that God was the source of my happiness, and that I wasn't dependent on other individuals or on particular circumstances for support. I found great joy in nurturing my relationship with God. Knowing that because He was always with me, I would always have perfect companionship completely lifted me out of the loneliness and doubt that had plagued me.

After I had managed the farm market for two seasons, my sister called to tell me that she was moving back and planned to work with me again. I was thrilled, but I felt a calm peace in knowing that I wasn't dependent on her presence to feel fulfilled. I finally understood that I was the complete and satisfied child of my Father-Mother God.

Of course, it was wonderful to have my sister home again. But the spiritual understanding I gained from this experience was more important. Now when I feel overwhelmed by a demand, I lean on the truths I learned, knowing that once again, I'll find answers.


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