Purpose and worth—yours right now
Recently, reading a sign on a message board that said, “Your life matters—God has a plan,” brought me a sense of great joy and gratitude for the healing and remarkable growth that have come to my thought and life through the study and practice of Christian Science.
I’ve found that if we’re questioning our worth or purpose, the Bible offers great encouragement from the records of individuals such as Abraham, Moses, and David. Their lives can give us courage, hope, and confidence in turning to God to define and carry out His purpose for us.
The Bible teaches that we are spiritual, made in God’s image and likeness. That fact is the basis for our inherent, unchanging value. As we understand and claim our immaculate, innocent, spiritual selfhood as whole, complete, and perfect, the truth of our relationship to the divine creator and of our Christlike nature unfolds in our thought. We begin to see that purposeful activity and meaningful lives are a divine right and gift from God, who is the Father and Mother of all, and who created us with the greatest purpose: to reflect and glorify Him.
The fact of God’s great spiritual purpose for all of us is of immeasurable help in our prayers for ourselves and the world. Contrary to mortal belief or human misperceptions, there are no worthless “throw-away” individuals who are insignificant, unimportant, valueless, useless, unworthy of God’s love and care. God, divine Love itself, loves all equally, dearly, and completely. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy assures us of this great truth: “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals” (p. 13).
Over the years I had struggled with downward, disparaging feelings about myself that had plagued periods of my life and, at times, spun me into bouts of depression. One day, when I was in the depths of despair, a marvelous angel message, a divine inspiration, came to me: God had a plan for me—not a sketchy or vague one, but a grand and profound purpose.
I wrote this on an index card and kept it with me. It was very lovely and reassuring to feel God’s love for me and know that He valued my spiritual identity as His loved child, but I asked myself, “What does this actually mean, and where do I go in my study and prayers to find out?” I wanted to understand more deeply what it meant that God’s children have profound worth and purpose.
Purposeful activity and meaningful lives are a divine right and gift from God.
As I continued to pray with this inspiration, I became aware of a wonderful message Mrs. Eddy sent to First Church of Christ, Scientist, New York City. It spoke to my heart. It says in part: “Goodness never fails to receive its reward, for goodness makes life a blessing. As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 165).
This helped me see how much God loves each of us and causes us to bear witness to His allness, to express His love and goodness, and helped shift my thought to a recognition of my true identity as His perfect, spiritual child. Little did I know that this growing understanding would wash away the false traits of selfish thinking and living that were underlying the depression I struggled with.
One of the ways this ongoing transformation of thought became evident was in my friendship with someone who often seemed unpleasant and demanding of me. I was resentful of what was expected of me in what appeared a one-sided relationship in which I did all the giving. But in praying about it I became more compassionate as I realized that inharmony had never gone on in God’s kingdom, and only goodness was truly a part of us. I saw that the situation presented an opportunity to go beyond a personal sense of self and love this individual—and myself—as a child of God.
In the paragraph following the previously cited passage, Mrs. Eddy continues with a beautiful measuring stick for our thoughts and actions. She writes: “He who is afraid of being too generous has lost the power of being magnanimous. The best man or woman is the most unselfed.” Looking up the word magnanimous in the dictionary I found: “elevated in soul or in sentiment; … exhibiting nobleness of soul; … not selfish.”
I asked myself why would I want to cling to a false, matter-based sense of identity that would deprive me of being magnanimous and of seeing the God-given goodness of others? I prayed constantly to see more clearly man as God knows us, to glorify God by expressing His love. This desire to be more loving and compassionate helped move my relationship with this person forward with an increased mutual respect for the spiritual qualities each of us expressed and brought to our friendship.
One day, this individual unexpectedly offered me a gift of significant value, which met a need before I even knew I had it. The difficult times of being together came to an end as our interchanges became more harmonious.
The Bible tells us, “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground” (Malachi 3:11). I understood the “devourer” to be the dark, false suggestions of the carnal mind that would try to rob us of our true identification as the blessed children of God, forever valued, worthy, individual in our spiritual expression of God. But we can never lose this true identity, whose source is God.
God, divine Love itself, loves all equally, dearly, and completely.
As I continued to affirm the truth of that original inspiration about God’s purpose for me, a new sense of purpose and definition came to my life, accompanied by overflowing good, rewarding activity and work, and service to others. With thought gradually shifting from a self-centered to a more God-centered base and focus, a higher, spiritual sense of identity and purpose in and of God became more real to me. Holding to these new spiritual views steadily and consistently deprived the dark thinking of any place or power in my experience. “The beam of Truth displaces / The darkness of the night” (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 2) perfectly describes the healing of depression that took place and has been permanent.
Each one of us can claim our natural receptivity to the Christ, which conveys our true identity as God’s reflection and as a part of His heavenly kingdom, a member of God’s divine family, forever inseparable from His love. We all have a meaningful, fulfilling, productive purpose—to glorify our heavenly Father—and the innate ability to demonstrate this now.