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A good purpose

From the March 21, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Sometimes in life, while obeying our highest sense of God’s direction, we feel led to take a huge leap into the unknown.

After working happily for several years in an office, but without a great deal of personal fulfillment, I was having lunch with a friend and she asked me, “What do you want to be doing?” I was surprised to hear my own answer, “I want to direct theater.” I had been involved with a number of productions over the years, so the idea of taking on a directorial role wasn’t too far-fetched, but certainly a long, long way off from where I was career-wise at that moment. 

As the months rolled by, the idea of enrolling in graduate school became clearer. I found a nearby university that turned out to be a perfect fit, and I started classes. During those months I was working and praying to be led to the right place after I graduated, to have the right motives, and to allow God to direct me in each step. 

I thought a lot about an idea someone else had expressed. Basically, it was that the more we surrender ourselves to God, the more we’ll be used for a greater purpose that also blesses and moves us forward. In other words, I realized: Follow God, and it’s a win-win!

Even though friends good-naturedly joked about seeing me on Broadway someday, I knew that I wasn’t interested in any goal or achievement other than following God’s will and recognizing myself as the reflection of the infinite Father-Mother, God. 

I began diligently looking for part-time work to make sure I had some funds coming in. I tried to be obedient and humble in my search, applying to jobs I might not have considered before. Nothing turned up. That’s about the time the panic started to set in. What was I thinking, leaving a perfectly good and stable job to pursue a career in what’s labeled as a wildly uncertain field? Especially at my age! 

As I looked to the month of May, with my classes, savings, and financial aid coming to an end, I found myself up late at night wondering what was going to happen to me. Would I be looked at as a fool for taking an ill-advised leap? Was I really following God’s direction, or had I been duped by my own ego and self-will?

After a few months of bouncing back and forth between feeling secure in God’s care for all His children (as I’d witnessed previously throughout my life) and feeling as if I were on a runaway train to disaster, I finally decided I couldn’t keep on like this; I really needed to take a spiritual stand. It was time to dig deeper in my understanding about what I’d learned about God’s care. 

I thought about Christ Jesus’ example of God caring for even the sparrow (see Matthew 10:29–31). So it followed that He would care for each one of His children, including me. But could I really let go of the fear and put my full faith in God, who is Love? Could I actually be that trusting as a follower of Christ?

I really needed to take a spiritual stand.  

There were a few very dark nights as I wrestled with those questions. I sometimes felt miserably alone, afraid, and helpless. But I came to recognize that most of the challenge was handling the fear. I came to see that despite whatever picture or circumstance mortal belief was presenting, I could trust the spiritual fact that man is always a spiritual idea, held forever in the perfection of divine Mind. And as the reflection of Mind, we are governed, here and now, only by what God knows about us as His perfect, loving, obedient children, impelled by His divine command. We do not need to be tossed around by anxiety, doubt, self-will, or discouragement. 

Whenever I worried that it was perhaps too late, and that fear had already taken an irreversible toll on my path, I remembered Mary Baker Eddy’s statement from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Fear never stopped being and its action” (p. 151). Then, as the fear subsided for good, opportunities began to develop. I was asked to be the stage manager for a production that coming summer and was also asked to fill in for a co-worker at my old office for the month after my graduation.

I began thinking about the adjectives in the answer to the question in Science and Health “What is God?” (p. 465): “incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite.” A little prayer came to me: “My place, incorporeal; my purpose, divine.” I realized that my place was always spiritual and not based on a physical location, job, or human options. And my purpose wasn’t based on me as mortal with a human history, career, or human will, but came directly from God, and I could humbly allow God to use me for a good purpose. 

I was calm and clear that God would provide.

After that, I was calm and clear that God would provide for me—well, to be more accurate, I was clear on the concept that since God had already created me spiritually as a complete idea, the unique expression of Him, I was already whole and always had been. And I knew this truth would clear away any fears I had that would limit my demonstration of that truth. So I saw it wasn’t that God would “reach down” from spiritual reality to orchestrate goodness for a prayerful individual human, but that God’s, divine Principle’s, laws of harmony are always in operation, and I could know that for myself and everyone. 

As I hung on to these ideas, even though my prospects looked slim and my funds were running low, it was a lot easier to sleep at night. I knew things would work out—that I could trust and I could continue listening as to where God was leading me.

During my temporary return to the office, my old job became available. The thought of returning to a job I had decided to exit sounded flat-out nuts, but after humbly listening, I saw how it could be a perfect answer to my needs. So I swallowed my pride and went through the application process, ready to let things work out in the way that was best for all concerned. And I got the job!

About the same time, I started spending time with a group that was starting up a new theater company, which has led to acting and directing opportunities I never could have foreseen. I’m still shaking my head at how this all came about with very little human effort from me, except for my efforts to know and understand God’s will. But I don’t think the plan was necessarily for me to be a theater professional—it was to be open, loving, patient, and supportive of those around me, and not to let fear keep me from acknowledging the good that is here and now. 

Because all good comes from the eternal, infinite God, not from a human set of circumstances, God’s eternal plan for me is always good, and I just need to keep trusting and waiting on God, and letting myself be guided by Him. Although I’m fine with no more big “leaps” for a while, I’ve also come to realize that trusting God with all my heart and not leaning on my own understanding (to paraphrase Proverbs 3:5), is the way to go. It’s not about either taking risks or playing it safe. It’s about being consistently willing to follow God’s guidance. I’m ready to see where the road leads next!

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