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How to succeed in school

From the September 18, 2017 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Before high school, everything seemed so easy. I believed I was smart. I believed I could handle anything that came my way.

Then freshman year started.

My classes were nowhere near as easy as middle school classes. I struggled to keep up with the material and to stay on top of the massive amounts of homework. 

Even athletics had gotten harder. It was disconcerting to find myself struggling in sports that I’d loved and excelled at my whole life.

These school pressures, combined with the fact that I was drifting away from my closest friends, left me dazed in a way that I hadn’t ever experienced. I believed the reason I was struggling was my own fault—that I just wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t strong enough, and didn’t have any friends to support me. I stopped caring about my schoolwork and my relationships and just let the year go by, hoping that I could return the next year and somehow have everything work out.

That summer I attended a camp for Christian Scientists. The camp was in a place that I absolutely loved and was full of people that I looked up to and grew very close to over the course of the summer. During that time, I loved feeling and expressing the family-like qualities of unconditional love, support, and joy. As a result, I made a bunch of new friends who were genuinely there for me. 

Just like a reflection in a mirror can’t help but be like what’s in front of the mirror, we also can’t help but reflect God’s qualities; we are His reflection.

I was also digging into my study of Christian Science. Every day, we read the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson together, and I made a sincere effort to take in every ounce of inspiration I could from it and to pray with that inspiration when challenges came up. One idea I found particularly powerful was that just like a reflection in a mirror can’t help but be like what’s in front of the mirror, we also can’t help but reflect God’s qualities; we are His reflection.

The love from my friends, combined with my own spiritual growth, gave me more than enough strength to tackle the challenges at camp and even to pick up others when they fell. I began to realize that I was more than just the grades I got in school, or the friends that I had (or didn’t have) back home. Not only did I have all the qualities I needed to pass a test or maintain a relationship, but I expressed every Godlike quality as God’s reflection.

This idea of reflecting God’s qualities was so helpful and carried me through summer and into the next school year. I discovered and put into practice the fact that since I am a reflection of God’s good, then I must express this good (and only this good) and that this expression is effortless. Back at school for my sophomore year, I held this inspiration close and found that right from the beginning, the year was dramatically different. I began to find friends in places I hadn’t expected. I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed by my schoolwork. And I reached a new level of success in sports. 

Now, when I face challenges, I feel prepared to deal with them, knowing that I effortlessly reflect God’s infinite spiritual qualities in all that I do.

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