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Finding somebody— or finding happiness?

What is it that determines the quality of our relationships?

From the October 12, 1987 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

"I Want to be married." "I'm tired of living alone." "I want a family." This is the way the conversation was running at a party for some of the single women with whom I worked.

The event had turned from an enjoyable affair into a depressing assortment of complaints. As I listened to each one expressing her opinion, I began to pray quietly. I had just begun the study of Christian Science and was learning that because God, Spirit, is All, life is spiritual. It is joyful, complete, free, satisfying. I longed to share with each individual there what I was learning of the true selfhood of each one of us as spiritual man, God's image.

Someone asked me how I felt about being single. The few minutes I had spent in prayer brought my answer: "I'm going to be happy! Single or married, I'm going to live a happy life. I know I am loved, and I'm going to trust my life to God."

To some of my friends, who felt their lives were subject to material conditions, laws of chance, and lack of opportunity, what I said may have seemed unrealistic. But I knew my words were based on an understanding of law—God's law of ever-present perfection and harmony—and I knew that His law was in reality governing all.

It's interesting to me that when I met the man to whom I am now married, one of the first questions he asked me was "Why are you so happy?" The sense of completeness and the joy that comes with it, which I'd found in Christian Science, had impressed him. I had established my joy on a spiritual foundation, and this understanding not only helped in the time when I was living alone; it has also carried me through many of the challenges of married life.

One of the first questions he asked me was "Why are you so happy?"

Those struggling with a feeling of loneliness, separation, discontent, or unfulfillment can gain a truer sense of themselves and their relationship to God. Every individual is loved and tenderly cherished by God, because each is actually the spiritual idea of God, the Father-Mother of all. The divine Mind needs its idea, and you are in reality His perfect, spiritual idea—loved, governed, and cared for by God. Seeking happiness in material living, we will be disappointed, since mortal existence is not the eternal reality of being and so cannot satisfy. We need to set our sights higher—above materiality and its false promises. In proportion as we do so, we find the changeless good of God's creating.

It is a false sense of intelligence—as personal, limited, and separate from God—that tells us we are corporeal beings— incomplete, unwanted, unhappy, lonely. Mortal mind is the name Christian Science gives to this illusory, material sense of things—the physical senses and their suggestions. It is the suppositional opposite of Truth, God, divine Mind, and claims that man is the offspring of mortals. We need to silence these lies. Sense-testimony may suggest that we are incomplete mortals separated from God and that time is passing us by—that our chances are getting slimmer for happiness, that our biological clock is running down. But sense-testimony is deception. God, infinitely tender, ever-present Love, preserves the completeness and wholeness and unlimited goodness of each of His ideas. As we realize more and more our unity with God, we will cast off the false, material concepts and discern man's true spiritual nature and individual completeness.

Only through understanding divine Mind and Mind's total control of its idea, man, can we throw off the fear, dullness, and gloom of the false sense of ourselves as incomplete mortals. This is the rock on which we must stand. The Christ, the true idea of man's divine Principle, masters every form of unhappiness and lack. We are actually spiritual, not material, so we are not limited by material conditions. When based on peer pressure, sensuality, infatuation, and sexual attraction, human relationships are flimsy, fragile, unsatisfying. To be free from these false attractions, we need to yield to the ever-present Christ. We need to accept the unchangeable truth that we are God's man, dependent solely upon Him for our joy, fulfillment, and destiny.

Christ Jesus' completeness—his Godlikeness—enabled him to bring the healing touch of the Christ to everyone who sought his aid. In his mission of spreading the word of God's love, goodness, allness, Jesus was clearly conscious of his unity with God. He humbly proclaimed, "I and my Father are one," John 10:30. acknowledging his sonship with God. His life example proves to all mankind that because God is complete, man, His reflection, is complete, satisfied, useful, ever active. Following his example, we too can prove that our joy and completeness are the essence of God, Soul. And because they are divine qualities, they do not waver or fluctuate. They are constant and eternal.

Whether or not we are thinking about dating, we need to build our relationships on an understanding of God's loving, intelligent control of His creation. God, infinite Mind, is omniscient and perpetually imparts the qualities expressed by His idea. God governs all His ideas harmoniously and supplies them with all good, individually and directly. He is the all-knowing, all-causing Mind, which forms and embraces all that really exists. One who understands this will find his dealings with others becoming more harmonious—characterized by less and less friction, domination, jealousy, and ill will.

If we seem to be ill at ease in the company of others, especially those of the opposite sex, we can turn to divine Truth, asking God to bring to light in us our native grace, fearlessness, warmth, and calm—qualities we need in order to converse intelligently and spontaneously with others. We can deny self-consciousness, nervousness, shyness, and fear as no part of our true being. As our thought and motives are purified through the study of Christian Science, we will find ourselves coping with social situations with greater ease and enjoying sinless fellowship. We will learn to see each one as God's child, His divine idea.

It is normal to want to have friends. Most of us need this human evidence of divine Love's care. But if we look primarily to others to make us feel satisfied and complete instead of depending on God, this can result in restlessness and an increasing sense of incompleteness. We may need to affirm and realize more deeply our oneness with God and increasingly look to Him for strength, right ideas, and divinely directed activity. The temptation to feel depressed, disturbed, critical, or neglected can be met through firm reliance on the power of God to fill our lives with all that is good. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds." Science and Health, p. 1.

Spiritual completeness is brought to light right in our own thought. Recognizing ourselves as God's complete idea, we will begin to see each one who comes into our experience as spiritual and complete too. As a personal sense of ourselves and others gives way to an appreciation of the completeness of spiritual identity, we will naturally avoid unnecessary inquiries into the affairs of others and such well-intended remarks as "You should find someone" or "It's time you settled down and started a family." This course may not be God's guidance for the individual. We can help others, however, by understanding the truth of being and seeing that material existence, with its suggestions of togetherness and separation, popularity and loneliness, is not the reality of God's man and therefore no part of true existence. We will strengthen our understanding by holding to the Bible promise "Ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." Col. 2:10.

Whether we're single or married, finding and reflecting our original completeness in God is a spiritual pursuit full of challenges. It involves a wise zeal, moments of tender contentment, absolute reliance on God, integrity, discipline, and humble prayer. Finding our wholeness, we find deep inner peace and the spiritual strength to say with Paul, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Phil. 4:11.

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