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Into—and out of—the woods

From the June 19, 2017 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

It was a week before my high school’s performance of Into the Woods. There was a lot of talk among my fellow cast members about how people usually get run down and sick before performances. I didn’t want to let this frighten me, but I was a bit worried. I was playing Cinderella, and we were not double casted, which meant there were no backup actors in the event that someone was unable to perform. Even though I wasn’t sick, the thought and pressure of “I can’t get sick right now” loomed over me like a dark cloud.

Then, four nights before the first performance, I woke up in the middle of the night and felt my throat scrape as I swallowed. Although it was difficult, I quickly shut out the thought of “What’s gonna happen if I can’t perform?” Instead of worrying, I thought about what I’d learned in the Christian Science Sunday School. 

In Sunday School we’d been talking about the beginning of the book of Genesis and how there are two contradictory creation stories. We discussed the differences—how in the first story, in Genesis, chapter one, God makes man in His image and likeness and establishes everything in His creation as “very good,” while in the second story man is made out of the dust of the ground. The first story explains the facts of spiritual creation, while the second is the mistaken view of creation—a belief that everything is material and a mixture of good and evil.

As I lay there in bed, I thought about these two stories and how my spiritual identity is my true identity, created in God’s image and likeness. The belief in a sore throat and the fear that I would get even sicker were second-creation-story thinking, and therefore untrue. As I trusted that no suggestion could trick me into believing I was material instead of spiritual, I started to feel better. 

I woke up the next morning feeling completely well and so grateful for this quick healing. As the first performance approached, I held to the idea that I was going to accept only spiritual facts about my health—not second-creation-story suggestions.

I quickly shut out the thought of “What’s gonna happen if I can’t perform?”

Though I was feeling fine, the suggestions did keep coming. I kept remembering that in the past I’d get a sore throat and then for a week or so I’d have other symptoms. Instead of giving in to these thoughts, I battled them by sticking with the truth of my spiritual identity. In the past, I’d prayed for myself when I’d been dealing with a cold, but this was the first time I felt I was actually praying from the right standpoint. Instead of treating the sickness as something real that I had to make go away, this time I started with the fact of my God-created spiritual perfection, and I rejoiced to witness the shift in my thinking and its effective outcome.

The performances were so fun, and I was able to support my fellow cast members, some of whom were dealing with cold symptoms. Everyone performed wonderfully.

After our last performance, one mom came up to me and asked me how I’d been able to stay so healthy. I shared a little bit about how I’d kept my thoughts uplifted—focused on God.

This healing showed me that in a world where thoughts and suggestions of illness come to us so frequently, knowing the truth of our spiritual identity really is powerful. I’m grateful to God and Christian Science for this healing, and I now feel more confident to go deeper “into the woods” of my spiritual adventure.

— Lisa Andrews—Staff

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