FOR MANY STUDENTS, THE JUNIOR YEAR OF high school seems to be the most hectic and academically demanding school year. For me, this was no exception. A typical week included taking several honors and AP classes in school, practicing and giving private Irish dance lessons, and tending to my two goats that I am raising through the Future Farmers of America agricultural program (of which I am vice president at my school).

Additionally, it was my third year participating in the Discovery Bound National Leadership Council, a servant leadership program for Christian Scientists based on Bible teachings. All of these activities required a great deal of time and commitment, and sometimes late nights as well.

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Usually, I could handle all these various activities, but every once in a while I felt limited and overwhelmed.

Sometimes there just didn't seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything I needed to do. I began to feel stressed about my activities and wanted to change the way I thought about time.

God wouldn't give me all these opportunities to express my divine qualities if He didn't know I could complete them with success.

While I was thinking about this problem, I read a Christian Science article that really seemed to speak to me. It said that when we feel like work is too much of a burden, we need to "STOP." That stood for "Stop! Think of peace!" This concept helped cut through the stress I was feeling, and helped me realize that it is God who is really in charge. Even though my activities sometimes seemed burdensome and overwhelming, I decided they could actually be thought of as avenues for expressing God in many different ways. And He wouldn't give me all these opportunities to express His qualities if He didn't know I could complete them with success.

I also thought about a passage in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah, which says, "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (30:21). What that told me is that you have to stop and listen for God's direction because He is guiding us in the path that we should take.

When we realize that there is no limitation and that one Mind is guiding us, we begin to discover infinite possibilities and to break down limitations. Thinking this way allowed me to eliminate stress from worrying about upcoming assignments, negative feelings of tests, nervousness about approaching dance competitions, or apprehension about being able to meet important deadlines that were rapidly approaching.

This inspiration really came to my aid one week toward the end of the year, when I had two tests (including a math test I'd been dreading), a history project, and final preparations for competing in the Irish Dancing World Championships. I had felt the burden of this workload looming over me for some time.

However, I remembered my prayer with the ideas of direction and governance. This situation, I realized, was just a chance for me to see God's constant presence in my life. As days passed, I began to have a change in attitude toward my approaching deadlines. I corrected my thought, and instead of complaining about the assignments I was given, I focused on what I knew was true and upright in order to uplift my thought and remove feelings of negativity and stress. I was relieved to know that I was not alone; I saw that God was right there with me as I grew spiritually.

My year ended harmoniously. The tests were completed with none of the struggle I had previously feared, my history project was returned with an A, and my performance at the Irish Dancing World Championships was my personal best, full of life and energy. I finished that week joyfully, having successfully passed through a trying experience with an expanded understanding of God's presence.

As a result of my prayer and reliance on God, I came to see my junior year as one of growth and opportunity. It was a chance to really understand how God is constantly guiding me in all that I achieve. css

January 11, 2010

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