“Adulting” without the stress

I join countless other young adults who say adulting can be hard! The definition, “the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks” (lexico.com), hints at a reason why many young adults struggle with or even resent it. It’s a view of things that essentially assumes that life is mostly made up of mundaneness, hopefully punctuated with some fun weekends and vacations.

Is it really irrevocably true that life—at any age—is nothing more than a collection of tasks that need to be performed? It certainly may seem like it; people talk about the “daily grind” a lot. But my study and practice of Christian Science have convinced me that the truth is something deeper.

When we’re casting all around, trying to figure out what we need to do next, I’ve found what’s most helpful is to be more conscious of the presence of God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, has a fascinating and helpful definition of the word day in her primary book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She states that during God’s day, “the objects of time and sense disappear in the illumination of spiritual understanding, and Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded” (p. 584 ).

This helps me see that instead of looking at life as a linear timeline of events and circumstances, with our existence essentially defined by all these past and future events, we have the right to just be present, right where we are. That is, to actively watch how God’s limitless goodness is unfolding and being expressed in us, the spiritual expression of the Divine. To simply see and be good, to live our true nature as God’s children, instead of feeling overwhelmed with all of life’s demands.

As a husband and dad with a full-time career, I’ve found this invaluable!

Now, granted, this may seem like a difficult task, depending on the situation. But the joy of letting each day be God’s day means that it’s not on us individually to force good to happen, or to try to make up something good. We can follow the example given in the Bible, in the very different circumstances of facing an enemy, when the Israelites were promised, “You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you” (II Chronicles 20:17, Easy-to-Read Version).

Instead of looking at life as a linear timeline of events, we have the right to just be present, right where we are.

The context for this promise is, briefly, that the Israelites were under threat and didn’t know what to do; after this promise, God assured them that in the coming days they would be able to accomplish everything they needed to do, by the power of God. And so it proved.

This wouldn’t have been accomplished by rushing around in a panic or trying to force a solution into existence. The need is to stand still—to mentally just be still—and be receptive to the activity of God, good. And then to be humble enough to let God’s goodness, rather than fear or human will or habit, light our path forward.

Our identity is more than a series of tasks we’re trying to accomplish. We are all included in the perfect love that God has always had for all His loved children, who are wholly the expression of God’s goodness. Even in the midst of fear, stress, or even pain, we can take advantage of every opportunity to witness, and evidence, how we are embraced in this divine goodness at each moment. When we do this, we find that fear, stress, and pain subside and are healed, as our way becomes clearer and more harmonious, step by step.

Originally published in The Christian Science Monitor’s Christian Science Perspective column October 11, 2019.

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