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Facing change? Let spiritual ideals lead you.

Solid ground in the midst of change

From the October 16, 2000 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Change seems to be an integral part of life these days. People are changing careers, homes, lifestyles, and even their marital status surprisingly often. In addition, the family, the environment, and governments often face major adjustments at an accelerating rate.

Change can sometimes be so sudden or drastic that it shakes a person's very foundation. People may be afraid to leave their comfort zones and explore new options. Most of the time, human nature demands the familiar, the comfortable, the easy. It resists change.

Not long ago, I went to a meeting where various new ideas came up for possible adoption. After a brief discussion, all of the motions for change were soundly defeated. Someone said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I was surprised by the negative vote, because I thought some of the suggestions were good ones. But most people felt that since the organization was running smoothly enough, there was no need for any adjustments.

Why are we sometimes threatened by change—even when it might be for the best? And how do we know when to hold our ground or when to go along with change?

When we rely on Spirit, outcomes are not dependent on the vagaries of life.

There's some valuable guidance on this subject in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The book explains, "Mortals must change their ideals in order to improve their models" (p. 260). An ideal is a standard of perfection, 'sometimes thought of as unattainable. Science and Health introduces its readers to truths that set a standard of spiritual perfection which is not only attainable but natural.

Here's an idea from Science and Health that helped me understand this: "Soul, or Spirit, is God, unchangeable and eternal; and man coexists with and reflects Soul, God, for man is God's image" (p. 120). We are inseparable from God's unchangeable perfection and we are, in fact, the spiritual expression of God. So when we rely on Spirit, outcomes are not dependent on the vagaries of life but on the perfect laws of God—the laws of good.

Knowing that good can be expected even in the midst of change has helped me welcome progressive change, and resist change that would be regressive or spiritually inhibiting. Endeavoring to hold to this ideal has blessed my life with meaningful work, good health, and a feeling of being at home even in the midst of change.

For many years our family moved from house to house, averaging about a year and a half in each place. We would fix up a house, sell it, and move on. Reading Science and Health changed the way I thought about home. I saw that God's unchanging goodness was an ideal I wanted to bring to my home and family. I began to see home as the expression of God's goodness rather than as merely the place we happened to be living at the moment. This new view allowed me to feel the hospitality and warmth of home on airplanes, in faraway countries, or wherever I happened to be.

Even when my home seemed to fall apart through a devastating divorce, I was able to use these earlier lessons to shore up what I knew was true about home. God's laws of goodness provided an ideal that was tangible, available, substantial, and practical, an ideal I knew I could count on. The divorce caused me to face changes in every department of my life. I had just started a new job, which did not yet support me. I needed once again to move. I faced several lifestyle adjustments as well, becoming self-supporting, living alone, seeing mutual friends fade away. My fear was overwhelming, but the spiritual ideal of home gave me something I could look to for solace and guidance. No matter how dire things appeared, I held this ideal close to my heart.

As the expression of divine Love, I knew I lived in Spirit, in God. So I could naturally expect the light and harmony of spiritual good to be present in my home—always.

Holding to this ideal was really a form of prayer. The result was that my ex-husband made financial arrangements for me to purchase a home of my own. But as remarkable as that was, the best part was seeing a real difference in how I felt about myself. I gained a clearer sense of myself as God's child, filled with courage, confidence, and forgiveness. I perceived that my home was not dependent on having a husband or on being in a certain neighborhood. I knew that I could never lose my home, since it is part of the spiritual perfection God has given me. Several years later, I married a man who also values a spiritual view of home and family.

Overcoming the fears that accompanied radical change in my life did not occur in a week or less. But the lessons I learned in turning away from what the world says about divorce and its aftermath to what a spiritual ideal promises and fulfills were well worth the effort.

We are not forced to accept the material model of life that offers changes fraught with disaster, disease, or loss. We can follow a higher model. We can base our ideals on the perfection of God and of ourselves as His perfect likeness.

Knowing that unchanging Principle is governing and that Mind's unchanging good is the reality, we can face upheaval from the standpoint of "... spiritual ideals, indestructible and glorious" (see Science and Health, p. 359). What's more, it doesn't have to take weeks or years for the glories of a more spiritual ideal to be adopted. It can happen now.

(Candace du Mars is a contributing editor.)

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