God created you to be you
Throughout history there have been individuals who, by maintaining their integrity and resisting pressures to think and act like those around them, have changed the world for the better.
One such man, Polycarp, lived in ancient Smyrna between 69 and 155 ᴀᴅ. Known for his piety, he helped stabilize the early Christian church and its practices after the death of Jesus’ disciples. He was one of the apostolic fathers to whom Christians turned for guidance in worship and authentication of Christian teachings. His role was paramount in the survival of Christianity during its second century. His mission clearly upset Roman officials, who sought his death. But despite the threats of the Roman Empire, Polycarp refused to renounce his Christian faith and was martyred.
It takes courage to stand one’s ground against homogeneous thinking—thinking that simply melds into what everyone else is thinking. It’s easy to follow fads, believe what others are believing, and go along with the crowd. Standing out seems challenging! True spiritual individuality, though, cannot be homogenized. God causes us to be individual and to express Him in a unique way, yet in His likeness.
To get a better understanding of my own spiritual individuality, I have found it helpful to get a better understanding of God and how He expresses Himself. I often think of a handmade kaleidoscope I have sitting on my desk. It has feathers in it rather than glass pieces, and you pump it instead of turn it. With each pump, these feathers rearrange themselves into a new design, never to be exactly repeated. It’s amazing how the picture changes and yet is always unique, always fresh. The infinite variety of shape, color, and texture, formed from the same components, is an example of how all God’s ideas are present and yet are expressed uniquely, individually. This is how man is—how we are—each a new view of the same components. Thus, we are each innately special, one of a kind.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible” (p. 264). So, what does not appear to us today will show forth to us as we gain the correct view of God and man. Do you recall Mrs. Eddy’s statement that it was Jesus’ “correct view of man” that healed the sick (Science and Health, p. 477)? It is our correct view, too, that opens our eyes to our true individuality—and everyone else’s—as a child of God.
To be at one with God means to reflect Him in individual ways. It means to be able to think for ourselves, maintain our integrity, and refuse to be homogenized by the carnal, mortal thought that attempts to meld everyone together.
What if it were possible for just one of God’s ideas to cease to be expressed? If just one aspect of man could be destroyed, left out, or even altered, deformed, or decayed, then man would no longer be man, and God would no longer be God. Mrs. Eddy explains in Science and Health: “If God, who is Life, were parted for a moment from His reflection, man, during that moment there would be no divinity reflected. The Ego would be unexpressed, and the Father would be childless,—no Father” (p. 306).
Expanding on this theme in Pulpit and Press, Mrs. Eddy writes: “You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this. Then you will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific Principle. A dewdrop reflects the sun. Each of Christ’s little ones reflects the infinite One, and therefore is the seer’s declaration true, that ‘one on God’s side is a majority’ ” (p. 4).
To be on God’s side means to reflect Him, to be like Him, to listen and obey His divine guidance. It means to be as God created us to be—perfect, whole, and free from all false beliefs or aggressive suggestions that come to us mentally to be acted out. Jesus certainly expressed his unique individuality in perfection, wholeness, and freedom from blind conformity. In fact, he consistently approached all difficulties from the perspective of Spirit, God, rather than of matter.
It takes courage to stand one’s ground against homogenous thinking.
When one of our daughters was in high school, playing on the tennis team, she often faced opponents who intimidated her—one in particular. Over and over she would play her opponent, only to lose and come home feeling defeated. We talked about her skills, her special abilities in tennis, her agility, speed, accuracy, and strength. But mostly we talked about her spiritual ability to overcome fear and intimidation on the courts. This was the specific strength she needed to develop—to see herself as capable and reflecting God fully in a way that was uniquely her own.
She lost a few more matches, but her scores were better. Then one day she came home and announced she had finally won. I asked her what was more important to her, winning or proving her spiritual individuality on the courts. Well, it was clear the winning was important, but she admitted that what was of greatest value to her was what she had learned about praying to reflect God individually. She realized her opponent was not another person—a better player—but her own fear. When she saw this fear was not a part of her God-given individuality, she was able to express her true self more fully. She now knew she had the spiritual ability to overcome fear and intimidation, no matter what form they came in.
As unique expressions of the one God, we are progressive, never stagnant. We are fruitful, forever blooming. We are, as Science and Health says, “forever developing … broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (p. 258).
This means, then, that as God’s manifestation, we are the activity of divine Mind. We are, in a sense, God’s appearance. And we can catch glimpses of that truth everywhere. Wherever we’re willing to look past the limited, material sense of man, we can see the qualities of God shining through. Spiritual sense reveals God’s image, and we learn to look beyond the material symbol to the right idea of man in ourselves and everyone.
The beauties we observe in the world—a tree, a bird, another person—are symbols that represent spiritual ideas in divine Mind. Each reflects qualities particular to its form and structure. In a tree we may see color, outline, flexibility, strength, grandeur. In a bird we may see upward-soaring thought, freedom, beauty, purpose. And in each other we can see the qualities that make each of us unique—intelligence, strength, spiritual aptitude, beauty, and joy, distinctively expressed.
So, whether we are praying to express more of our own spiritual individuality, or simply to break away from fads and the melding of thought into mass beliefs and conclusions, we can today learn more of God and His great purpose in having each one of us express Him uniquely.