“You aren’t college material—really not smart enough for academic work—so learn to type or be a bookkeeper, and that can be your job until you get married and have children.” So spoke my high school guidance counselor. My grades were mostly C’s except for classes in history, dance, and drama—none of which the counselor felt could provide a job for me.
I left the office feeling discouraged and useless. I wanted to go to college and study lots of new subjects. When I told my mom, she said we could not afford college anyway. But a Christian Science practitioner I had previously called for help with other challenges encouraged me to depend on God for guidance.
I had been attending Christian Science Sunday School all my life, and I was learning that there is only one Mind, God, and that we each express the intelligence of this all-knowing divine Mind. I found a statement in one of Mary Baker Eddy’s books, Retrospection and Introspection, that says, “Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity” (p. 70). Well, I thought, was I really too dumb to fill my God-appointed niche? That did not make sense to me, so I decided to trust God, knowing that the outcome could only be good, as God is.
Many wonderful ideas uplifted me as I grew in my understanding of the goodness of God.
As I prayed and listened for direction, I felt led to move forward with my education. It took a while, but I was able to earn, and pay for, several degrees. Even more important, though, was my constant learning to rely on God, divine Mind, infinite Principle, to lead me forward. When exam time came or some class particularly challenged me, I would pray with ideas from the Bible and Mrs. Eddy’s writings, and fear would lift. I also grew spiritually through participation in CSOs (Christian Science organizations) on campus, including leading inspirational meetings, and actually helping start a CSO on one campus.
But despite all this, a feeling of uselessness or worthlessness kept nagging at me. Adding to this was regret for mistakes I’d made and a burdensome desire to redo many things in my life.
Over the years I continued to pray about those feelings, and many wonderful ideas uplifted me as I grew in my understanding of the goodness of God, and of my spiritual identity as God’s expression, at one with Him. In the Bible there is a story of Christ Jesus being tempted by the devil (see Matthew 4:1–11)—the belief that there is a power besides God. It was comforting to realize that the devil could not make Jesus do anything, but could only make suggestions.
We each have the ability to see such suggestions for what they are and to not get taken in. I realized that the trio of “would have,” “could have,” and “should have” came from mortal mind—the counterfeit of the divine Mind—and therefore was not truly part of me. Praying with these ideas brought a sense of peace.
Then one day I suddenly found myself feeling that maybe I should just hide in a corner because I was worthless. That night I woke up several times with old memories of sadness and mistakes haunting me. Each time, I tried to pray, but did not feel any comfort. In the morning I studied the weekly Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly as I usually do. The subject for that week was “Life,” and I sincerely tried to see the higher sense of what expressing God, Life, really meant.
Finally, I just turned to God and said, “Help! Give me an idea, a healing message.” Suddenly, a thought came as clearly as if it had been spoken to me: “Your true DNA is your divinely natural ability, which is direct from God, and there can be no mistakes, no stupid acts. You cannot be valueless because you are designed as God’s expression, and God does not fail.”
‘You cannot be valueless because you are designed as God’s expression, and God does not fail.’
I reasoned that if I had said 4 + 4 = 9 when I was a child still learning to add, I would not have spent the following decades beating myself up for that mistake. I would have learned from my misunderstanding of addition, made the correction, and moved forward. It may seem a simple example, but it can apply to even more serious mistakes. We are always God’s perfect expression, and mistakes are never part of this true identity. This spiritual fact forms a solid basis for changing our human course when needed, and for finding peace.
Suddenly, I felt free of the weight of the past, and have remained so since. We read in the Bible: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord…. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:8, 11). We are each a unique and full expression of God, valued and capable.
In a letter to a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, in New York City included in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mrs. Eddy sums up the importance and value of each one of us: “As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing” (p. 165). I am so very grateful for ongoing growth in Christian Science, which enables us to know and live our true, spiritual nature—an identity that carries with it infinite worth, right now.
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