What do you do when you feel like you’re missing something essential? Like you’re not smart enough, or you don’t make friends easily, or you wish you could be more confident?
It would seem as though we’re stuck with the way we are. Some of us are bright and pretty and popular, and some of us are just scraping by with a few positive qualities and a lot of flaws. That’s the way I felt in high school. I knew I had some good things going for me, but mostly all I could see were the many ways I didn’t measure up.
I couldn’t ask God to change the way I was … could I?
I was used to praying about issues in my life that were bothering me, but this one had me stumped. I couldn’t ask God to change the way I was … could I?
It was worth a try, so I did pray—and the story of Solomon in the Bible came to mind. I remembered that he was appointed to be king, and when God offered him a gift, Solomon asked for an understanding heart—sound judgment and wisdom. And God gave it to him (see I Kings 3:5–15)!
Honestly, this answer to my prayers initially ticked me off. There were quite a few qualities God could give me that I could use, but God wasn’t exactly tapping me on the shoulder and asking what I’d like Him to bestow on me. Or was He?
I prayed and thought some more. As I did, it dawned on me that Solomon’s story wasn’t about God playing favorites, or giving gifts only to certain people. It’s actually about what God is doing for each of us: showing us that whatever we think we need is already within us, because that’s the way God created us.
While it might not seem that way on the surface, it occurred to me that receiving God’s gifts begins with identifying ourselves correctly. Are we seeing ourselves as mortals, with all the limitations and flaws mortality includes? Or are we recognizing that we are actually spiritual and whole, “the expression of God’s being,” as Mary Baker Eddy explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 470)?
I realized with a renewed feeling of hope that the problem wasn’t that I was missing some essential qualities. Instead, I was simply viewing myself incorrectly. I’d always seen myself as possessing some gifts but lacking in other areas. But that didn’t make much sense if I was the complete expression of God’s being, which includes every good quality we could ever need.
We can let Soul show us our radiance and divine Love our wholeness.
On the surface, the story of Solomon makes it sound like he got an understanding heart from God. But the spiritual sense of that story showed me that when Solomon turned to God, he simply found that understanding heart. It was already part of him as the reflection of God. In the same way, I saw that we, too, can ask God for whatever we think we’re lacking. Not so that God will give us something we didn’t have before, but so that our caring Father-Mother can open our eyes to what we really are. So that Soul can show us our radiance and divine Love our wholeness.
Asking has become a regular thing for me ever since. When I feel like I’m lacking in patience, I ask God to help me see that it’s already within me. When I feel tongue-tied or shy, I ask Spirit to help me feel its animating power. This practice has been a two-fold blessing: Not only has it reassured me that I’ll always have all the good qualities I need, but it’s also brought me relief. Because I know now that we don’t “own” our own goodness; it all comes straight from God. And all we have to do to find that goodness is be willing to ask.