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TeenConnect: UpFront

Where do you live?

From the Christian Science Sentinel - December 21, 2017

From the teen column: UpFront - December 21, 2017


TeenConnect: Up Front

Of all the questions that have come to me as I’ve prayed, that question right there in the title is the one that occurs with the most frequency. Probably because it gets to the heart of what’s happening when we pray.

While there are lots of ways to pray, for me, prayer gets me to a place of feeling my heart open so wide to God that I can not only hear, but also accept, what God is telling me about His supreme goodness and power. In that place of stillness and humility, I catch little glimpses of the wonder of God’s universe—the universe of Spirit, where freedom and health are natural. And I start to get it that this is where I live—where all of us live.

Isn’t this what the Christmas season is about? You could say that Christ Jesus’ birth opened the door to a whole new world of beauty and possibilities, because his life and ministry demonstrated what God really is, and what we are as God’s children. The healing power of the Christ, Truth, wasn’t just for those people in that time, but was a gift to all of us, because the healings Jesus performed showed that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). In other words, that instead of living in a world full of problems and disappointments, we actually live in God’s kingdom right now. The healing Christ, the true idea of God that was so evident in Jesus’ works, is still with us today, awakening us to this pure reality, and giving us the ability to prove that whatever does not express God, good, is unreal and powerless.

We live in a world designed, ordered, and constituted by divine Love.

So the simple answer to the question, “Where do you live?” is that we live in a world designed, ordered, and constituted by divine Love. But why does that matter? And what does that mean for our lives?

For me, asking those questions has brought to light a wide variety of answers. For example, knowing that “we live, and move, and have our being” in God (Acts 17:28) means feeling more safe and secure. It’s helped me find comfort. It’s brought healing when I’ve been sick. And it’s also made me a lot more alert to the thoughts I’m entertaining—and has empowered me to challenge the thoughts that are subtly implying that I live somewhere other than God’s kingdom.

It can be all too easy to let all sorts of thoughts just slide into our head—and then to believe that they’re ours, even when they’re totally foreign to the way it’s natural for us to think. That happened to me one holiday season when I found myself feeling impatient and unnaturally annoyed by … well, almost everyone, it seemed. As I prayed about these thoughts, though, that familiar question dawned on me again: Where do you live?

When we get it that we can’t live anywhere but in the radiant presence of God’s love, it changes our thoughts and our experiences.

It occurred to me that I’d been thinking I lived in a holiday atmosphere where everyone was rushed, impatient, and short-tempered. But those weren’t really my thoughts, and they weren’t anyone else’s either, because we’re all God’s children—living in His universe, and reflecting the one Mind, which is also Love. Understanding that I was safe in God, so I couldn’t be influenced by any negative thoughts that seemed to be “in the air,” quickly defused those impatient feelings, and I felt a steady sense of God’s peace that carried me right through Christmas.

Ultimately, that’s what’s been so powerful about that simple question: Where do you live? Because when we really get it that we can’t live anywhere but in the radiant presence of God’s love, it changes our thoughts and our experiences. And that, in turn, ushers in clearer views of Spirit’s awe-inspiring universe, making us healers for the world.

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