The summer before my senior year of high school, I visited the university I was sure I should attend. It seemed to have everything I wanted, such as an amazing program for my area of study and a stellar reputation. Plus, it was located in a major city and would perfectly prepare me for my desired career.
During the application process, I decided to apply to a variety of other schools, even though I had little interest in attending. Throughout the year I visited some of them, and was completely taken aback when I found myself loving a college that seemed to have everything I didn’t want. It was small, somewhat obscure, and not in a major city. As I finished my visit, I convinced myself that, while I had loved my time there, I would never be able to have the career I wanted if I attended, so I shouldn’t consider it as an option.
Toward the end of my senior year, after I’d been accepted to my “dream” school, I had the opportunity to visit it again. To my surprise, I found that the environment was not what I’d been hoping for. As I flew home at the end of the weekend, I wrestled with whether I should go to this top-notch school that would put a great name on my diploma or the smaller school I’d loved but pushed aside.
Throughout my life, I’ve found that the best way to make a decision is to pray and ask God for guidance. I’ve learned in Christian Science that God is both Mind and Love, which means I can trust whatever answer emerges from my prayers, because any direction that comes from God must be both intelligent and loving.'
I wrestled with whether I should go to this top-notch school that would put a great name on my diploma or the smaller school I’d loved but pushed aside.
One of the biggest challenges I had to work through was the fear that I could make a wrong decision and be stuck at a school that wasn’t right for me. In praying about this, I found help from an article that focuses on the idea of place. Though I don’t know the origin of this piece, the ideas in it were so applicable to my situation. One part reads, “Divine Principle brings need and supply together for mutual good.… All that you need to do is to see that your consciousness is fully prepared, enlarged, uplifted, joyous, expectant of infinite good, so that no sense of limitation may hinder the full manifestation of God’s will for His idea.” (For more information regarding the authorship of this piece, go to marybakereddylibrary.org/research/the-authorship-of-place/.)
Praying with these ideas helped me realize that I could never end up somewhere that could be my “wrong” place. God already had a perfect place established for me—not a physical location, but a purpose or role in which I could be the biggest blessing. The burden of choosing my school didn’t actually fall on my shoulders, but rather, God had already established my spiritual purpose, and the natural outcome of this was that I would know where I should go.
I also realized that even though I thought I trusted God, I still had this nagging fear that somehow God’s direction would point me toward a school where I wouldn’t have a fulfilling experience. As I prayed about this, I thought of a passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that I had read earlier: “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear” (p. 506). I began to understand that while I didn’t have the whole picture, God did, and He was showing me a way forward that was completely supportive of His purpose for me. I realized that I could wholeheartedly place my trust in God.'
God was showing me a way forward that was completely supportive of His purpose for me.
As I leaned on God for support in this decision, I began to feel more peaceful. I realized that there was no way I could ever be hurt or disadvantaged by listening to God, and I stopped resisting the thought that perhaps my “dream” school wasn’t the right one for me after all. While the name-brand university would sound great to those around me, my prayers were leading me in a different direction. Ultimately, I was able to let go of what I thought others wanted and expected for me and trust God’s guidance.
I recently finished my second year at the other school and am so grateful for my choice to attend. I’ve had the opportunity to grow and push myself both spiritually and academically in ways I hadn’t thought possible. Trusting God completely gave me the clarity and peace that enabled me to listen to God’s direction and fearlessly make my college decision.