Senior year of college. It seemed like my whole academic career had been leading up to this moment, and I was feeling the pressure. I had chosen to shoulder a lot of responsibility for my final year, including being a staff member on our school’s literary magazine and a board member for our yearly public affairs conference. I also had to think about my senior thesis—a project that would take the entire year.
I wanted to do a good job on everything, but a few weeks into the school year it became apparent that I couldn’t do it all on my own. My thesis research wasn’t coming together; my coursework was quickly piling up; and I felt pressure to do all of my extracurricular work perfectly.
Whoa. OK, press the pause button. Something needed to change, and that began with the way I was thinking about all these projects and responsibilities. In the past, I’d found that getting a more God-based perspective always helped, so I turned to the weekly Bible Lesson found in the Christian Science Quarterly, which is made up of passages from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The subject that week was “Mind,” and it seemed tailor-made for me. As I read, this passage from Science and Health jumped out at me: “The divine Mind is the Soul of man, and gives man dominion over all things. Man was not created from a material basis, nor bidden to obey material laws which Spirit never made; …” (p. 307). Wow! I realized I didn’t have my own personal mind that was desperately trying to tackle a growing to-do list. Instead, I am animated by infinite, ever-present Mind—God. Better yet, all the things I had been prioritizing—time, sleep, intellectual understanding, and so on—weren’t the important factors, because God, who is infinite, governs every aspect of my life.
Something needed to change, and that began with the way I was thinking about all these projects and responsibilities.
Feeling inspired by this wake-up call, I reached out to a Christian Science practitioner to talk about what I was discovering and to ask her to pray more deeply about it with me. After I explained the issue to her, she surprised me by saying, “Kristin, the work is already done.”
Huh? My schedule would say otherwise. But she explained that each and every idea of God is complete and whole. So what looks to us like a movement from start to finish is actually just the unfoldment, or revealing, of the complete idea—like a seed growing into a plant, which buds and then flowers. The flower is there all along—it just has to be revealed. What a weight off of my shoulders!
With this new understanding, I could approach the rest of the school year with confidence. To my delight (and relief), everything began to fall into place. That’s not to say I wasn’t working hard, but my perspective was different. I approached each task by acknowledging that divine Mind was the one animating and guiding the work; I was Mind’s unburdened expression. I stopped feeling stressed and began to enjoy what I was doing. I was lighthearted!
First semester went well, but I began to feel anxious again when winter break ended and my thesis wasn’t started. On top of that, both the conference and the publication of the literary magazine would take place near the end of the semester. It felt like I had my work cut out for me!
I approached each task by acknowledging that divine Mind was the one animating and guiding the work; I was Mind’s unburdened expression.
But as I entered my final semester, I remembered what the practitioner had shared with me: The work was already complete. I was the “vehicle,” divine Mind’s expression. I often turned to this idea when I felt overwhelmed or incapable. As I did, I found that inspiration for my schoolwork came much more readily, and I completed projects much more quickly. The fear of impending failure evaporated, and all the elements of my spring semester fell into place naturally. My senior thesis came together, my extracurriculars were successful, and my classes were manageable. I finished the year with good grades and an award for my thesis.
Since then, I’ve continued to think about this lesson whenever I feel overwhelmed. Whatever I’m facing, it helps me to remember that I’m not the source of the ideas I need to move forward or the “engine” behind the work; Mind is. The understanding of this fact removes stress and brings success.