Like many of the questions I get as the teen editor, this one really got me thinking. We do talk a lot about being spiritual in Christian Science. So it’s a fair thing to ask: Why is the fact that we’re spiritual so important? What does it have to do with your daily life, dealing with school, sports, boyfriends and girlfriends, and parents?
And perhaps a question that goes along with that is: What are we even saying when we’re saying “I’m spiritual”? What does that even mean?
Let’s tackle that second question first. When Christian Scientists say “I’m spiritual,” they don’t just mean that they have an interest in spirituality, like someone who says, “I’m a spiritual person.” In Christian Science, being spiritual refers to everyone’s real identity. It’s not something we choose to be, like adopting a certain political affiliation; it’s what we are. There isn’t one single individual you’ll ever meet who isn’t actually a spiritual being, because whether we know it or not, whether we believe it or not, we are each the expression of God, who is Spirit. And Spirit’s expression must be like Spirit—spiritual.
Now I understand why that concept might not feel very concrete. Being spiritual doesn’t seem to be as easy to grasp as, say, having brown hair or being a certain height. But here’s something to think about. There are plenty of things about you that are “intangible” qualities that you do easily identify with. For example, maybe you’re someone who’s always happy. Maybe you’re the one who’s always caring and who knows how to help your friends. You might identify as brave, confident, or strong. The qualities that make you what you are—qualities that express God, good—these are your very real, very tangible spiritual identity, which is sourced in God.
When Christian Scientists say “I’m spiritual,” they don’t just mean that they have an interest in spirituality.
Which brings us to the first part of why it matters that we’re spiritual and that we identify this way on a regular basis. Knowing that we’re spiritual is like armor. Here’s why. Going back to the quality of strength, for example: If you know you’re strong, and you identify as strong, then if someone called you wimpy, you wouldn’t buy it. You wouldn’t even give any thought to whether or not you were actually strong. You’d dismiss the suggestion of wimpiness with total authority, based on the understanding of what you really are.
Knowing that we’re spiritual gives us real authority, a much bigger sense of authority. To know that we’re spiritual means we’re immune from every single belief of mortality—all the so-called laws that say certain circumstances inevitably make us sick or sad and the overarching belief that our lives must be full of ups and downs, good and bad, health and illness, order and chaos.
Think about what that means—how much freedom, health, and happiness are actually ours if we would just recognize that, yes, our identity really is spiritual, and, yes, that matters in a huge way. In my own life, I can see how every physical healing I’ve ever had has come down to some aspect of the realization that I’m not a sick, helpless mortal. I’m God’s spiritual expression. Whole and safe, because that’s the way God created me—and that can’t change.
Being spiritual relates to anything we face. It’s our defense against every suggestion of inadequacy, purposelessness, anxiety, or hopelessness.
In fact, being spiritual relates to everything we deal with, anything we face. It’s our defense against every suggestion of inadequacy, purposelessness, anxiety, or hopelessness. It comes to our rescue even in the small moments. Like recently, when I felt angry about a thoughtless, insulting comment someone made in an email. Right in the moment when I could feel a reaction welling up in me, the most simple thought stopped me: that since I’m spiritual, anger isn’t part of what I am. It was like extinguishing a candle. As I accepted that one basic but powerful spiritual fact, the flame of reaction went out, and my thought about the person changed. It even occurred to me that he is spiritual, too. And as a result, I was able to respond in a way that was genuinely kind and constructive.
So who cares if you’re spiritual? You do. It’s what’s real, powerful, and significant about you. It’s why you can overcome whatever obstacles you encounter—in school, sports, relationships, or anything else that matters.
And here’s the best part. Far from just being a “quick fix” when you’re faced with a problem, knowing that you’re spiritual actually opens up a whole new world. It helps you see beyond limitations, rise above fears, and makes your relation to God so much more real. For me, understanding my spiritual identity has been one of the greatest adventures of my life. If you care to embrace it, it can be in yours, too.