A common joke is that “you need experience to get experience.” Which would be funny if it didn’t mean that getting a first job, or a first internship, isn’t always the easiest.
That’s what it felt like to me during my freshman year in college. I wanted to participate in my school’s co-op program, in which students could rotate between work experiences and full-time education. But I’d been told that no one would want to hire me as a freshman, so I wasn’t sure how to move forward.
Our school put on a career fair, and we were advised to go. But it didn’t sound promising. Basically, we were told to go so we could get the experience of talking with potential employers and learning how to deal with rejection. Getting hired seemed out of the question.
I’d been told that no one would want to hire me as a freshman, so I wasn’t sure how to move forward.
Initially, I’d been open to the idea of going to the fair to learn whatever I could. But then I discovered it would start only half an hour before our Christian Science organization (CSO) meeting on campus, which I was responsible for leading that week. A twenty-minute window didn’t seem like enough time to do anything productive, so I decided to skip the fair.
On the day of the fair, though, I suddenly felt impelled to attend. The feeling was really insistent. So insistent that I knew it wasn’t coming from me. I even resisted it at first, reasoning that walking all the way to the hotel where the fair would be held wouldn’t make any sense, given the short amount of time I’d be able to be there.
God’s guidance didn’t just get me to the career fair; it also led me to exactly where I needed to be once I was there.
But the message didn’t let up, and I had to admit that it must be coming from God. From attending the Christian Science Sunday School, I was familiar with the idea of God as the all-knowing Mind—intelligently guiding and governing every aspect of our lives. The Bible explains it like this: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21, New King James Version). Initially, for me, it wasn’t a word so much as a feeling. And I recognized the source—divine intelligence—because of the gentle but persistent nature of the message. But later, as I considered the back and forth trip to the hotel, it did come as actual words—saying, to my surprise, that it would even be OK to be a little late to the CSO meeting. Since I’d experienced God’s guidance this way before, and had always benefited from following it, I knew it was best for me to obey. So I went to the career fair.
God’s guidance didn’t just get me to the fair; it also led me to exactly where I needed to be once I was there. In that twenty minutes, I only had time to speak with one company—a company whose representative said they were specifically looking to hire freshmen and could interview me the next day. I was flabbergasted. I went to the interview and got the job.
This first work experience directly led to all of my subsequent career opportunities in the aerospace industry, including working on the United States’s return to the moon. At every step, I have felt guided, and even though the outcome was often not what I anticipated, each step has been essential for the next one. I’ve learned from these experiences that God’s guidance is consistent and reliable for everyone. Because Mind is also Love, it’s natural that God’s loving care for each of us includes whatever direction we need and comes in a way that we can recognize it.