It was five days before Thanksgiving break when one of my professors announced a previously unscheduled exam just after the holiday. This was news to all of us, and the surprise of it caused tears to well up in my eyes. I had already been feeling overwhelmed as more and more demands kept piling up—from meetings to swim practices to presentations and deadlines. I wiped my eyes and tried to refocus my attention on the material being taught that day.
By Sunday morning, though, I was a mess. The anxiety about everything I was facing had kept me up most of the night. Exhausted, I began crying again. There was no way I could get it all done.
The anxiety about everything I was facing had kept me up most of the night.
I choked back my tears and got dressed to attend a Christian Science Sunday church service. Each Sunday, the weekly Bible Lesson (found in the Christian Science Quarterly) is read at every Christian Science service around the world. I always have a copy of the Lesson, which is a compilation of citations from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, so I can read it during the week. I pulled up my copy from my email and sat down in a pew next to one of my friends. Though I still felt overwhelmed, I did what I could to focus on following along with the readings and singing along during the hymns.
The Lesson begins with a Responsive Reading—passages from the Bible, half of which the congregation reads aloud. Together we read, “In the day which I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul” (Psalms 138:3).
I’ve discovered that even though I’ve been reading the Lesson throughout the week, sometimes I find new meaning in the citations when I’m really needing to hear them. Which is exactly what happened this time. It was like God had spoken that verse from Psalms directly to me. I was crying, and He was answering. And all I could think was, Wow. OK, God. You’ve got my attention. I felt more hopeful as I realized that God was strengthening me to see that I had everything I needed—not only to meet each deadline, but also to feel more of God’s support and guidance as I completed each assignment.
I had everything I needed—not only to meet each deadline, but also to feel more of God’s support and guidance as I completed each assignment.
The Lesson also reminded me that “it is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect” (Psalms 18:32). My outlook brightened even more as I realized that we are never in it alone. As a sunbeam is inseparable from the sun, each of us is actually the unceasing expression of divine good. So every task we’re given is a beautiful opportunity to draw on our unlimited source and be a witness to all of God’s goodness. It’s not us expressing our human capabilities as we take a test, meet a deadline, or compete in a swim meet, but God, divine Mind, expressing in us all the intelligence, clarity, and strength we need.
I still had deadlines to meet and tests to take, but by the end of that church service, the overwhelmed feeling had vanished. I felt strengthened to face the demands ahead of me—now with a more God-centric perspective. And I went on to complete my assignments, including that extra exam, with a lot more poise and confidence.
Now, whenever I’m confronted with a task that seems daunting, I remember this experience. And I know that because my, and everyone’s, true being is the perfect expression of divine Mind, the strength and perseverance I need to complete it are already mine—and everyone else’s!