Why did I sign up for this class?
What had I gotten myself into? I was floundering in a sea of fabric bolts, crisp pattern paper, and fellow students who were enthusiastically—and seemingly effortlessly—designing outfits. Why had I signed up for this class?
Sewing had long been an interest of mine, and when I’d enrolled in a fashion design class my freshman year of college, I’d expected it to be fun. But it was way more involved than I had anticipated. For our final project, we had to design an outfit, create a pattern for it, construct it, and model it for the class. I struggled with the fabric choice, the design, the fit, the construction. It was overwhelming—and definitely not fun.
I lamented the project—pouring out all the stress, anxiety, and frustration I was feeling.
Though I’d grown up attending Christian Science Sunday School, when I went away to college, I got out of the routine of going to Sunday School regularly. It was so much easier just to stay in the dorm. There was also a Christian Science college organization (CSO) on my campus, where students met once a week to share experiences and inspiration from prayer. I’d attended the CSO meetings only sporadically, but through doing so had learned there was a CSO advisor who was available to talk with students. Not knowing whom else to turn to about my distress, I finally decided to talk to this advisor.
I lamented the project—pouring out all the stress, anxiety, and frustration I was feeling. But I wasn’t looking for advice; I was seeking something that would alleviate my fear. In my home and Sunday School experiences, parents and teachers had frequently shown me the practicality of turning to God for help—for powerful ideas that liberated me from whatever I was struggling with and gave me the ability to move forward. I thought this advisor might offer some inspiration that would point me in the right direction. After listening to me for a while, she suggested I pray with Hymn 51 in the Christian Science Hymnal (words by Mary Alice Dayton).
What an eye-opener this hymn was. It was as if it had been written just for me! The words and tune were familiar, but I had never thought of praying with a hymn; usually, I just mindlessly sang it. This time was different. I thought about each line and how it applied to what I was facing.
“The hand that fashions is divine.” I realized I could let go of thinking that I was responsible for coming up with an idea, that it was all about me. God as infinite Mind is the source of all ideas—beautiful, creative, wonderful ideas that were right there to inspire me.
Did I love God enough to see this challenge not as joyless drudgery, but as an opportunity to witness more of Love in action? Yes!
“Love’s work and Love must fit.” I could see this whole project in a new light. Because God, Love, is ever present, Love was naturally being expressed in every aspect of this project. The work couldn’t be a burden, because it was an opportunity to express that Love by utilizing skills I had been learning. I could trust Love to guide me each step of the way, and could expect that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Did I love God enough to see this challenge not as joyless drudgery but as an opportunity to witness more of Love in action? Yes!
“Life, Truth and Love the pattern make.” I saw for the first time that this wasn’t all about my personal talents—or lack thereof. It was about God being the source of all. I had been learning in Christian Science that each of us is actually the reflection of God rather than an individual mind that can be confused, frustrated, inadequate. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy includes the following description of our God-based identity: “that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker” (p. 475). I realized that my job was to acknowledge Love’s guidance, Truth’s design, Life’s freshness.
Soon I was feeling confident that the project was doable. The anxiety and frustration were gone, and I was drafting, constructing, fitting—with Love. My whole outlook became more hopeful; I was ready to draw on whatever spiritual qualities I needed to get the job done, and to get it done with joy.
I completed the project and the class successfully. And while I didn’t pursue fashion design, I can honestly say that I learned more from this class than I had ever anticipated. Not about fashion, but about turning to God for the solution to any problem, and about knowing that whatever I’m facing, I have an infinite reservoir of God’s qualities to draw on.