How will I finish my paper?

While sitting in the college library one morning, I struggled to come up with a topic for a major paper that was due soon. I wanted to get a good start on it before I met my best friend for breakfast, but I accomplished very little. I was dealing with a bad case of writer’s block.

After breakfast, I headed back to the library, where I began to panic when I realized that the retainer for my teeth was missing. I had a sinking feeling that it had accidentally been thrown out—I’d wrapped it in a napkin while we were eating—and that I was never going to see it again.

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I called the restaurant, but the retainer was nowhere to be found. And the manager told me that the trash had already been tossed into the dumpster out back. Terrible visions of dumpster diving and the looks I would see on my parents’ faces when I told them what had happened popped into my head. Then I began to blame myself. How could I possibly have been so stupid and careless? 

It was tempting to feel that there was no answer. But instead, I pushed the accusatory thoughts aside and reached out in prayer to ask God what to do. When I’d turned to God for help in the past, I’d always received an answer.

I was dealing with a bad case of writer’s block.

Several ideas from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy came to thought and calmed me down, but this one from Science and Health was especially helpful: “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all” (p. 468). It was comforting to realize that not a single detail was outside the scope of infinite, all-intelligent Mind.

At that point, I had a feeling that I needed to go back to the restaurant. This seemed counterintuitive and even a waste of time, but I wanted to be obedient to the spiritual impulse that I knew was coming from God.

As I drove, the word ego popped into my head. At first I didn’t make the connection. But as I thought about it, I realized that earlier that morning I’d been super confident that I had everything I needed to write a stellar paper—no prayer needed. But I’d struggled to write the paper, which proved that my lack of humility was unproductive. Where did I think ideas came from anyway? I could see I’d been mistaken in thinking of myself as the source of anything. God is Mind—all-knowing, infinite intelligence—and my job was to be humble and open to what God was showing me.

When I walked up to the counter at the restaurant, the manager was all smiles! He pulled out a crumpled napkin with my retainer inside. One of the servers had found it and set it aside. I was ecstatic, not only because the retainer had been found but also because I’d learned a great lesson about listening to God.

Where did I think ideas came from anyway? God is Mind—all-knowing, infinite intelligence—and my job was to be humble and open to what God was showing me.

I was feeling so close to God by the time I got back to the library. As I picked up my pen, these words from the book of Job in the Bible came to me: “He performeth the thing that is appointed for me” (23:14). Overflowing with gratitude and great ideas for the paper, I finished the first draft quickly and even polished it. Whereas before I’d had nothing but a struggle, recognizing God as the source of every good idea made writing the paper effortless. 

This was one of many experiences in my life in which turning to God, Mind, for direction proved to me that the ideas, guidance, and insights we need are always as present as God is. All we need to do is humbly listen.

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