It was the fall of my eighth-grade year. That summer my family had moved almost a thousand miles from New Jersey to Missouri. Right from the start, I’d resisted the move. I just knew it was going to be awful.
Although I was glad that my parents, brother, grandmother, and dog were with me, and that my new teachers were all nice, I missed my old house and Christian Science Sunday School, not to mention my other grandparents, who were still in the Northeast. And I was intimidated by the thought of having to make new friends, because everybody’s “friend groups” already seemed to be established.
Right from the start, I’d resisted the move. I just knew it was going to be awful.
One evening, I just felt so unhappy that I began crying in my room. My parents, who had been so loving and supportive all along, came in to comfort me. They talked about how God is endless Love, and said that no matter where in the world I was, I could turn to God and feel Love’s warmth and presence right there. God’s love, and the joy it inspires, could never run out, and I sure couldn’t leave it behind in New Jersey—or anywhere else for that matter.
I liked that idea, but the tears kept coming. The sadness and homesickness seemed so real and overwhelming.
Then my dad said something that startled me—in a good way. It was something like: “Liz, this isn’t you. It’s just mortal mind masquerading as your thoughts. And you don’t have to let it.”
Whoa! That might sound harsh, but it was actually exactly what I needed to hear. I knew my dad wasn’t trivializing what I was going through but was waking me up to the fact that God’s goodness and love for me hadn’t changed.
One synonym for God is Mind, and since there is only one God, He is the only real Mind. The thoughts of this loving Mind can only be good. This means that sad, lonely, or upset thoughts don’t come from God. They are simply suggestions from mortal mind—the belief of a mind separate from God—and so we don’t have to accept them as our own or as true.
One of my favorite promises in the Bible is, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). I thought of all the people Christ Jesus healed, people who opened their heart to his message of God’s love and peace for everyone. My dad’s comment reminded me that I could open my heart to Mind’s loving thoughts, too. I’d been certain that feeling out of sorts was simply part of moving. But now I saw that I wasn’t destined to misery in any degree. What a relief!
I wasn’t destined to misery. What a relief!
This was a turning point in the whole situation. From that day on, I began paying much closer attention to what thoughts I was letting in. It wasn’t always easy, but I kept at it. And wouldn’t you know, the unhappy thoughts started coming less and less—and when they did come, instead of clinging to them, I was quickly able to identify them as not really part of me and to shut them out.
This helped me to see so much more clearly that God really does love each of us, and to feel God’s love more deeply. I also began to see more of the good in my new home. As it turned out, there was a lot—both in and outside of school! I made new friends and started feeling settled, truly at home, and happy again.
The coolest part, though, is that what I learned during this experience has stuck with me and helped me at other times when I’ve moved to new places or felt discouraged. I now know that even when negative thoughts feel very persuasive, the fact is that if they aren’t good, if they argue that we’re separate from God instead of united with Love, then they have no power and we can dismiss them. No matter where we find ourselves, we can pause and listen for Mind’s inspiring, loving thoughts reminding us that we are really made naturally joyful and at peace.