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Rise above the world’s view

From the September 2019 issue of The Christian Science Journal

When I was making the transition from being a stay-at-home mom to reentering the workforce, I prayed for God’s guidance about the right next step for me and our family. I was led to take a course to become a real estate agent, and upon passing the real estate licensing exam, I signed to work for a broker. 

However, during the office training I began to question whether I’d been led into the right profession. Classes were focused more on how to persuade clients than I was comfortable with. I’d assumed I’d have support for a customer service perspective in which I was truly representing buyers’ and sellers’ needs, but the training was more about influencing clients with scripted answers intended to overcome their objections. The overriding priority was making a sale. 

Rather than just going along with worldly thinking, I prayerfully sought the truth about God’s unfoldment for me. I began by affirming that our divine Father-Mother knows each one of us as His, Her, image and likeness—a beloved expression of all that God is, eternally inseparable from Him. The implications of this truth are infinite and challenge us to look out from this spiritual perspective in every aspect of our lives. 

Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, encouraged us to see beyond a limited, worldly view of ourselves: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). 

Since God is infinite good, God’s will can include only goodness and perfection for each of us as His image. Recognizing this spiritual truth regularly in prayer clarifies our perspective and keeps us from adopting a limited, material view. 

As I prayed to see my situation spiritually, the answer came that the world’s view (or at least the prevailing real estate view) of how best to help people find or sell a home didn’t have to be my view. I was free to act in accord with the inspiration coming to me from God.

My recognition of what home represents is shaped by the twenty-third Psalm and by Mary Baker Eddy’s spiritual interpretation of it in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. On page 578 she writes, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [love] for ever.” 

I felt sure that this appreciation for what home truly is—the consciousness of Love, God—would support my work, and that a limited human view of home buying and selling didn’t have to define my approach. 

Another prevailing world view was that my success as an agent would flow in part from who I knew. But since we’d recently moved to our community, I didn’t have much of a real estate network. However, the reassuring thought came that it was indeed who I knew that determined my success—I knew God. 

I’m grateful to say that the five years I spent working in real estate were successful in every sense of the word, and more than met our family’s goals until we moved to accept a new opportunity in a different state. This showed me the value of basing our view, and therefore our thoughts and actions, on what God knows rather than what the world thinks.

Mrs. Eddy encouraged us to be sure we are recognizing and following God’s direction in fulfilling His purpose for us, rather than allowing the world’s opinions to shape our lives. In Science and Health she uses the metaphor of a sculptor referring to his model as he works. She likens this to people sculpting their thought from either an imperfect, mortal model or a perfect, spiritual one. 

“Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model?” she writes on page 248. “The world is holding it before your gaze continually. The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models. 

“To remedy this, we must first turn our gaze in the right direction, and then walk that way. We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives.” 

Since God is infinite good, God’s will can include only goodness and perfection for each of us.

A Bible passage that is read at the close of each Christian Science Sunday church service includes a reference to “the world” that underscores what our focus should be. It begins, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not” (I John 3:1). The magnitude of God’s love for us as his spiritual children is unseen by worldly thinking. The prevailing view of man as a material person separate from God misses the importance of Christ Jesus’ message about man’s oneness with the Father. 

The Bible text goes on to state that our sonship with God is now and forever, and that our correct perception of Jesus and his mission sheds light on this sonship. As Science and Health observes: “Neither the origin, the character, nor the work of Jesus was generally understood. Not a single component part of his nature did the material world measure aright” (p. 28). 

It takes consistent alertness to demonstrate the truth of our unity with God, and to reject worldly assumptions about our lives. 

Last year my beloved husband of 39 years passed away. He was the best friend, husband, father, and grandfather I have ever known. We both recognized that God had brought us together, and we were grateful that it was so evident in our consistently joyous and blessed companionship with one another.

What does the world say about such an event for those who are left behind? There is an expectation of grief, even a misplaced sense that sadness is part of truly honoring the loved one who passed. However, Christian Science reminds us of Jesus’ insistence that we are all one with God, always, in spite of what the world thinks.

As the Bible records Jesus’ prayer to God before his crucifixion, “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:22). And Science and Health says, “As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being” (p. 361).

I can honestly and gratefully say that a conviction of these truths has kept me from experiencing a sense of grief. A tangible feeling of my husband’s love for me, and God’s love for both of us, was apparent right away. The reassurance that neither of us could ever be separated from Love kept me from feeling any self-pity, and convinced me that my husband was continuing to glorify God and demonstrate God’s purpose for him. 

My gratitude for God’s ongoing care of us supported me fully in the initial days following my husband’s passing—in joyously celebrating him with close family members who gathered, in continuing my uninterrupted participation in church twice a week, in comforting others who were missing my husband or concerned about me, and in making the decisions that presented themselves with clarity and confidence.

Further proof of this dominion came when my husband was to be honored a few weeks later at our college reunion. I was so pleased to be able to share in the recognition of his contribution to our alma mater, where we had lived and worked for the prior ten years. While I was driving to the event, I found myself happily singing hymns. As I sang Mrs. Eddy’s “Communion Hymn,” I was struck by the words: 

Mourner, it calls you,—“Come to my bosom,
Love wipes your tears all away,
And will lift the shade of gloom,
And for you make radiant room
Midst the glories of one endless day.”
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 298)

I was puzzled that this stanza particularly registered in my thought, since I couldn’t identify with the references to tears or gloom. Then I remembered that part of my purpose in attending this event was to witness Love’s lifting of gloom for any there who might be in need of comfort. I’m so grateful for this inspiration and further preparation of my thought, as I was able to not only assure fellow alumni that I was well, but also comfort some who appreciated the conviction that we could remember all the fine qualities my husband expressed without a shade of gloom. As God is our creator, the source of all that we truly are, we know that the eternal, unique individuality of each of us is forever at one with God and continually expressed.

Worldly thinking, with its outcomes and restrictions based on limited material viewpoints, has no claim on us. As we watch the direction of our thought and recognize that God, divine Mind, is the real source of all ideas, we can rise above any temptation to limit our God-given freedom. This stance honors God, our creator, as the First Commandment instructs us: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). 

It takes discipline to listen only to what God is directing us to do, but our humble willingness to obey this commandment keeps us spiritually on course. It is sincere prayer that unfolds God’s direction for us. As we act from the enduring joy and courage that is ours as the expression of divine Spirit, we find opportunities to demonstrate our true purpose, unlimited potential, and eternal oneness with Love.

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