Filling one's niche

IN many areas the current of thought about employment seems to be ``It doesn't matter how well qualified or talented you are, there simply aren't enough opportunities to go around.'' But quite often it's qualifications and talent that make opportunities open up where there didn't seem to be any before. Christian Science teaches that each one of us is in reality an individual spiritual being, created and governed by God, the divine Principle of the universe. The basis for this teaching is Biblical, because the Bible tells us that man is God's likeness and that God is Spirit. Despite what our physical senses tell us, life is actually spiritual, unlimited, expressing God's nature. Man is spiritual, always the full, infinite, and complete reflection of divine goodness. A perception of this absolute truth shows us that there are always plenty of opportunities to express intelligence and integrity and initiative in an individual way. So we're not really mortal personalities, struggling to make a place for ourselves in a hostile world, though it often looks that way. Actually, we're individual offspring of God, abiding in the place that God has prepared for us. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity.'' 1 God gives us our niche. What we have to do is to fill it. This isn't a kind of fatalistic outlook that believes all human experience is foreordained. Rather, it's a view that recognizes each individual's indispensable purpose in the divine order, and opens thought to the continuous unfolding of the infinite variety and distinctiveness of God's creation. A young woman learned something of this when she graduated as a music major from university and was faced with the need to decide what to do next at a time when a dearth of employment prospects was very apparent. She was a Christian Scientist and had been taught to think of herself as a spiritual being with her own individual niche to fill in God's universe, one that was in every way right for her. So her approach to the employment situation was expectant. And the effortless way in which her work came about showed the value of thinking more spiritually. She took the simple step of advertising her services as a violin teacher in one or two of the local shops and libraries, and within a very short time she had three conveniently placed schools to teach in, as well as half a dozen private pupils and a Sunday afternoon coaching session with a local youth orchestra. Looking back on her first term of teaching, she realized that one of the most stimulating things about it was having to be constantly receptive to new ideas and different ways of explaining things to meet the individual requirements and individual situations. She knew that the ideas she needed came from the one divine Mind, or God, and were always available to her. She noticed too that if she ever started egotistically thinking she was rather good at her work, she dried up and had to remind herself where

the ideas and the individuality came from--that she was always the receiver and not the originator of them. The Apostle Paul, that ardent follower of Christ Jesus, gave an admirable example of filling one's own niche and seeing its possibilities open up. He wrote: ``Every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.'' 2 At first a niche may conjure up the picture of sitting still in a corner indefinitely, but there's never anything static about individuality. It keeps on developing. Otherwise it would stop being individual. Mrs. Eddy writes: ``In obedience to the divine nature, man's individuality reflects the divine law and order of being. How shall we reach our true selves? Through Love.'' A few lines further along she asks, ``Who wants to be mortal, or would not gain the true ideal of Life and recover his own ind ividuality?'' 3 This is a very searching question for each one of us to ask himself, because it's the understanding and expressing of our true individuality that makes us able to go on filling our own particular niche satisfactorily. 1 Retrospection and Introspection, p. 70. 2 I Corinthians 7:7. 3 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 104. 30{et

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