WHEN our daughter was a toddler and learning to swim, she enjoyed ``playing alligator.'' While lying on her stomach with her head above the water, she would walk on her hands along the bottom of the shallow wading pool. This soon progressed to dog paddling where the water was a bit deeper. But when it came time to turn over on her back and float, she became what she called ``ridges.'' This was her understanding of my explanation that she would float if she would just relax and not be so rigid. Her stiffness caused her to sink like a rock whenever the supporting hand was removed from under her stiffly arched back. When she gained enough confidence and trust, however, she finally relaxed and she floated naturally on the surface -- free to breathe and watch the clouds floating in the sky. It was an amazing change, once the fear was overcome.
For those who swim, the need to relax in order to float may seem very elementary. But how often in our lives do we rigidly resist trusting God as we go about our daily tasks -- even when we feel we are sinking? We may believe in God and love Him and yet not quite be willing to have unequivocal trust in His ability to support us in every aspect of our experience.
In Exodus we read that Moses prayed, ``If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people.'' And II Chronicles records that King Hezekiah wrote to all Israel and Judah, urging that they return again to God, and he said, ``Be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord.'' Unwillingness to yield to God certainly isn't a new problem! But why aren't we more willing to yield to God's will? Are we afraid that God, good, infinite Love, is going to let us sink into loneliness, poverty, boredom, failure?
Most parents expect their children to trust their judgment as they reach out in new directions. We can be just as willing to trust our Father-Mother God. We do need, however, to become better acquainted with who and what God is and who we really are as His offspring. God is actually Love itself. And He is omnipresent Spirit, as we can learn from the Bible. Our genuine selfhood is His spiritual image, not vulnerable, not victimized. The need is increasingly to feel and know this truth through prayer and through striving to live in accord with divine law in thought and action. Growing obedience to The Ten Commandments and Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is at the very heart of such purified living. As we become more aware of God as divine Love, who nurtures and cherishes His children, it will be easier to be less ``stiffnecked.'' We can then relax in a growing confidence of God's tender love, constant care, and omnipotent ability to sustain His creation.
Christian Science helps us learn to yield to God, divine Mind, as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures when she writes: ``Christian Science brings to the body the sunlight of Truth, which invigorates and purifies.... The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind.''
As we learn to yield to God's tender care, instead of using prayer to plead with God, we begin prayerfully to acknowledge God's goodness and ever-presence. And it may be surprising to see just how quickly and effectively this spiritual yielding buoys everyday living.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.