Driving downtown at 65 m.p.h. on the freeway might not seem like a perfect time or place for a message from God that makes your thought stop short, but there it was. It was really a rebuke, but I didn't feel rebuked. Instead I just felt a powerful shift in my thinking. And then gratitude and relief.
Here's what happened. Our local art center had been hosting a collection of modern art that was hugely attractive to the community. My activity as a docent is to give tours, mostly to school groups. Usually this is fun. But this time there were way too many people in the galleries, and way too much noise, so it had been hard to give a tour. Hard to hear the students and hard to be heard. It was even difficult to get close enough to many of the works to see and appreciate them.
So at the end of a tour, I would usually feel that it had not been a good experience for those schoolchildren or teens. And now here I was driving to yet another tour, and to probably yet another feeling of failure afterward. And there was this message. I knew it was from God because it was so helpful.
The message went something like this: "How can you possibly think you are responsible for making anyone else interested, satisfied, or happy? That's My job. I am God. You and each person you meet are My children, My responsibility. I make each of you happy. I satisfy. I engage the thought. I educate. You don't."
The rebuke was to my ego. Instantly I saw that I was not personally responsible for the thinking and well-being of anyone else. I saw my job of leading those tours in a new way. God would be making me a happy, interesting, and clear communicator. And God was making each one I met focused, receptive to new ideas, and satisfied. I felt a huge burden lift. God was directing everything.
After that, the gallery was just as noisy with far too many people. But I enjoyed the tour groups. I no longer felt personally responsible for what was God's work. I knew that God was communicating to each of us everything needed for a happy and fulfilling encounter. The remaining tours were good; visitors were responsive. And for those few who didn't seem engaged, I calmly trusted that God was communicating to each what was important. I felt enormous gratitude.
That freeway message reminded me that God is the Creator, the Father, of all of us. He created us to be spiritual and complete, in His image and likeness. And so we each have a spiritual nature that is like God in a distinct way. Each of us fully represents all the qualities that are good and Godlike and required in accomplishing His holy purpose for us. In other words, we're a perfect fit for whatever we need to do in witness to God's glory (not ours).
As our Creator and our forever Father, God is responsible for each of us. And so we individually are not responsible for others. The people we think of as our responsibility (constituents, clients, a spouse, our children) are not. God is responsible for supplying what each one needs. And we can trust that God is doing this perfectly.
When we come together in any relationship, we share what we have been given by God. We share our joy, our interests, the freshness of our life, and all the other wonderful qualities that are part of our individuality. Then our relationships are mutually blessing, each one having everything that is needed to make his or her own life richer.
Another important point. When I stopped assuming that I was personally responsible for anyone else and trusted each one to God, things changed for me. Whenever our thought changes to be more in line with what is true about God, there's a corresponding change in our experience.
Our proportionate admission
of the claims of good or of evil determines the harmony
of our existence, -
our health, our longevity,
and our Christianity.
Mary Baker Eddy
(Founder of Christian Science)