"Persistence ... pass it on" was the headline of a billboard that I recently saw on the highway. I mentioned it to a friend who had been looking for a job, the right job. And even though the economy had supposedly been improving, he really had to persist before he finally found it. He needed ingenuity, creativity, and diligence. And, yes, some time pounding the pavement. But most of all, he told me, he needed inspiration.
I certainly understood. Inspiration is what keeps me going, too. It's what sustains my persistence. It would be pretty hard to get out of bed day after day if I weren't inspired. Inspiration has a way of lifting me up and carrying me through the day. Work, or looking for work, then, doesn't seem so laborious. Time doesn't drag on. Unfulfilled goals don't seem so discouraging. We get new ideas for staying productive and purposeful, even for finding good work. Being inspired is like being carried by a wave.
A related idea that I like and that I shared with my friend comes from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Author Mary Baker Eddy explains, "Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way" (page 454.) Love - an interest in the well-being of others, a desire to help others - is what I find actually lifts me up, enabling me to do more, and leads me to what I need to do. Love has this effect because its origins are found in something much bigger than we are, something divine and energizing.
The Bible speaks of this divine power, or God, as being our source. "For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light" (Ps. 36:9). All energy and life, all good ideas, originate with God. God is Life or Love itself, the Soul of the universe. We can never be separated from this source. We have constant access to the inspiration and energy that emanate from this Source and that empower us to persist and succeed. And as I understand that passage from Science and Health, it is our effort or willingness to love that keeps the energy flowing.
The Bible offers many examples of this. One of my favorite stories is of Joseph. As a young man, he was sold into slavery by his brothers. Later, he was unjustly put in prison. "Slave" and "prisoner" were certainly not job titles that he'd been seeking, or that he deserved. But Joseph persisted in being purposeful, inspired, and loving. He served his master faithfully. He helped his fellow inmates. And through it all, the Bible explains, "The Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper" (Gen. 39:23).
There's a lot more to Joseph's story, but the happy ending is that he went on to rule over all of Egypt. He even found that God had made him forget all his toil. And it seems to me that there's a promise in this for us. Step by step, we can follow Joseph's example. We can be purposeful, inspired, loving. We can show this side of us through meaningful, rewarding work. That's what happened with my friend.
In thinking about my friend's experience, Joseph's story, as well as my own life, I've found these points so helpful at any crossroad:
• The inspiration needed to persist in finding the right next step is always available from the divine source.
• God desires for us solutions and resolution, and He empowers us to find them.
• Feelings of discouragement and of a lack of progress are best remedied by focusing on finding inspiration.
• The inspiration and ideas flow best from a desire to help others.
• Alertness to others' needs brings the opportunities we're looking for.
And they're going to come. That's what Joseph and my friend found.
There is a spirit in man:
and the inspiration
of the Almighty
giveth them understanding.