Feeling trapped?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

There have been many, many times when I've felt trapped.

When I was a teenager, and on into my early 20s, I learned to face this feeling by becoming an escape artist of sorts. When I grew dissatisfied with my college, I transferred. If I didn't like a job, I quit. When I thought I might prefer another climate, I moved. If I didn't like my boyfriend, I would move without leaving a forwarding address. When I didn't like what my country was doing, I bought a Eurailpass and left. And so on. But as I grew older - and also as I began to care more about other people and not just myself - things got more complicated. I couldn't always just cut and run.

Then, about 10 years ago, I began to face an onslaught of tough situations from which there appeared to be no escape. These came one right after another, in a broad spectrum of areas - family, finances, career. Sometimes these situations depended on somebody else's choices. I wasn't the one in charge, and I couldn't make a move unless someone else acted first. Or maybe there was a moral issue - maybe I could make a move, but I didn't really have the right. I felt stuck.

During this time, I made a search of the word "escape" in the Bible and in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. Two passages - one from each book - became my lifeboats. I memorized them and thought about them a lot throughout my day.

The one in the Bible is: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Cor. 10:13). I knew that a good God couldn't have sent a "temptation" - whatever the problem happened to be. But I was convinced that He would send an escape, a way out. That escape was with the temptation - simultaneous with it. Furthermore, I began to see that my temptations - these various stalemates - weren't just "my" problems. I had them in common with a lot of other people. I began to pray for solutions that might help not just me, but everyone involved.

The brief passage from Science and Health I thought so much about was: "Man is more than a material form with a mind inside, which must escape from its environments in order to be immortal" (page 258).

To me, this meant that I didn't really have to go anywhere before I could begin to see myself as something more than this "stuck" human being. I learned during this time to lean on God as the Great Momentum in my life - to say in my prayers, "All right, God, given that You wouldn't let me be stuck without a way out, I'm listening!" And one after another, each of the situations in which I'd felt trapped were resolved - sometimes in ways that seemed miraculous.

Sometimes, someone else would make a decision that would shake the rocks in the wall that I was facing just enough to let me move ahead. Sometimes, it was very clear to me that I should be the one to act. But by then, I was so sure I was leaning on God that I knew the solution had come from Him. And I could trust His wisdom to care for everyone involved.

I have to think that God Himself is leading each of us to escape in this way - from the confinement of thinking of ourselves, or of being thought of by others, as nothing more than a body with a mind inside. We are God's sons and daughters - spiritual beings, really, not merely human ones. The Great Momentum speaks directly to each of us. The escape is already there.

Remember, thou canst
be brought into no condition,
be it ever so severe, where
Love has not been before thee
and where its tender lesson
is not awaiting thee.
Therefore despair not
nor murmur,
for that which seeketh to save,
to heal, and to deliver,
will guide thee,
if thou seekest this guidance.

Mary Baker Eddy

(Founder of Christian Science)

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