I was dating a very nice guy I'd met at church. He seemed so perfect. He was courteous, diligent, and just an all around good man – and I appreciated that. We had a nice time together, but it was pretty clear to both of us that it would be a mistake to get married.
So, I should have been prepared when he broke up with me after several months, but instead it hit me hard. It started to eat away at me that such a good man didn't think I was the right kind of woman for him. Even though on one level I knew we were doing the right thing, and that I actually was a reasonably good person, I started to question my love-worthiness.
The thought of not being good enough caught hold, and I had a hard time shaking it. And because I didn't nip it in the bud, that line of thinking gradually grew and took on a life of its own. I started to imagine that my friend had actually said that I wasn't good enough for him. Then I decided that meant I must not be good. So then what good was I? This train of thought repeated itself over and over, spiraling downward, as if sucking me into its whirlpool.
For a period of about two years I felt increasingly worthless and miserable. It was a constant battle between what I knew was true about God and His love for me, and what this mesmeric miasma was making me feel like.
One Friday afternoon, I went home for the weekend feeling desperate for an answer. My thoughts were no longer just dark – I was thinking about committing suicide. Even though I knew deep down that death wasn't a solution, I kept thinking about it.
All day that Saturday, I sat on the steps of a building where no one would know me. I went over and over the cyclical scenario of being no good and unworthy of love. And I kept asking God why I should live.
Once when I'd had another tough question, I'd persistently asked God for an answer. After a while, a very clear concept had developed in my thinking, to the point that I'd known without a doubt that it was God's reply.
Now this time, I was again determined to ask and listen for the answer until it came. After many hours, I trudged back to my apartment – without an answer. But I kept asking.
Back in my room, I sat on a stool, chin in my hands, staring at the rug. Despite its being threadbare and faded, I liked this rug. It came from my grandparents' house and had an alternating pattern of whimsical striped and flowered squares. As I sat there staring at the rug, asking God why I should live, this new thought came: That pattern is there simply to delight people. That is its whole purpose. Someone designed that pattern just to express creative joy!
As a matter of fact, wasn't that what all decorative patterns are for? And if a mere rug pattern was created with the purpose of expressing such a bright quality of God's nature, well, certainly I must have at least that much purpose! These ideas felt full of light, which helped me recognize that they were clearly from my Creator, God.
And that was it. I saw at that moment that I existed to express delight, and life, and joy, and beauty – even whimsy. God had created me to express His attributes in a unique, vital way. It wasn't even my choice. I had to.
Just that fast, the months of swirling negative thoughts vanished, along with the miserable mood and self-centered stewing. I was healed. All that mattered to me was expressing God's delight.
God had lovingly answered my need that day. In a way that spoke to me clearly, He had shown me a truth about my existence. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "The spiritual fact, repeated in the action of man and the whole universe, is harmonious and is the ideal of Truth" (p. 207). I'd been shown this "spiritual fact" – my reason for being – and I knew that this truth had to be repeated in my action. So I stood up, and got on with living.
First published in the Christian Science Sentinel.