Handling the stress of tax season
A Christian Science perspective: How prayer can be an aid for overcoming the stress of tax season.
Tax season can be challenging with the paperwork to find, the specific tax laws to abide by, and then finally the news that we may or may not owe more than we have paid throughout the year. This can create a sense of worry, stress, and fear.
A few years ago, I found myself responsible not only for my own taxes, but the taxes of a relative and those of a friend whose estate I had to settle. There were many documents missing or misplaced, and the estate was very complicated. Besides the missing documents and unknown assets, several of the recipients of estate funds lived in different parts of the world and they had to be tracked down and identified. I was awake many nights feeling frustrated and worried. After several weeks, I had hit a wall and felt I just wouldn’t be able to get it all done. It was at that a point that I decided to pray. I knew that prayer is very effective in helping us complete tasks that seem impossible, so I prayed for a larger understanding that God was in control.
Christian Science has taught me to think of God as the all-knowing and all-seeing power that provides answers to our concerns and supplies all our needs. As I thought about that, I realized that whatever I needed to know would be revealed and that nothing could remain hidden or lost. Whenever something needed to be uncovered, I turned my thought to the fact that God supplies all our needs and leads us to where we need to go. Praying this way helped me sleep, and I stopped worrying. Within a short time, all the assets of the estate were located, the beneficiaries were contacted, and the necessary taxes were paid.
Since that experience, I’ve learned that prayer is a wonderful solution to heal the issues encountered at tax time. There’s a series of statements in the book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” that I’ve found especially appropriate for finding relief from the stress, fear, and worry that one can feel this time of year. Mary Baker Eddy writes in reference to the laws of God, or the divine Science of being: “Let us accept Science, relinquish all theories based on sense-testimony, give up imperfect models and illusive ideals; and so let us have one God, one Mind, and that one perfect, producing His own models of excellence.” And a little later she continues: “Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine ‘powers that be’ ” (p. 249). I find in this passage specific, helpful guidance for bringing about healing through my prayers.
For instance, when I accept the divine Science of being, I’m accepting the fact that I’m governed by spiritual law. Giving thought to those laws helps me understand more about my relationship to God. Some of those laws are as simple as the fact that God unfailingly loves and supports me as His offspring (see I John 3:1). I’ve found that prayer helps me feel that love and care, and removes the feelings of stress, anger, fear, or worry.
Praying to relinquish material theories reminds me that I have the right to challenge the limited and hopeless conclusions of the material senses. For example, the stress of the season may come from a sense of fear that things are out of control. Spiritual law tells me that God, good, is always in control. When I pray to see things as under the control of God, the suggestions of fear or confusion are resolved. The thought that documents can be lost or misplaced comes from the mistaken idea that God, the all-knowing Mind, is disordered and that we are not made in the image of intelligent Mind (see Genesis 1:26, 27). Spiritual law tells me Mind always knows all, and as Mind’s reflection I can know all I need to know.
Lifting my thought above the material sense of things to the spiritual brings rejoicing. I see I am governed by “the divine powers that be.” The understanding of those powers resolves the fear, relieves the stress, and eliminates whatever is unlike the harmony of God. I’ve learned that tax time doesn’t have to be a time of distress, but can be a time of witnessing the power of God in operation.