"I yam what I yam!"

". . . And that's all that I yam." Popeye the Sailor certainly suffers from no identity crisis! He knows exactly who he is and what he can do. His poise and self-confidence are unshakable, and when things get tough, there's always that can of spinach to give him extra strength.

The self-esteem of a Popeye is probably something we all could use a little more of. But too often our own, "I am what I am, and that's all that I am" is a despairing cry. We may heartily wish we were anything but what we seem to be -- unhappy, unattractive, lacking in self- respect. Even a can of Popeye's superpower spinach wouldn't help much if we don't like ourselves.

But maybe Popeye's famous saying has more significance than we might expect. For just as his dominion comes from knowing what he is and is not, so we can find a spiritual power in knowing what we are and are not according to the divine sense of things.

To the material senses, the "I am" seems to be a physical body with a resident mind. Opposed to this material sense of "I" is spiritual sense, the divine presence in human consciousness that testifies to the true nature of being. Spiritual sense reveals the I AM to be spirit, God, and man to be His expression -- spiritual, eternal, infinite.

So-called human consciousness is composed of these two opposite senses of existence -- divine Mind, testifying to the spiritual and matter-mind testifying to the material.In most people, the material sense, or consciousness, of existence is preponderant. But through prayer based on the truth of spiritual being, the divine sense of Life and the happiness and health it brings may be increased without limit.

What does this prayer entail? Certainly, right desire. We must honestly want to know divine Truth, even to the point of laying aside our human conceptions. Then we argue for and affirm the truth of being. Here Christian Science is invaluable. It enables us to lift our prayers by giving us powerful, spiritual truths to embrace and understand.

This is an example from Christian Science's Discoverer, Mary Baker eddy: "In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence." She concludes, "Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being." n1

n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 63

Any of these truths could be the basis of our prayer. But the goal is not merely to repeat words, however inspiring. It is to understand them, to feel in the very fiber of our being that truth ism truth. Then, as Paul says, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." n2 Whatever the mode of prayer, whatever the truth used, the result should be the concrete sense that we are in fact God's offspring, the children of the "beautiful, good, and pure."

n2 Romans 8:16

When this is genuinely felt, regeneration and healing are sure to follow. Spiritualize thought always results in the subjection of matter and its discordant conditions. This is the law of God. When evil thoughts or disease would claim to control us, we can declare like a stalwart Popeye, "I am what God made me to be -- perfect, sinless, whole -- and that's all that I am." This is not positive thinking but spiritual knowing based on Truth, the divine Principle of the universe.

So if we are feeling afraid, we can affirm, "I am what I am -- god's beloved, protected child, safe in His care." If we seem to need more talent, more intelligence, the truth is, "I am the offspring, the manifestation, of infinite Mind and express Mind's ability and intelligence." Whatever the problem, the right sense of what we are -- based on what God is -- is the saving solution.

Our confidence in the truth of being and its unlimited applicability will grow with practice and obedience to God's laws, until our reliance on Truth becomes second nature, then first. Popeye's "I yam what I yam" can be a reminder that we are what we are in truth -- the children of God. And that's all that we are. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Now, O Lord, thou artour father; . . . and w e all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8

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