THERE are many ways in which we depend on others. For example, the boss relies on the secretary to keep track of his or her appointments; friends sharing living quarters depend on one another in order to maintain their home. These and other dependencies are perfectly normal. But sometimes things get out of balance, and one person starts to rely too much on the other. For instance, a supervisor may be reluctant to promote a worker because ``nobody else can do that job.'' Letting this kind of thinking take control may make us feel insecure and threatened by change.
This is where prayer can be a wonderful help, because it enables us to gain a new perspective. It also gives us a much clearer sense of our relationship to God and of His control of our lives. This places our relations with others on a completely different basis.
Christian Science teaches that man is literally God's reflection, and this means that he is inseparable from God. Christ Jesus declared, ``I and my Father are one.''1 From this spiritual standpoint, we see God as a Father who loves each of His children without partiality and to whom each one is special.
The truest relationship is the one between man and the one all-good God. When we see this as primary, understand it to be the spiritual reality of our existence, our relationships to one another fall into place. Why? Because we're yielding to God's perfect government of His creation, in which there is no conflict. We're viewing others from a more spiritually-minded standpoint, recognizing that all are His children.
As we accept the control of divine wisdom, we become more loving and intelligent in how we conduct ourselves and treat others. We become more willing to trust God's care in meeting our needs instead of depending excessively on others or trying to manipulate them into doing our will instead of what is right for them. Following the code of conduct spelled out in Christ Jesus' teachings is essential in yielding to God's government and serves to keep relationships on a sound basis.
For example, some years ago another woman and I were sharing a house. Although everything had been fine, suddenly we entered a period of great turmoil, and it seemed as though my friend might be planning to move out.
Besides being upset about what this might do to our friendship, I was very concerned because I couldn't pay the whole rent myself, and I didn't know anyone else who would be interested in living in our small town. In short, I was scared, and when I'm scared, I pray.
As I did this, I realized that for months I had been assuming that my friend's aspirations were the same as my own. I had also been assuming that if any change were to take place, it would be I who would be initiating it. I had, in other words, been thinking of myself as ``top dog,'' despite our efforts to keep a balanced, equitable arrangement. And by tying her plans to mine I had also been unconsciously denying her right to express her own special identity.
I had to recognize that my friend and I had equal rights under God's law of love. Whatever good was in store would have to benefit both of us as individuals -- and specifically as children of God. I also understood that my home was no more dependent on my friend than hers was on me, since all good comes from God. Each of us received good directly from ourFather, not from each other. This didn't necessarily mean that we would go our separate ways or that we would share housing expenses. It simply meant that whatever happened, I could trust that, as Mary Baker Eddy2 writes, ``divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.''3
The result? My friend had been praying too, and we were able to resolve our difficulties and to build a stronger friendship in a more mutually supportive environment where each of us could pursue -- and is still pursuing -- individual activities.
When we are willing to trust God, truly to depend on Him alone, we open the door to good that is without limit because it comes from an infinitely loving God, not from other humans. And through prayer we can prove God's love to be totally dependable.
1John 10:30. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. Psalms 118:8