THIS is what a friend said to me as we hung up the telephone! Surprised by the freshness of her closing remarks, I found these words had an immediate effect. Right away I felt buoyant and encouraged! Over many months these words have stayed with me and caused me to think more deeply about what it really means to shine. They've made me think about the wonderful people who are shining examples of Christliness -- who express such qualities as patience, consistency, dominion, tenderness, caring, joy, and spontaneity, even in the face of discouraging circumstances. Their lives have been beacons of light. They don't live these qualities so that others will be impressed with them; they live them because it's the true nature of man to express the divine nature. Lives like these exemplify the fulfillment of Jesus' counsel ``Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.''1
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``The lives of great men and women are miracles of patience and perseverance. Every luminary in the constellation of human greatness, like the stars, comes out in the darkness to shine with the reflected light of God.''2
The study of Christian Science has taught me that as I better understand and value my individuality as the reflection of God, I can better let go of any negative, self-willed traits that would claim to be my identity. Every time I am willing to drop ungodlike traits, no matter how long they seem to have been a part of me, I find that I can better express the radiant joy that I understand I possess as God's offspring.
Perceiving the spiritual identity of ourselves and others gives us the needed dominion to put what we know to be true of man into practice. I recall one time when there was a potential argument brewing between my daughter and me. We'd been at crossroads like this before, and all the signs were that a verbal battle was imminent. But this time I refused to react and instead went off to another part of the house and just quietly, in prayer, asked God to tell me about His child that He had made.
I began at that moment to perceive and accept only what was true of us both as God's offspring. Looking back, I realize that I was perceiving her real selfhood and mine to be God's loved, peace-filled child. I saw that all that could really go on in God's kingdom was harmony.
Within a few minutes she came downstairs to discuss an assignment for a course she was taking, and in a short time we were laughing together. The storm clouds of reaction and anger were dissolved, because the light of our true natures was shining right in our midst. Even though this was a small incident, it has enabled me to see in other ways the value of turning to God to show me my own and others' true individuality. Anything that would obscure our clear perception either of our own or another's relationship to God can be and must be negated through prayer.
The words ``keep shining'' are an invitation to practice what we spiritually understand about our relationship to God. I recall as a child earnestly asking a parent, ``What is God?'' My search over many years has given me the satisfying answer that our all-knowing, ever-present God is both Father and Mother, who dearly loves His creation.
As we gain the conviction that God is our only true Parent, we find that this helps heal us of hereditary and other troubles. It may seem hard to think of ourselves in spiritual terms, as the offspring of the one God, but we can make steady progress in this direction. And when we see the results of our efforts, we'll turn to God on a more consistent basis.
Our true, shining individuality is an expression of God's nature as the one infinite Mind, as pure Soul, as indestructible Spirit, as invariable Principle, as eternal Life, Truth, and Love. By considering these Biblically based synonyms for God and by seeing what qualities they include, we begin to enlarge our concept of God and of man as he truly is.
When we express our real, Godlike nature in tenderness, intelligence, integrity, order, purity, and so forth, we are letting our light shine. And we find ourselves better able to bless those around us. I think of how many times I have been blessed by my friend's two words, and so I say to you, ``Keep shining!''
1Matthew 5:16. 2Miscellaneous Writings, p. 340.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Walk as children of light. Ephesians 5:8