WE all want to make our mark--to establish ourselves as valuable members of society. But sometimes it can seem as if no one appreciates our contribution. Then we may be tempted to feel that we're losing out to others and that we need either to find a way to "beat out the others or to be satisfied with less.
Both of these competitive impulses are no-win choices. If we're always trying to prove ourselves better than the other fellow, it's a sure bet that there'll always be someone out there who is ahead of us. And if we lower our expectations every time we feel frustrated, we are denying our talents. These approaches are also counterproductive because they emphasize our mortality. They focus on us as time-bound beings with limited talents and value. The Bible tells us, however, that man is spiritual and insep arable from God.
What if, instead of taking a competitive stance with others, we turn to God to discover our real value? Looking at our situation from this more spiritual perspective shows us that our individual value is based on our ability to express the qualities of God. Since God, Spirit, is the source of all being, the spiritual--and only-- reality is under God's complete control.
Acknowledging this fact makes a big difference, as I found out some time ago. I was in a situation in which my colleagues at work seemed to be more valued than I was. This left me feeling frustrated. As a result, I found myself trying to find a way to draw attention to my worth. Try as I might, however, I couldn't figure out any way to convince others that I was deserving of their greater confidence. Through my study of Christian Science, I knew I could turn to God for help.
One day when I was praying, I saw, more fully than ever before, that since I was in fact God's unlimited spiritual idea, I could never be limited to merely human wisdom and strength in pursuing right goals. I also understood that as I let God govern every aspect of my life, my career goals would become clear not just to me but to others. As I examined my motives, I felt confident that my purpose was to bless. I knew that I could turn to divine Mind for guidance in pursuing these goals.
This shift in focus--from self-involvement to reliance on God--helped to free me from hurt pride. I saw that my sense of self derives from my relationship with God, which is unbreakable and rewarding. God always knows me as His spiritual man, always worthy, always needed. And this is true for each of us. The equality brought about by our unity as children of God shows us that there's no competition in Spirit.
By the same token, it's no sign of weakness to turn to Spirit for guidance in discerning and achieving our goals. After all, Christ Jesus made clear that he turned to God for everything. In John's Gospel, we learn of his statement "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. When we accept God's control of our lives, we're relieved of the burdening sense of having to figure out everything on our own. Progressively we find that God really does impart His love in tangible ways.
Turning to the one divine Mind for our understanding of events and relationships, we find that we're able to penetrate the surface appearance of our experience to see the spiritual reality of man's oneness with God. Recognizing that God is really the source of intelligence, creativity, and strength, we feel secure and satisfied.
In my case, prayer brought me peace. I also felt loved and already appreciated. I no longer felt a need to prove myself to others. Not too long afterward, an action I'd taken many months before came to the attention of those around me and brought many expressions of appreciation and respect.
I felt reassured by this natural unfolding of God's love for me and also gained a strengthened confidence in divine justice. As Paul says in his letter to the Galatians, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
We gain our sense of worthiness from understanding our relationship to the divine Mind. Trying to impress others only makes us feel less confident, because we're depending on other people for something they don't have the power to give--security and peace, which are qualities of God, Spirit. When we seek these qualities from God, we have them in abundance, because we're seeking them from the right source. And God gives them freely. In the process, we learn more about humility. Humility should never be co nfused with abasement. It's simply not in God's nature to create a weak or flawed individual. Being good, God creates man strong and free. And man remains the way God has created him.
Speaking of God's nature, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "It would be contrary to our highest ideas of God to suppose Him capable of first arranging law and causation so as to bring about certain evil results, and then punishing the helpless victims of His volition for doing what they could not avoid doing. Good is not, cannot be, the author of experimental sins. God doesn't create man to suffer or to fail. Rath er, He creates man in His own image--whole, strong, capable, secure, and fulfilled.
By learning more of God's allness and wisdom, we magnify His goodness and partake of His love. And, in so doing, we find our own strength and security. We recognize our worth in satisfying and tangible proofs of His love.