Feeling Used?

I WAS exhausted. The relationship with a friend had become a virtual roller coaster! We often had fun. And I was genuinely happy to be there when my friend needed to talk. But the disappointments were accumulating. He was mourning a broken marriage. I was beginning to think I knew why it failed. I sometimes felt used, as though I were simply convenient.

At first I tried to scale back the relationship by convincing myself that the friendship wasn't important. I tried being angry about the bad things so I could stop hoping to share the good things. But this didn't work. It certainly didn't bring me peace. Finally I prayed. After all, Christ Jesus healed mental as well as physical ills--grief, insanity, fear, despair, among them. Today we can find peace and healing by drawing close to the same loving God to whom Jesus prayed. We, too, can become conscious of divine Love's presence and power.

From my study of Christian Science I knew I couldn't change someone else's outlook or behavior--and I didn't need to. I did have the ability, however, to pray for the change that needed to take place in my own thoughts and actions. Gratitude, unselfishness, and forgiveness help to gentle and improve our daily lives. So I tried to be more grateful, unselfish, and forgiving in everything I did. I even put a note on my computer terminal as a reminder to myself. It was a quotation from Miscellaneous Writings

by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She wrote in a letter to The Mother Church: "May God give unto us all that loving sense of gratitude which delights in the opportunity to cancel accounts.

Still, I didn't seem to be making much progress. Then one day a whole new way of looking at things struck me. I had been trying hard to not feel misused in the relationship. Suddenly I realized I should be striving to be used--but used by God! I prayed to serve His purpose. Because God is Love, His purpose is good and satisfying. Under divine Love's government, one doesn't gain good at another's expense. Good is infinite. It includes everyone. I prayed to be more aware of God's government right where I w as, to demonstrate this spiritual law in my life.

When we're being receptive to God's loving direction, doing His will, we can't be used for selfish purposes at the same time. The words of a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal express how my prayer changed. The first verse begins: "Take my life, and let it be / Consecrated, Lord, to Thee. And the last verse opens by saying: "Take my every thought, to use / In the way that Thou shalt choose. It wasn't long before my friend initiated a heart-to-heart talk. He wanted to know what was causing the growing e strangement between us. I found I could voice my feelings without condemnation, blame, or emotionalism. And it wasn't one of those times where you talk for hours only to find the next day that nothing has changed. It was a turning point. The friendship has become more supportive for both of us.

The Bible, in the book of Revelation, declares of God, "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. God created us for His purpose and pleasure. He wasn't created for ours! When I first prayed about feeling misused, I actually was trying to use prayer as a sort of fix-it activity. But when I humbly prayed to see what I could do for God, my situation changed. To be effective, prayer needs to be unselfish. When we're preoccupied with how hurt we feel, our thought is focuse d on ourselves. When we're willing to focus on God, instead, we're ready for progress and healing. I never thought it would feel good to be used. But it does--as long as we're being used by God.

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