Trying Too Hard?
SOMETIMES we think it will take tremendous effort and adjustment on our part to bring harmony into our experience. But, in fact, none of our own efforts are adequate to create harmony. When we're ``trying too hard,'' what we really need to do is yield to the good that God is already giving us.
Let me give you an example. A couple I know had reached what appeared to be a crisis in their relationship. They had always solved crises before through employing their understanding of what Christ Jesus taught and practiced. More and more they had grown to understand that love was not a personal possession to be shared or withdrawn according to circumstances or merit. Love is something you naturally and unequivocally express as the child of God, who is divine Love.
In her Miscellaneous Writings Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal'' (p. 250).
But, though this couple had faced and overcome so many challenges over the years, on this particular occasion the crisis seemed deeper, sharper--even unsolvable. Should they finally give up and go their separate ways? They were tempted, this time, to say yes. First, though, they each prayed. And as they prayed they were both turning away from the mortal way of looking at things, to God.
At that moment it was clear that neither spouse could do enough to stave off the impending disaster in their relationship. ``Well, I know I can't do anything more!'' the wife thought. ``So, dear God, it's up to You!'' Almost on bended knee, she humbly prayed, ``Dear God, please send Your Christ into my consciousness and into my heart and into the heart of all involved!''
It was a simple, heartfelt prayer. Soon, growing compassion led to a flood of love for her husband and to the realization that, more than all else, he needed to feel God's love. She began to think less of her own needs and expectations and more of how she wanted to help her husband to feel this love of God.
Shortly thereafter, through almost no human effort at all, a lovely sunrise of renewal took place in their relationship. It was as if none of the discord, hurt, and anguish had ever taken place! It was a real Christian victory for both of them!
Best of all, they continued to learn more about Love. Divine Love is permanent because God never changes. Our human sense of things is variable and subject to discord. But spiritual sense, coupled with sincere humility, shows us the ever-presence of divine Love. When we're willing to be Christlike, we grow in Christian character.
In Mark's Gospel, we read that when asked for ``the first commandment of all'' Christ Jesus gave this answer: ``Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself'' (12:28-31).
We can be willing to give up our ineffective striving for the victory that Christ always brings to our experience. ``Trying too hard'' isn't necessary because we are God's children and it is our nature to love good, to love God and His Christ! And, to love each other!