Have you ever played a game called "telephone"? The way you play is this: You and a group of friends sit around in a circle. One person thinks of something to say. Then, that person whispers the sentence in the ear of the person sitting next to him or her. The sentence is whispered from ear to ear until the sentence has gone around the whole circle. The last person in the circle has to say the sentence aloud.
That's when things can get pretty crazy. Maybe the first person said, "My sister has polka-dot pants." But the last person might say, "My sister has a hippopotamus for an aunt!" Or maybe the first person whispered, "I like spaghetti with meatballs for dinner." But the last person might say, "I hiked with confetti in my overalls last winter."
Even when there are just a few people in your circle, the sentence never comes out sounding the same. But everyone knows that what the last person says is going to be different (and a whole lot sillier) than what the first person said. That's what makes the game so funny.
Of course, getting the wrong message isn't always funny. A wrong message could mean missing the beginning of soccer practice or not knowing about an invitation to a friend's party. These are mixed-up messages that could certainly cause a lot of problems!
Believe it or not, thoughts of sickness or loneliness or fear are mixed-up messages, too. They might seem real and true, but they actually aren't. Why not? Because they aren't the thoughts that God thinks about us. They aren't the good things He tells us about ourselves.
God sees each of us as perfect. He sees us the way He made us, as healthy and helpful and loving. He sees only what is true - that we are actually spiritual, not material.
What does it mean to say we're spiritual and not material? It means that who we are isn't based on the color of our eyes or whether we're short or tall. Even twins, who look the same, are two different people. You can tell this by the way they act. One might love music, while the other may like sports.
In other words, it's our qualities that make us individuals. The special way we each express creativity and strength (and everything in between) is our spiritual selfhood. It's what makes you, you, and me, me.
When we think about ourselves this way, we're actually listening to what God is saying. We're trusting His messages, and only His messages, to understand who we really are. We're trusting what's called spiritual sense. When we do this, we can't go wrong.
I discovered this when my gums were really swollen. At first, I was worried. But I knew there was one thing I could do, and that was to listen to God and only to God. As I listened, I remembered a Bible verse that says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5).
This verse was a reminder to stay true to what God knows about me. So, I stopped looking at my gums and started listening to spiritual sense. I wanted to understand myself as perfect - just the way God made and sees me. Soon, I began to feel peaceful, and I fell asleep.
Around 5 o'clock in the morning, I woke up with my gums hurting worse than ever. For a moment, I was scared. But then I remembered the second half of that Bible verse: "Lean not unto thine own understanding." What that verse said to me was that I could and should continue to listen to spiritual sense. It was telling me what was true - that I was already perfect. And so, trusting that, I went back to sleep.
When I woke up again later, I found that my gums were no longer swollen. In listening to God's messages, I was able to see and feel what was true about me, even when my body was trying to tell me otherwise. I was healed.
In that game of "telephone," no matter how silly or crazy the last person's sentence may be, the first person always knows what was said at the beginning. What the last person says doesn't really change the first person's sentence. In just the same way, God always knows what's true about each one of us. And, trusting spiritual sense, we can find this out at any moment. We can understand that we're spiritual and perfect, no matter what. All we have to do is listen to the right message.