When life changes course
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
I had just finished my graduate studies, purchased my first home, and begun a new job as a field director of an international program. After working through some big decisions, I was ready to settle down into my new home in the mountains and enjoy life.
This settling was short-lived, however. It often happens that just when I think my little train of life is under control and headed in a secure direction for the future, something comes up and I am set off on a new track. This is exactly what happened recently.
One week after the last box had been unpacked, I received a phone call, requesting that I come and work at the headquarters office of my new position, which was based a few hours away in a big city. While the offer was intriguing for many reasons, I couldn't figure out why, after working so hard in one direction, I would suddenly be asked to take a completely different one - one that included finding a new place to live.
That very morning I had been happily driving through the woods to my home and thanking God that life had become so satisfying and peaceful.
With so many new transitions having happened in the few months after graduate school, I found myself taking a lot of time in the morning quietly to prepare for my day by being still and affirming the good in my life. This was my daily practice while I was making so many financial and personal decisions. And once they were made, I felt I was finished and began looking forward to new opportunities to grow and learn. But I hadn't expected them to arrive in the form of a phone call later that evening.
In order to be sure about accepting this new position and whether moving again was the right thing to do, I went for a hike in the mountains. I listened deeply for clear direction, and truly to know God's will for my next step.
As I hiked, I could feel my own need to analyze and plan out my life falling away. There have been many times when I've had to make a tough decision and the only thing that was clear was that my own intellect was inadequate. Each time, the decision has instead required humble listening and thoughtful surrendering of attachment to a certain outcome or result, and trust in the wisdom and guidance of God.
One particular Bible passage has meant a lot to me at these times: "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you" (Phil. 3:15).
I feel in this passage a promise from our divine Father-Mother that says, "Relax, my child. Do not be anxious or overly intense about this decision. Trust that no matter which path you choose, I will be with you and guide you, and if the path you have chosen is not a good path, I will turn you around."
Our task is to do what is most right under the circumstances and to trust God. While the debating and analyzing of details can leave us exhausted and feeling torn, taking each step with the expectation that we will be cared for under any circumstances brings sweet assurance.
Leaning on God for decisionmaking doesn't require a perfect faith before hearing clear direction. While we cannot always rely on our reasoning skills, we can rely on infinite wisdom to guide us. Although at times wisdom may lead in a direction different from human reason, as we are willing to let go of pride and old ways of thinking about ourselves and our lives, we open to new and infinite possibilities.
I write this as I move into my new home outside the city. As I look back, I see how it took letting go of my preconceived plan for my life in order to be willing to accept a new direction. The result was even better than I'd hoped, and the experience taught me that no matter how set we may be about a certain direction in our lives, the real beauty of life isn't in keeping everything smooth and in control, but in yielding to an inspired adventure.
Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)