When our best efforts aren't enough

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

No one could say I hadn't done my job. I'd been diligent about fact-checking and addressing even the most insignificant of details. But shortly before the project I'd been working on was about to go public, I discovered that another member of my team had made a last-minute decision that, to me, threatened the integrity of the whole thing. Worse yet, there was nothing I could say or do to stop the (now-flawed) project from moving forward.

The good news was that I knew there was a precedent for taking these types of situations to God. The Bible is full of examples of the kinds of ingenious, and supremely creative, solutions that appear when we lay aside our personal efforts in favor of seeing the power and intelligence of God at work in our lives.

Trapped between an army of Egyptians and a wall of water, Moses turned to God and literally saw a sea part - and a path to freedom appear. Faced with thousands of people to feed, and only five loaves and two fish, Jesus thanked God for His goodness - and everyone ate.

I asked myself: Was I willing to trust that God had a solution, even if I couldn't see what it was?

Yes, I was.

Could I let go of my ideas about how things should play out, especially my feeling that the new direction would lead only to disaster?

I couldn't give a ready "yes" in response to that question, so that was where my prayers began.

I asked God for the humility to see things as He was seeing them. And I started with what Jesus called one of the two great commandments: loving God with my whole heart (see Matt. 22:37, 38).

OK, so the connection between humility and loving God might seem a little incongruous, but I've found that the only way to get my preconceived notions out of the way is to love God with a love that says: "Thank you, Father, for doing enough. Thank you for being supremely good. Thank you for caring for every facet of Your creation. Thank you for being divine Mind. For knowing all, seeing all, directing all - always."

I was only a few minutes into this line of thinking when a feeling of peace washed over me. I felt the truth of Mary Baker Eddy's statement, "Mind's control over the universe, including man, is no longer an open question, but is demonstrable Science" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 171). I saw that of course God was caring for this project. And I felt His love for me, His delight that I cared so much to do His work. But I also felt release. The situation, I saw, wasn't in my hands to ma-nipulate, solve, finagle. God already had everything under control.

Amazingly, this peace also brought with it the realization that I was suddenly completely unconcerned about the outcome of this project. I was too busy loving God and His care for His creation to fret about that. I saw, as I can see only when I'm feeling the humility that comes from God, that I didn't need to know what would happen next. My job was to be grateful for the inevitably good outcome - God's design, not mine - whatever it was.

So far was the project from my thoughts that it took me a moment to realize what this team member was talking about when she told me on Monday that she'd reconsidered her earlier decision. She'd realized the new direction was potentially more harmful than helpful, so she'd gone back to the original plan. Best of all: She even seemed happy with this latest development.

So was I. Not because I'd gotten my way. But because this outcome was clearly of God.

This incident gave me a new model for evaluating what exactly constitutes a worthy effort on anyone's part.

I see now that our job isn't to try our hardest to do what's right from a personal perspective - even if that approach seems the clear solution. Instead, it's to cultivate a kind of humility that yearns to see God's intelligent care for His creation. And to love Him for that care, even before its expression in our lives becomes apparent.

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