After the diploma

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Graduation – a time for cards, gifts, and questions. "What's next?" is the biggest question from well-wishers, and the hardest to answer. Especially if you aren't sure yourself.

Uncertainty about the future is common at this crossroads. If you haven't landed a job or made other plans, how can you know where you're headed? And if you have, how can you be certain your decision is right?

One thing is sure: being clueless isn't how God created us to be. A comprehensive description calls God "the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal." Spiritual thinker Mary Baker Eddy described God this way in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 587).

The way we define God isn't as separate from daily experience as it may seem. For instance, the all-knowing God is continuously conscious of His creation, so not one of us is forgotten, aimless, or favored over another.

The all-seeing God is not a manlike being characterized by an ability to see what we can't see. He is infinite Mind, the source of all intelligence and insight, who creates and views us as His ideas. To be "seen" by God is to be identified as inherently good and limitless.

The all-acting God is our ultimate, exclusive motivator and guide. Creation is God's continuous self-expression, His active knowing of His allness. As the outcome of this timeless and creative force, we are endowed with spiritual authority, assurance, and stability.

Thinking about God in this way strips dread and confusion from the inquiry, "What's next?" This question is really about identity – who we are and how we view ourselves. Our identity actually and effortlessly springs from our Father-Mother, God. Being made "in his image, after his likeness," as detailed in Genesis 1, we are as unique and purposeful as our Creator. Redundancy and uselessness are no part of God's creation.

The Apostle Paul wrote about how our relationship to God guarantees that our existence has meaning: "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). So it's our love of God that brings to light His design of good in our lives. Paul knew what he was talking about. He had been known and feared as Saul, and was on a mission to exterminate Christians. But God had a new assignment for him and got his attention in an unmistakable way (see Acts, chap. 9). Paul became a standard-bearer of the very movement he'd tried to destroy and a Christian leader whose words have lasted for 2,000 years.

The story of Paul's change of heart is a riveting example of God's purpose making itself known in the life of one who thought he had everything figured out. And while he may have seemed supremely confident about his life mission, that very attitude was described by Mary Baker Eddy as another form of uncertainty: "Saul of Tarsus beheld the way – the Christ, or Truth – only when his uncertain sense of right yielded to a spiritual sense, which is always right. Then the man was changed. Thought assumed a nobler outlook, and his life became more spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 326).

Whether you're focused on next steps or undecided about them, spiritual sense is key to looking ahead with assurance. Spiritual sense is the recognition of Christ, the undoubting commitment to good that resides in every consciousness. Listening to spiritual sense with humility and trust dissolves fear and creates hope for the future. The result is practical guidance – contacts, job leads, opportunities for travel or further education, and welcome inspiration that get us moving in new directions.

Whenever you're asked "What's next?" you can remember with confidence that, because He is infinite Mind, God knows. And He will give you the answers you need.

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