Just what were we saving for?

A Christian Science perspective.

Last fall, as the markets tumbled, my husband and I felt an unexpected tremor of fear as we watched the nest egg we had built quickly diminish. Despite our prayers, we felt as though we'd descended into an unknown, unloving place of fear and darkness.

As the days progressed, I realized we were mesmerized by the onslaught of negative news about the economy. So I proposed that we take some steps to bring ourselves back to the "real world" – to the reality of God's good and loving care.

We began by taking long walks in a nearby park and talking about what the events meant to us. As we talked, an inspiration came loud and clear: Just what were you saving for?

We had always been savers and were thankful to have had that in common, creating harmony around that aspect of our relationship. We were frugal and had decided early on what was important to us and those aspects of life we enjoyed: travel, good food, time with friends, and time for self-development. As the years progressed, we'd both worked hard at corporate jobs and saved as we went along.

Then at a certain point, I no longer felt fulfilled by this mode and turned from earning to giving, a life of volunteerism and healing work. Our saving lifestyle seemed to have given me the freedom to pursue those activities, and we were continually amazed and grateful for the material bounty that we felt had come from and belonged to God.

Now, as I pondered the big question that prayer had laid before me, I realized that what I had been saving for was freedom. I thought I could buy freedom! And for a time, it appeared as if I had. My freedom from corporate work had allowed me to pursue a healing practice, and the freedom to study and be myself first, not as defined by someone else or a corporation. I'd thought I was free, and then the markets tumbled, and fear taught me otherwise.

As I delved deeper in prayer, I realized I'd not been truly free; I had based my heart's desire, to be free to be myself, on a mortal structure – a bank account. And mortal structures are subject to their temporal natures; they are not permanent as spiritual structures are. They don't hold or reflect eternal Truth.

So how could I have my heart's desire, freedom, if it wasn't going to come from a bank account as I'd planned? I quickly realized that freedom was a God-given quality inherent in me, not something I could obtain by purchasing it. I had the freedom at all times to pursue the desires God had set in my heart, knowing that when we pursue Godly desires, all the resources of Spirit align in divine harmony to produce the outcome of good, Godliness.

I felt so relieved that I no longer needed to worry about what losing our nest egg meant. I knew that I only needed to follow what was in my heart, and that I would always have the freedom to be me – to reflect my God-given qualities, to express myself fully, in complete freedom, at any time.

As I shared these insights with my husband, they strengthened our relationship. And in turn, he explored what he had been saving for. As it turned out, he had been saving for security. We were able to discuss together what this meant to us, discovering some differences between us. We learned how to respect each other's values and how to care for the desires in each other's hearts. The financial crisis had deepened our ability to explore, to share, to connect with God as our source of life and well-being, and to care for each other.

As we shared our insights with our financial adviser, he was amazed. He said he'd become something of a marriage counselor since the market decline, and that five of his clients had filed for divorce. When we shared with him that prayer-inspired message we'd heard, this gave him something to speak of to other investors – the idea of examining exactly what they had been saving for and understanding the pitfalls of depending on a mortal construct for support.

There's nothing wrong with putting the building blocks in place for physical and financial support. We have to be aware, though, that they are temporary and subject to change. When these structures show their temporary nature, what feeds our longing for freedom, security, and the other pure desires of the heart? The infinite resources of Spirit, God, are always there for us, and they are what actually sustain us in good times and bad.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, "Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 326).

As we move forward, we can ask that same question regularly: Just what am I saving for? Introspection will show us where we are, and divine inspiration will guide us to clear thoughts and actions that will serve us well. The inspiration I received was to know my heart's pure desires, to know the Love within me, and to take steps to assure that those desires were fulfilled through a connection to the divine source. There is a right inspiration for each of us. And that inspiration will never run out, because it comes to us from an infinite, all-loving God.

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