When I left the 9-to-5 workday several years ago, I was freed from the constraints of a job. Although it had been at times demanding, my work had meant a great deal to me. Each day was a new challenge that I eagerly anticipated.
Recently I was thinking about how I’ve spent my time in this new period of my life. At first it seemed I had a never-ending series of things to do; letters to write; articles to finish; places to travel to; commitments to church, friends, and organizations. At times, I felt pressured.
At one point I made a conscious decision never to say, “I am too busy,” either as an excuse or a statement of my life. I didn’t want that word “busy” in my vocabulary. To me, human busyness is actually a denial of being about my “Father’s business,” as Christ Jesus described his work (see Luke 2:48, 49). Being about my Father’s business – doing the will of God – is the true business that gives us nothing to complain about and everything to rejoice in.
On the heels of that decision, I realized I was missing the obvious. The light came on in my thought with such startling clarity that I recognized it immediately as the absolute truth. What came to me was this: I am a reflection, not a material being struggling to balance many different activities. As the reflection of a higher intelligence, of God, I can only mirror that higher source. These words of Jesus indicate reflection to me: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). And Jesus said his example is one we can each follow.
I was quite struck with this idea, in a fresh way. It was so obvious that I marveled at its simplicity and directness. I only need to reflect. In reality I can’t do anything else.
Does that mean that God is “up there” seated at His word processor, and I’m reflecting Him as I sit at my computer? No, of course not. Mary Baker Eddy, in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” described the many facets of reflection. For example, she wrote: “Man, in the likeness of his Maker, reflects the central light of being, the invisible God. As there is no corporeality in the mirrored form, which is but a reflection, so man, like all things real, reflects God, his divine Principle, not in a mortal body” (p. 305).
When burdening suggestions of too many things to do and not enough time in which to do them try to crowd my thought, I stop and claim what it means to reflect “the central light of being, the invisible God.” For me, it means putting down thoughts of inadequacy or, conversely, thoughts of personal accomplishment. It means humbly seeing and knowing that whatever I have or whatever I accomplish is the result of reflection. It means wiping away the fretfulness, fear, and false responsibility that make me think I’ve taken on too much. It means leaving the door open for more good to enter my experience. If I am reflecting God, I can only reflect good.
The commitments I have undertaken are good, worthy ones; my friends are all precious to me. My personal interests are fulfilling and productive. So why should the effort invested in them be something other than good, worthy, precious, fulfilling, and productive? Why should that effort become onerous, tiring, time-consuming, and energy-depleting? If the activities are good and wholesome, the response to them must be the same. If they are right ideas, they cannot compete with one another for my time or attention. If any of them aren’t right ideas, that, too, can and will be revealed.
Reflection removes the tedium of personal responsibility. Instead of thinking of myself as the one responsible for a long to-do list, I can know that I actively express order, perception, joy, spontaneity – as God’s reflection.
With this realization the urgency and pressures are lifted for all of us. Like the pieces of a puzzle, the things to be done in my life have begun to fit together naturally, leaving room for new ideas to take root and find expression. It’s an ongoing and joyful journey. I feel a surge of strength and dominion each time I “reflect” on this idea of being God’s reflection.
Recognizing God as the source of all right ideas illumines thought with the light that accompanies reflection. It connects us with the “be” in being, and that connection enables us to discharge our responsibilities while remaining open to greater opportunities for service to others that are ours through reflection.
I love the sense of anticipation and eagerness with which I greet each new day, just as I did when I had a 9-to-5 job.