Beyond interruption-driven living

A Christian Science perspective.

Are your activities constantly being interrupted? Perhaps you establish a plan for the day but telephone calls, e-mails, texts, and social media call for your attention while you try to meet demands from job, family, and friends.

Feeling out of control – overwhelmed by outside influences – is frequently cited as a primary cause for stress, job burnout, loss of interest, and depression. While people look for ways to cope just to get through the day, they report often feeling like the rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” who fretted, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!” The good news is that we can get relief as well as a permanent remedy through the Christ, the Truth that Jesus exemplified.

In spite of tremendous demands made upon him while preaching, teaching, and healing multitudes of the sick, Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). He explained the source of his energy and success when he said, “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10). Through prayer we can connect to the Christ, bringing freedom to our daily experiences.

How do we do this? Praying to the Father, as Jesus did, helps us to be more clearly aware of God, divine Mind, the creative power of the universe, and how He is expressed through His whole creation, including us. As we meekly acknowledge the might of Mind, the weight of the world is lifted, and we find that the fear, chaos, and confusion of self-will is lifted. This paves the way for us to act rightly – without anger, envy, rivalry, resentment, or want.

Spiritual man, made as God’s expressed image, is who we are, and we reflect His goodness effortlessly. Thus, we have our being in the calm of our heavenly Father’s omnipresence. Understanding this is the way we tap into the powerhouse of inexhaustible Spirit, which frees us to perform our activities according to divine Love’s wisdom and direction, and not subject to deprivation, diminution, or destitution.

Purged of wrong thinking, speaking, and doing, we feel the peace and power of the Christ-spirit as Jesus did. Thus, we learn that our want for more time or ability is met by the real supply of increased spirituality. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of the scientific system behind Christ Jesus’ success, explained, “By purifying human thought, this state of mind permeates with increased harmony all the minutiae of human affairs. It brings with it wonderful foresight, wisdom, and power; it unselfs the mortal purpose, gives steadiness to resolve, and success to endeavor” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896,” p. 204).

Realizing this freedom may involve giving up a “poor me” attitude and the emotional drama that often goes with it. We can’t hear the voice of God when indulging in self-pity or self-condemnation. But gratitude for the good we’ve already received leads us out of limited, stressful living. By dwelling on the spiritual truth of God’s unbroken relationship with man, and expressing the discipline of doing what is required of us, we can act with calm resolve and directed purpose, regardless of interruptions.

The Apostle Paul understood the freedom that comes from this approach, and he counseled us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, New International Version).

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.