Graduation and the best advice

A Christian Science perspective: Where does the best graduation advice come from?

Graduation season is upon us. It is always interesting to read the inspiration shared about success and the sage advice given by accomplished, noted speakers. Yet, I was talking to a recent graduate who commented that it is difficult to know just what to do with all of the recommendations about decision-making – especially when some of the advice seems contradictory.

I agreed with my friend that it can be tricky to navigate these varying opinions, but said that if you get very still and listen for God’s guidance, you will be led in a unique direction that makes perfect sense for you. God is divine Love, who is forever telling us, “This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

From this and other biblical directives about looking to God when making decisions, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: “God is All-in-all.... He is all the Life and Mind there is or can be.... Now this self-same God is our helper. He pities us. He has mercy upon us, and guides every event of our careers” (“Unity of Good,” pp. 3-4).

These truths have brought me great comfort several times when I felt as if I was at a crossroads. After I tried to silence my ego and pride that wanted to keep comparing myself to others, and when I stopped worrying about others’ opinions, then I was ready simply to ask God, my loving Father, to help me understand Him as divine Mind – the only Mind – and my mind. Divine Mind has created me and has a vision for me, and He is always unfolding His purpose for me. Because I am the offspring of Mind, God’s spiritual idea, I cannot be separate from His perfect wisdom and His impeccable direction. I can never be overwhelmed, confused, fearful, or indecisive.

It truly is amazing. Whenever I’ve been able to pray with this kind of spiritual reasoning and quiet listening, there has always followed a peace, and an inner voice that has clarity about what next steps to take.

But what about the fear of making a mistake? Like other fears, it disappears with understanding. As we learn the divine Science underlying our being as Mind’s idea, we understand that we are at one with His guiding thoughts and are never working independently of Him. The Bible states, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6). Our job is to acknowledge God’s presence and power, His absolute allness, His goodness, and His control. We can do that and then trust Him to do His job – which is to direct our paths.

And we don’t need to be afraid of a course alteration. There were many in the Bible who, through prayer, were led to take a different path from what they had originally planned. For example, Paul turned from persecuting Christians to embracing Christianity, and Abraham was stopped from sacrificing his son. The important thing is to keep listening. Instead of getting a sense of what we are to do and willfully plowing ahead, we need to take a step and listen – take a step and listen.

As graduation opens the doors to a wide world of choices, the job market doesn’t need to feel like a tangled wilderness and we don’t need to feel that we are without identity or direction. There is very good news. Mrs. Eddy writes in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Spirit names and blesses all. Without natures particularly defined, objects and subjects would be obscure, and creation would be full of nameless offspring, – wanderers from the parent Mind, strangers in a tangled wilderness” (p. 507).

God, infinite Spirit, has defined each of us. Our place, purpose, relationships all have perfect definition outlined by divine, intelligent Mind, who, as our Father and Mother, is shepherding and guiding us. Turning our ear in prayer to hear the guiding intuitions from divine Love secures our safety and happiness. No doubt, God’s advice is the best advice.

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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.