Listening for God’s solutions

A Christian Science perspective: Find harmony in whatever scenario you face. 

Solutions are needed in all sorts of arenas – at work, at home, and throughout daily life – but no matter what problem I encounter, I have learned that the ideas that come from God are the ones that bring real and lasting solutions to light.

My study of Christian Science has shown me that God is divine Mind and that we are all God’s children. That means that we all have the God-given capacity to hear God’s ideas because we are all inseparable from this infinite Mind. Hearing ideas from God involves turning to Him in prayer and being receptive to spiritual ideas from Him that can open our thought to practical solutions. Sometimes God’s ideas come to us in the form of very quiet and gentle intuitions. Other times they may come as loud and clear ideas that direct us to take immediate action. Either way, their source is in God, divine Mind, and His gentle presence and power guide us to the right steps to take.

It may be difficult at first to even know we’re hearing God’s voice if we’re not used to turning to Him for help. But we can distinguish God’s thoughts from our own by the way they direct us to understand our spiritual being as His reflection, and by the peace that comes to our thought and our heart, by the comfort we feel, and by the quiet assurance that removes any fear of wavering. The Bible explains in Isaiah, “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (30:21).

A very simple experience I had might help explain. I had been playing tennis with some friends when a new player was on the court with us. She was rough with others in her language and body movements – at one point she even intentionally knocked up against me and made a rude comment in undertones that no one else could hear. After our game, another player indicated that no one liked this other player as she was a bit of a court bully.

As I drove home, I prayed and listened for guidance from God to help me. Then this thought came: “This player thinks no one likes her, so she acts like it. You’ll have to show her that you and everyone else love her.” After hearing it, I thought “Really? Me?”

The ideas that come to us in times of prayer may seem surprising, but when they come from listening patiently for God’s guidance, we learn to recognize the genuineness of the ideas, no matter how improbable they may seem at first. And we learn that God’s guidance is unerring. In this case, for me to show her and everyone else that I loved her, I had to truly feel loving toward her. To do that, I realized I had to see her as God made her: entirely good, expressing the nature of God, as His likeness.

I considered a statement in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, that discusses the concept of man, meaning all men, women, and children, in the likeness of God: “Man is idea, the image of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas ...” (p. 475). That whole week I prayed to see this player as God’s reflection – loving, unselfish, and a joy to be with. Throughout the week, whenever she came to mind, I prayed to see that good characterized her rather than bad – happiness rather than unhappiness, and love rather than hatred.

The next week this player was back, and she made a comment to me after the game, “No one likes me. They all think I’m too rough and mean.” After my prayers that week, I could respond genuinely: “Well, I like you. I love playing with you. You’re a lot of fun to be around, and you’re a great player!” She smiled and went home – and that was the end of the problem. What about the others? They genuinely enjoyed her from then on, too. It’s been a great healing.

This type of experience can happen anywhere we work and live, and it goes beyond giving a positive spin to a situation. Leaning on God leads us to ideas that heal hatred, doubt, and fear. The right ideas we’re seeking are available to solve issues in our lives, business, and society. And we find them as we turn to God for spiritual guidance.

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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.”

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