Filling our own niches

A Christian Science perspective: Listening for and trusting in God’s direction for rightful placement.

The outcomes of auditions, sports tryouts, and job interviews can be life-changing. They can be heartening or heartbreaking – sometimes they may leave us feeling deeply disappointed or make us feel that the outcome was unfair. A verse in Psalms quieted the anger and hurt I was mentally rehearsing years ago when I didn’t get a position I had applied for: “Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Psalms 75:6, 7).

When I prayed, I reasoned that according to God’s law, which is loving and just, no one could get a position I was meant for, nor would I want a position that rightfully belonged to someone else. God’s infinite universe needs every one of His ideas, and I could trust this spiritual fact. All of God’s ideas, like rays of the sun, shine out from Him and can never be out of place. It’s hard to imagine rays of the sun fighting over which flower to shine upon in a meadow. No one ray is less important than the other in lighting up the earth. And each of us, as individual ideas of God, are of equal value. “Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper (“Retrospection and Introspection,” p. 70).

Soon after I prayed with these ideas, another position opened up that was a better fit for my background. Had I gotten the first position, I would not have been available for the later position that I was uniquely suited for and which I loved.

This experience, and many others since then, helped me comfort my daughter over the phone when she was tired, angry, and hurt one night concerning a story she was reporting on. She was passionate about the subject and had spent days researching and writing, but it had just been turned over to a more senior writer at the publication she worked for. Her article was being rewritten and would probably be printed under a different byline.

We reasoned that, ultimately, it was much more important that the story – one that involved a gross social injustice – be told. In the end, it didn’t matter who wrote it or got the credit, because it wasn’t about personal pride and ownership; it was about exposing societal wrongs to get them corrected. I asked if she could let go of a false sense of responsibility and have trust in God – that because God governs all, that fact would be evident in her experience, and this important information would be shared in the most effective, healing manner for all. By the time we hung up, my daughter sounded much more peaceful.

Afterward, I spent some time praying and acknowledging experiences from her past that had proved she could, as Mrs. Eddy says, have “faith in God’s disposal of events” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany,” p. 281). In high school for example, she ran for president of her class, but lost twice despite her tireless efforts. Later, she was elected president of her junior, then senior class. In another instance, she didn’t get the lead in the school play, but she brought down the house in a comedy role just right for her.

The great healer and teacher, Christ Jesus, taught his followers the power of trust and faith in God’s direction when he instructed his disciples, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). And Mrs. Eddy writes that God “guides every event of our careers” (“Unity of Good,” pp. 3-4). My prayers for my daughter showed this to be true once again, in a small way. With some minor editorial adjustments, her story was printed under her own byline after all.

Divine Love tenderly puts each one of us in the place where we can most bless and be blessed at every stage of our lives. This is fact, and we can prove it wherever we are in our experience.

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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.

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