Many Millennials have a sincere desire to contribute fresh ideas to solve a variety of world problems, as is seen in this week’s cover story. According to the article, they also want to positively contribute to changing the status quo on a global level, and find a sense of personal balance and professional purpose – but paying off student loans, overcoming stereotypes, and finding right opportunities for their talents are proving challenging to overcome.
These are challenges I can relate to. I loved international relations, spent time overseas, and obtained a college degree in that field. I considered myself a global citizen, and wanted to help develop solutions to challenges in the world.
However, when I graduated from college, global dynamics had changed so that there were no longer substantial jobs for people with my background. I was grateful for the job I had, but it didn’t provide opportunities for professional growth. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but wasn’t sure what subject to focus on that would lead to a satisfying career that could enable me to pay off my student loans. I felt overwhelmed with decisions and afraid of making a mistake. So I prayed for guidance.
I was inspired by what Christ Jesus said about how our needs are met: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). This brought to mind a list of qualities belonging to the kingdom of heaven that Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: “unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 248).
As I thought deeply about these, I realized that my desire to help others and solve world problems needed to begin with a deeper understanding of God and my relationship to Him. I needed to see that God cares for His creation – including you and me – and that as His children, we are truly made to be fresh and complete, not limited by human qualifiers or requirements.
Gaining this broader sense of the kingdom of heaven gave me a better sense of who God is in relation to His creation, and it gave me a better sense of purpose. I understood that living unselfishly, expressing “goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love,” was my true life purpose. And living in this way provides us with practical opportunities to fulfill this purpose.
As I focused my prayer this way, the feelings of being overwhelmed were replaced by joy, confidence, and clarity in applying for graduate school. I later found fulfilling employment that allowed me to pay back my loans and, more important, seemed to make a positive difference in government.
This experience showed me that starting with the kingdom of heaven guides us, giving us ideas for each stage of our lives, enabling us to do good in the world.