“I’ve got a degree but no place to use it.”
It’s a common theme among my friends who are recent college graduates, whether they’re facing a difficult job market or the prospect of employment that offers a paycheck but little space to explore their passions. Whatever the issue, the disappointment and disillusionment can be palpable. And I get it. I’ve also struggled with dead ends and career letdowns.
Fortunately, I’ve had Christian Science to offer a different perspective. The challenge of this perspective is that it demands something that isn’t easy: approaching life in a way that’s God-centric and God-based. Through my study of Christ Jesus’ teachings and of Christian Science, I’ve come to know God as infinite and wholly good (see, for instance, Psalms 106:1). This “God’s-eye view” flies in the face of what we sometimes experience: setbacks, limitations, disappointments. So it can take faith and courage to pray for that better understanding of the spiritual reality and then to adhere to what those prayers show us. But the joy is that when we do, we get a totally different view of our purpose and place. And this spiritual perspective has an effect; it opens our thought to new possibilities.
That’s exactly what happened after a string of professional disappointments left me in a financial bind – and with the relentless feeling that what I had to offer wasn’t wanted or needed.
In those dark moments, I clung to this promise from the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy: “Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it” (p. 2). I wanted to be in harmony with the spiritual reality of the universe, to acknowledge God as divine Principle, ordering and placing every man and woman of His creating.
As I prayed for that view of reality, a Bible story came to thought. In it, Abram (who later became Abraham) and his nephew Lot face a land dispute; there isn’t enough space for both of them (see Genesis 13). When they decide to split up, Abram gives Lot first choice, and Lot chooses the prime real estate. But there’s a twist. God shows Abram that the land that’s coming to him is more expansive and wonderful than it initially appeared. And God promises that this place is Abram’s and his heirs’ – forever.
I felt like God was speaking to me through that story, showing me that Abram’s story was also, in a way, my story. God, being infinite, has a place and a purpose for each of us in His infinite universe. And as we “look up” – as we turn to God and ask Him to show us the divinely established place that is ours, uniquely, to fill – we’ll see that there’s always room for us. That God leads us to new and right places, steps, and activities throughout our lives.
This realization brought me comfort – and had a practical effect. I felt as if I was looking at a landscape I’d never seen before and, for the first time, catching a glimpse of the possibilities. As I began to see something of God’s boundless vision of my place and purpose, beautiful things happened – including a brand-new career direction that used and expanded my talents.
As recent graduates in my life have voiced their concerns about their own place in the world, I’ve loved returning to this experience as a starting point for my prayers for all graduates, and for others looking for the reassurance that they have a niche to fill. We each deserve to feel the comfort of knowing that our God-established place offers us infinite opportunities to bless and be blessed. And through prayer, we can discern that God, divine Love, does make “radiant room” for us and our talents (see Mary Baker Eddy, “Poems,” p. 75).