Who, really, are you?

A Christian Science perspective: Understanding even just a bit of our unbreakable relation to God, good, brings help and healing.

What is the true nature of our identity? Some may believe they know us just because they see our bodily features. Other people, no doubt, see themselves and others as more than just an assemblage of physical characteristics. For instance, I like to watch for things such as kindness, a sense of humor, or an insightful intellect. Those kinds of qualities, while nonphysical, can make a significant impression.

Such qualities point to an even deeper sense of identity – how God created us. My understanding of our God-given identity is that we are utterly spiritual, capable, and purely good. God reveals this spiritual, wonderful nature to each one of us. And getting to know this deeper idea of ourselves isn’t just a philosophical or theoretical exercise. It has a “here and now” value. I’ve found that consciously trying to better understand the spiritual truth about myself is active, healing prayer. Contrastingly, focusing a lot of thought on my body and my personal opinions can distract from that.

Here’s one way I think about this. In my wallet, I have a driver’s license. I only think about this document, however, when someone needs to see it to verify my identity. I certainly know that it’s there, yet on any given day my overall attention to this license is minimal.

Similarly, while I take care of my day-to-day needs, of course, I endeavor to be primarily focused on the spiritual identity we each have in our oneness with God, divine Mind. This is more of a continual, intentional activity. And the more we do this, the better!

Once, when I was playing baseball, a pitch struck me on the side of my head. I fell to the ground, and as I lay there, I prayed deeply, asking God for a better understanding of what I am.

It came to me that I am, in actuality, what divine Mind is knowing me to be. To be what God knows about me is, in fact, my purpose. In every moment, I am the creation of Mind. In every moment, I am defended by Mind. In every moment, I am fulfilled by Mind. In every moment, I represent Mind. This is spiritually true about each one of us.

This deeper sense of my true identity superseded everything, freeing me from pain and fear. I stood up and trotted to first base. There was no bruise, or even a mark, where the ball had hit me.

Understanding even just a bit of our unbreakable relation to God helps us if we’re feeling intimidated by a situation or injury. Christ Jesus pointed us to the freedom that comes when the truth is known (see John 8:32). It’s worth taking time to consider what we really are in this way. Under God’s authority, we have the right to say, “I will know fully, even as I have been fully known” (I Corinthians 13:12, New Revised Standard Version). Realizing that the infinite nature of God, good, leaves no place for God’s opposite within us brings help and healing.

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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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