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No ‘aging out’ of our value

Today’s column includes the story of a woman whose job search turned around completely as she took a closer look at where our potential and worth come from.

A friend of mine who was looking for a job was told time and again by prospective employers that there wasn’t a place for her. Daily she persisted in looking, but after a couple of months she began to suspect that despite her qualifications, she had “aged out” of any workplace opportunities.

At first this discouraged her. Yet she isn’t the kind of person to stay discouraged for long. Over many years she has found value in devoting time each day to gaining a more spiritual sense of her life, including learning about divine Spirit, God. She loves these times of prayer, inspired by a heartfelt yearning to know and feel God’s boundless love. And she has experienced the power of that love to bring her triumphantly through illness, lack, and injury. Just thinking about the powerful experiences of healing she has had buoys her up, providing encouragement whenever the going seems to get especially tough.

So when she was faced with this apparent barrier to being as useful as she felt she could be, she continued to let her love for God inspire her. She didn’t ask God to find her a job. Rather, she considered the situation from the spiritual standpoint she’d found so helpful before, which gave her an entirely different perspective. Her prayers acknowledged the idea that everyone, including herself, is God’s needed, spiritual offspring. As like produces like, the creations of the eternal Spirit can never wear out their purpose or dissipate even a little of their worth. Our strength and value always remain.

In the Bible the Psalmist wrote that we “go from strength to strength” (Psalms 84:7). This means so much more than having a sense of spiritual strength despite an aging, feeble mind and body. Instead, it’s an understanding of divine Spirit expressing itself in its creation, which can bring strength to mind and body. Rather than being confined to the familiar material sense of what we appear to be, our identity as God’s creation is actually spiritual and ageless, and we can increasingly understand that this is the truth right now. In a book called “Retrospection and Introspection,” Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy describes the identity of all men, women, and children in the following way: “The real man is not of the dust, nor is he ever created through the flesh; for his father and mother are the one Spirit, and his brethren are all the children of one parent, the eternal good” (p. 22).

It can seem hard to accept that our true identity is spiritual, and therefore unfading and unlimited. But to desire to see and accept a bit more of this spiritual fact each day is to follow the encouraging declaration of Christ Jesus, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).

As my friend discovered, a willingness to accept this beautiful truth – this profound gift – is a basis for powerful prayer, which she engaged in regarding her need for a job. And as she considered these ideas in prayer, the day soon came when she was offered a job – one that would prove to be far more fulfilling than she had expected.

God, Spirit, loves us and never sees us as held hostage to material limitations. He knows us as His unrestricted, spiritual children. And, gratefully, we each have the ability to identify ourselves that way, too – and to discern more and more of our endless value to God and to one another.

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