Developing our talents
For today’s contributor, who had a passion for dance, limitations fell away as she came to understand God as the source of limitless good.
From the time I was 12 all I wanted was to be a ballet dancer. I was a daily fixture at the local ballet studio, taking as many classes as I could. To say I had a passion for dance would be a serious understatement. But two huge obstacles stood in my way. I didn’t have the “ideal” body type – rather than being slim and willowy, I was short and compact. And I started “too late.” Most serious ballet dancers start when they are 5 or 6.
I worked hard at it, even though I was told at every turn that I just didn’t have what it takes, so I should do something else. But I loved it. I persisted. And when I learned about Christian Science, I found we all have access to help from God.
Through the teachings of Christian Science I gained a totally different view of myself and of God. I discovered that God is infinite, and therefore God’s creation (that’s you and me) can’t be limited. This statement in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, became a constant source of comfort, promise, and inspiration. It reads, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (p. 258).
That’s quite a statement. It assured me that there would be no end to how my ability to express good would develop. I did learn, however, that it doesn’t always come in precisely the way we might have anticipated. But because God is infinite, the source of all good, talent is something we all have. As His spiritual creation, we always express His goodness, so we are inherently able to demonstrate qualities such as intelligence, creativity, and strength in our activities.
I found this a wonderfully freeing thought. Instead of feeling burdened by a sense of responsibility to personally bring about a good outcome, I could trust God to reveal my talents. That didn’t mean I could slack off or be lazy. Rather, it indicated to me that the shaping of our abilities comes from God’s loving direction rather than being determined by factors that seem beyond our control such as others’ opinions, our body type, or our background.
As we understand God as boundless Love, we see that all that would limit us has to give way to what we are as God’s expression. Like a seed, which includes all the elements of the end flower – color, fragrance, shape – we are God-originated, created with all we need to grow and prosper as we rise “higher and higher” in our desire to know and express God.
Thinking in this way isn’t about using prayer to bring about the particular results we are looking for. Instead it points our endeavors toward inevitable goodness and progress, even if things turn out differently than we hope or expect. Our part is to recognize that it is God who initiates, animates, and fulfills through us. Our task is to so yield our will to God’s that we become transparencies through which the divine can shine. In that very act of yielding, limitations fall away and our God-given talents are revealed and expressed.
In my case, my prayer was to get a limited, mortal sense of myself out of the way so that God’s goodness could be manifested. Within the context of God’s infinite nature, I could see that the limitations put on me were irrelevant. I never became a prima ballerina, but I was active, successful, and fulfilled in the dance world (and in other activities, too).
This showed me what can be done when we let God take center stage in our endeavors. And while your “stage” may be very different from mine, you, too, can experience the dropping away of limits and feel the freedom of being God’s wonderful expression.