Taking God’s lead

How can an understanding of God help us when we need to make a decision, big or small? Today’s contributor shares how a clearer sense of God’s nature has helped her listen to His guidance, rely on it, and be blessed by it.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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It’s safe to say that people generally want to be happy and successful in what they do. So, whether we’re making small decisions in our day-to-day lives or a large decision that will impact us in a big way, why might it be beneficial to one’s happiness and success to seek divine guidance and let God “take the lead”?

To take God’s lead really means to yield to good – to the divine good that is God. Christ Jesus taught that God is good, and Christian Science teaches that good isn’t merely a descriptor for God; rather, the essence, nature, and being of God is actual, concrete good.

Turning to God as infinite, unlimited good to guide, instead of relying on a limited human sense, always leads to better opportunities and ideas. Why? Because even the best-intentioned human concept has inherent limitations. Trusting divine good and listening to and following God’s guidance can circumvent the fear, doubt, rigidness, or personal will that can put an otherwise good idea at risk of failure.

God’s goodness is ever present, always accessible and available to us. But do we always see the good or feel it? Maybe not. And yet it is there, already in place and waiting for us. Oftentimes what is needed is a shift in our thought from fear to trust – from a rigid or narrow focus on a projected outcome to a yielding to the infinite possibilities or answers that are right at hand.

Guidance is found as we listen for thoughts of good that come to us from God. Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy explained that we can recognize these inspired thoughts – which she called God’s angels – “by the love they create in our hearts.” She goes on to say, “Oh, may you feel this touch, – it is not the clasping of hands, nor a loved person present; it is more than this: it is a spiritual idea that lights your path!” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 306). Love sifts out any limited personal agenda or mere human will.

When I have felt pushed and pulled by the wants and wishes of a personal self, I haven’t felt loved or loving. And making human plans and setting personal goals has rarely worked out well for me in the long term, leaving me disappointed. It has only been through turning from personal ego to the one Ego, God, and quietly listening for spiritual direction that I have found a way forward.

I once applied for a position I wanted but wasn’t offered the job. It was a good job that would be a blessing to many, and I felt it was a good idea to apply. But I didn’t see at the time how much I had yet to learn about not trying to go faster or further than God was leading me. I applied several more times for the same job over the course of many years. And each time the answer was no. Each no, while disappointing, compelled me to appreciate present good and to develop other opportunities.

The last time I applied – after 15 years – I asked God if I should even try again. And the intuition was that, yes, I should. But with this direction came the realization that I should also trust God’s leading of others, whose job it was to decide if I would get the job or not. I hadn’t thought of that before. My focus had always been on God guiding me – and my wanting to do it. I felt a surge of love for everyone in the decisionmaking process. I trusted them because I trusted God to guide them, just as I was being guided. I applied, and that time I got the job. In hindsight, I can see how different my circumstances were, how much better prepared I was, and how I wouldn’t have had the same rich experience in that work had I been hired any of those other times.

God’s guidance is a precious thing to seek and an invaluable thing to find. Divine good really is our best advocate. God is Love, and divine Love demands the best for us and the best of us. Letting Love take the lead is key to living a life of blessing others and a life of being blessed.

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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.

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