Finding and living up to our true potential

What if your academic grades aren’t all that you would want them to be? Today’s contributor was told he wasn’t equipped to succeed at school. He shares spiritual ideas that changed his perception of his potential, enabling him to successfully complete a bachelor’s as well as a master’s degree.

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For various reasons, including the closure of German schools after World War II until such time as teachers could be “de-Nazified” or replaced, growing up in post-war Germany I did not have any serious and systematic schooling until I was over 9 years of age. As a result, I received consistently poor grades throughout my schooling thereafter and had a major lack of self-confidence. An educational psychologist, by whom I was evaluated at the request of the headmaster of my English boarding school, concluded that any expectation of my gaining a university education was totally unrealistic; successful completion of my high school education was in fact seriously doubted.

I ended up meeting, at a Christian Science church service, an American university professor who was teaching in Germany on a Fulbright Fellowship. This professor wanted to help me. Despite my disastrous high school record, I ended up enrolling in the university where he taught in the United States.

My first-year university grades proved discouraging, but throughout my life my family had relied on Christian Science, despite the fact that it was forbidden by the Nazi regime, and we had experienced many instances of healing and needs being met through prayer. It was at this time, in university, that I gained a serious interest in understanding and relying on Christian Science myself rather than depending on the support of my parents.

Under the guidance of the professor – who was to become my Sunday school teacher – I began to see myself as more than a struggling student trying to master academics. Christian Science explains that each of us, created in God’s image, is wholly spiritual and expresses the infinite qualities of our ever-loving divine Father-Mother, God. So our true nature is the spiritual expression and manifestation of the limitless intelligence and wisdom of God, divine Mind.

As I increasingly gained this understanding of my true, spiritual nature, it was evidenced in my experience. I regularly made the dean’s list and received other academic awards. I also completed my bachelor’s degree requirements in less than the allotted four years, permitting me to start and complete a master’s degree in my chosen discipline.

The comprehensive examination for the master’s degree provided another opportunity to rely on the divine Mind’s guidance. I was dismayed to find that although the examination consisted of four questions, I was only prepared to answer the first one.

I focused on answering that question to the best of my ability. Not knowing what to write for the three additional questions, I silently affirmed the presence of the divine Mind and acknowledged that I, as an expression of this one Mind, reflected infinite dominion – in other words, that God provides us with the ideas and inspiration to do what we rightfully need to.

As I prayed, the ideas flowed, and I busily wrote them on the exam paper. To this day, I am not sure exactly what I wrote; however, weeks later when the exam results were published, I had passed with flying colors. In fact, the grades I received on the final three questions were better than the grade I received on the first question!

No one is a lost cause when it comes to living up to the God-given potential we all have. Day by day, each of us can strive to feel and express more fully the intelligence and wisdom of God, limitless Mind, in our lives.

Adapted from a testimony published in the Feb. 2019 issue of The Christian Science Journal.

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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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.