A way out of desperate straits

Job loss, anxiety, and an inability to pay their family’s mounting bills left today’s contributor in a dark mental place. But the idea that we live “in the house of the Lord” was a light that gradually lifted the hopelessness and inspired solutions, paving the way for a complete turnaround.

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Desperate straits. I had been laid off when my employer outsourced the work I’d been doing. As I looked for employment, I soon came to the realization that my computer skills hadn’t kept up with advancements in my field. Along with that situation was a long-standing fear that I had a condition called adult attention deficit disorder (ADD). I was often distracted and anxious, and I was sure this lack of focus had cost me several jobs along the way. Faced with a large family, mounting bills, and a deteriorating sense of self-worth, I was considering taking my own life.

Then I called a Christian Science practitioner – someone dedicated to healing through prayer. With calm assurance, the practitioner reminded me of the faithful sheep referred to in the Bible’s 23rd Psalm. The psalm talks about trusting in God’s loving and shepherdlike leadings, and dwelling “in the house of the Lord for ever.”

I considered the possibility that God had a place for me, too. But I was in a very dark mental place and still deeply concerned that I would never get out of poverty. One job came and went because I was unable to stay focused. My anxiety increased, but the idea of living “in the house of the Lord” – in God’s unending love, care, and intelligence – continued to be meaningful and helped keep me going.

Seemingly out of the blue, just a week before Christmas, I was called to work on a temporary basis for a computer company 3,000 miles from home. Leaving my family and going to the other side of the country was not an appealing prospect, but I felt inspired by God to take this path.

I borrowed money to pay for the gas to drive cross-country, but I wasn’t prepared for what awaited me: The project I was to work on was almost six months behind, I’d have to do the work of an entire team of consultants, I had only 10 percent of the knowledge necessary, and I wouldn’t even get my first paycheck for many weeks.

Besides being in over my head professionally, I still had to deal with the ADD symptoms. But the practitioner continued to point me to my true worth. As God’s children, we are naturally obedient to God, our Father-Mother, who created us as capable and valued.

Sometimes I would walk out of the shipping center and call the practitioner, saying, “I just can’t go back into that building. I just do not know what to do next.” Then she would remind me where I needed to start: with the knowledge that there is only one Mind, which is another name for God. As an expression of this Mind, each of us has all the intelligence, focus, and useful ideas we need.

I began to see that divine Love, God, was right there caring for me, day to day, thought by thought, even in the face of a crisis. Sometimes I was so tempted to admit I was a pathetic failure and to drive home to move my family out of a foreclosed house and onto the street, homeless. But at the same time, I received inspiration that helped me do the job – ideas that were practical but also “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12), cutting through the chaos to the exact points I needed to see and understand spiritually. Solutions came, sometimes spontaneously, one of which actually saved the company’s computer system from unrecoverable loss.

Slowly but surely, I took one small step after another from ignorance to competence. After about five months, I was hired permanently. By the time six years had gone by, I had literally “written the book” on some technology topics that I couldn’t have even described, much less understood, when I started on this journey.

Divine Love has been my guiding, guarding Shepherd, leading me out of thoughts of suicide, depression, and fear of day-to-day subsistence living. I’m grateful to say I was able to catch up on our mortgage payments, sell our old house, and buy a bigger home for our growing family. But what I most appreciate is the remodeled dwelling of my own consciousness. I find that I am largely freed from fear when I recognize that my divine Shepherd is here.

God knows us, and we are His, and daily He “leadeth [us] beside the still waters,” giving us ideas and supply. God’s love and care are ours forever.

Adapted from a testimony published in the Dec. 2006 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.”

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