A powerful change of thought

For one man, a lesson learned from his first job has stuck with him ever since: the value of mentally yielding to God, divine Love, rather than to frustration and complaint.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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A simple change of thought often makes all the difference. It can be a change of attitude, a change in the way we see the world, a change in the way we see ourselves, a change in how we behold others.

When we change our thoughts for the better, good things can happen. But there’s another way our thinking can change, and it’s even more powerful. When we invite God to change our thoughts, wonderful things – even healing – can occur. As a high school sophomore at my first job, I experienced one such powerful change of perspective.

I was working in a position that didn’t require much training and the pay was quite low. I was glad to be earning it, but I wasn’t always feeling so glad as I worked along through my shift. It was hot, sweaty work, and after a few months, I liked it even less.

But I’d been attending a Christian Science Sunday School and there I’d learned that if I was feeling upset about something, I could turn to God for inspiration. So that’s what I did, and as I was praying one day, I became inspired to do something very specific – and that was to more consistently let God’s love fill my thoughts and guide my actions.

What that meant to me was if I found my thoughts muddied with things like complaint, resentment, self-righteousness, and fear, I could turn to God for a clean, clear line of thinking. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, metaphorically explains in her insightful book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “We cannot fill vessels already full. They must first be emptied” (p. 201). Later on the same page, Science and Health goes on to give specific instruction on how to do this: “pour in truth through flood-tides of Love.”

When I was at work, that’s exactly what I did. Rather than focusing on the unpleasantness of the job, I let appreciation for God, who is divine Love itself, fill my thoughts. As I did, I consistently felt the presence of God with me and was truly grateful for God’s love actively overflowing in me.

It wasn’t always easy to keep my thinking steadily clear in this way, but it ended up being quite a joy-filled activity. And after a time of conscientiously letting God’s love pour into the “vessel” of my consciousness and flush out those thoughts that weren’t loving, I realized I had started to really like my job. Each moment was an opportunity to fill my thoughts to overflowing with all that God is – acknowledging His goodness, tenderness, strength, intelligence.

When God is behind the inspiration that we bring into action, we are often happily surprised. Jesus explained: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). That describes how I felt. Instead of frustrated, I felt full of qualities such as joy and patience – qualities that are actually natural to all of us as God’s children.

Not long after, my supervisor increased my responsibilities and also significantly increased my pay. I’ll never forget how happy I was a few months later when I was able to pay in full for some items I’d been diligently saving for. Above all, the change that took place in my thinking has stayed with me as a powerful reminder of our ability to let divine Love fill our thoughts and inspire whatever we do.

The changes of thought that occur as a result of mentally yielding to God’s love are never simplistic. They’re deep and far-reaching. At any time, no matter what concerns us, we can pray wholeheartedly, as the Bible says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10). When we invite God to change our whole perspective – and then act consistently and honestly on the inspiration that divine Love provides – little by little, things change for the better.

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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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