Feeling nervous? God’s help is at hand.

It’s not uncommon to feel nervous and apprehensive before taking on some new challenge. But we don’t have to just cope with these feelings. Knowing that an all-knowing and all-powerful God is always with us can rid us of that feeling of butterflies fluttering in our stomach and set us up for success in a right endeavor.

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In the summer before my first year of college, whenever I thought about the upcoming semester – where I would be 700 miles from home and not knowing a single soul – I would feel excited, but also quite nervous. Call it cold feet and butterflies. “Can I handle the work?” “Will I succeed?”

Those questions probably aren’t foreign to anyone heading into uncharted waters, whether one is starting a new job, embarking on a major project, trying out for a new sport, or beginning some other unfamiliar adventure.

Yet in the many years since my college experience (which turned out to be challenging, but also wonderful), I have come to see something. While it is true that sometimes feeling uncomfortable about an endeavor is an indication that it’s not the right thing to be doing, the fact is that if we’ve been divinely led to a particular adventure, we can see it as an opportunity to gain confidence, strength, perspective, and skill, and to grow spiritually. In this way, those “butterfly” feelings may be an indicator that we can expect great things ahead!

For me, the key to overcoming a sense of nervousness has been to see that I am not alone, no matter what I have to do or where it takes me. Each time some intimidating task looms, there is a divine hand, an ever-present wisdom and intelligence, guiding me all the way.

From my study of Christian Science, I’ve found that to understand God as the one real all-seeing and all-knowing Mind frees me from feeling nervous. And most important, it allows me to be who I really am – the expression of that one divine Mind. How can I truly be alone, fumbling and fending for myself, if I understand more and more that the source of my ability and intelligence is Mind, and that Mind is expressing itself through me?

This spiritual viewpoint, kept at the forefront of my thought, has opened the way for progress many times as I’ve faced various demands. Not that everything is smooth sailing all the time, but I certainly approach fresh challenges with less fear and more love as my motive, since God is Love, as well as Mind, as the Bible teaches.

When I have remembered God, or Love, as the one infinitely good Mind, and have consistently acknowledged Love’s presence, care, and love for me, my work has flowed more easily and become a true blessing – a steppingstone, if you will, to feeling closer to God so that I can trust Him even more in other areas in my life.

I like to recall what the Bible records Moses saying when he received a major assignment. God told him, of all people, to go back to Egypt and demand that Pharaoh release the Israelites from slavery. Moses’ incredulous reply was “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

God reassured him: “I will certainly be with you.” Still, Moses came up with some pretty good excuses not to take this on: “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

But God replied, “Who has made man’s mouth?... Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (Exodus 3:11, 12; 4:10-12, New King James Version).

Despite Moses’ initial misgivings, he went on to complete his great task by leaning on God, the one Mind, for guidance and spiritual strength.

If you are feeling butterflies about something (and who doesn’t now and then?), it could very well mean that you’re at the beginning of an experience of great good, with much spiritual growth, and have an opportunity to understand more clearly God’s ever-presence. God is calling you, preparing your thought, and equipping you to be blessed and to bless others around you.

We often get caught up in doubting that somehow we won’t measure up. That’s the butterflies talking. But when we embrace and accept the spiritual fact that God loves us – that He would never assign us anything we couldn’t handle – we will increasingly feel as though God is saying, “I’ve got your back! Lean on Me and know in your heart that I am the source of all ability, intelligence, creativity, and strength.” Then we find the mental freedom and joy that is our natural right as God’s expression – and we soar!

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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.