Finding purpose and vocation

When we are willing to go where God, Love, leads us, this opens the way for our lives to unfold in increasingly fulfilling and purposeful ways.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Several years ago, I was wrestling with finding a sense of purpose and what I was meant to do. But I had a deepening faith in God’s love and a sense that our fundamental purpose is to express that love, so it felt natural to turn to God for guidance.

One idea that meant a lot to me was that God shows us the way. The Bible states that God is Love itself (see I John 4:8). This Love is powerful, ever present, and universal, and guides and protects each one of us. As God’s image and likeness, the spiritual offspring of the Divine, we are not only the recipients but actually the very expression of the all-powerful love of God.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, articulates this in her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Love is reflected in love” (p. 17). To me that means that our entire purpose in life is to live love, to express and share love. And since God is infinite, there are abundant ways for us to do this.

I saw that I could trust that there was a role for me that would allow me to be of service to my fellow man, in a way for which I was uniquely qualified, and that would meet my financial needs. Science and Health explains: “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action” (p. 454). These ideas inspired my personal theme, or goal, for the year: being open and willing – open to wherever Love would lead, and willing to follow.

Then a friend suggested attending a workshop on “Finding Your Vocation.” The workshop culminated with an exercise where we closed our eyes and were asked to think about the following question and write down what came to us: What would you do if time and money weren’t a factor and you could not fail?

I was so surprised at what came to me that I knew it had to be divinely inspired. I wrote that not only did I want to work in southern or eastern Africa (where I had already been looking for work based on previous jobs), but I also wanted to work with children. I love children and had worked with them in the past, but that really didn’t have anything to do with the kind of work I had done most recently. It wasn’t something I’d considered doing again. But in the spirit of being open and willing, and trusting infinite Love to lead me, I kept an open thought.

Through a number of unexpected steps, I ended up moving to Zambia for a position with a start-up nonprofit organization focused on getting supplies to malnourished children. There I found that the particular skills I’d gained from my previous job were exactly what was needed in this role. It was clear to me that divine Love really had led each step of the way and had prepared me for the work in ways I had never imagined possible.

Since that time, I have changed jobs and locations, but have continued working with young people, having a global focus, and above all, finding ways to share and express God’s healing love for His entire creation.

Each of us can listen deeply to the desire to express love and goodness that God has planted in all of our hearts, and be open and willing to go where Love leads us. This opens the way for our lives to unfold in increasingly fulfilling, satisfying, and purposeful ways.

To hear more from this author and others on this topic, check out this Christian Science Sentinel Watch podcast.

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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.