‘Adulting’ without the stress

Too often it seems as if life – at any age – is little more than a collection of tasks that need to be performed, an inevitable “daily grind.” But as a young dad and husband with a full-time career found, being more conscious of the presence of God, good, replaces stress with joy and makes one’s path forward clearer.

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I join countless other young adults who say: Adulting can be hard! The definition, “the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks” (lexico.com), hints at a reason why many young adults struggle with or even resent it. It’s a view of things that essentially assumes that life is mostly made up of mundaneness, hopefully punctuated with some fun weekends and vacations.

Is it really irrevocably true that life – at any age – is nothing more than a collection of tasks that need to be performed? It certainly may seem like it; people talk about the “daily grind” a lot. But my study and practice of Christian Science has convinced me that the truth is something deeper.

When we’re casting all around, trying to figure out what we need to do next, I’ve found what’s most helpful is to be more conscious of the presence of God. Mary Baker Eddy, who started this newspaper and discovered Christian Science, has a fascinating and helpful definition of the word “day” in her primary book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She states that during God’s day, “The objects of time and sense disappear in the illumination of spiritual understanding, and Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded” (p. 584).

This helps me see that instead of looking at life as a linear timeline of events and circumstances, with our existence essentially defined by all these past and future events, we have the right to just be present, right where we are. That is, to actively watch how God’s limitless goodness is unfolding and being expressed in us, the spiritual expression of the Divine. To simply see and be good, to live our true nature as God’s children, instead of feeling overwhelmed with all of life’s demands.

As a husband and dad with a full-time career, I’ve found this invaluable!

Now, granted, this may seem like a difficult task depending on the situation. But the joy of letting each day be God’s day means that it’s not on us individually to force good to happen, or to try to make up something good. We can follow the example given in the Bible, in the very different circumstances of facing an enemy, when the Israelites were promised, “You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you” (II Chronicles 20:17, Easy-to-Read Version).

The context for this promise is, briefly, that the Israelites were under threat and didn’t know what to do; after this promise, God assured them that in the coming days they would be able to accomplish everything they needed to do, by the power of God. And so it proved.

This wouldn’t have been accomplished by rushing around in a panic or trying to force a solution into existence. The need is to stand still – to mentally just be still – and be receptive to the activity of God, good. And then to be humble enough to let God’s goodness, rather than fear or human will or habit, light our path forward.

Our identity is more than a series of tasks we’re trying to accomplish. We are all included in the perfect love that God has always had for all His loved children, wholly the expression of God’s goodness. Even in the midst of fear, stress, or even pain, we can take advantage of every opportunity to witness, and evidence, how we are embraced in this divine goodness at each moment. When we do this, we find that fear, stress, and pain subside, and are healed, as our way becomes clearer and more harmonious, step by step.

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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.