An assessment that brings true progress

Frustrated by his struggles in a job that had seemed like a perfect fit, a man turned to God for help. The realization that God knows, loves, and guides all His children brought a turnaround in his approach to the work – with tangible effects.

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I had just started a new job that I had felt would be a natural fit for me, working with college students in a dorm-life capacity. My coworkers and supervisors were easy to get along with, and the first weeks of orientation went well. I was eager to show the students and my colleagues that I was there for them and prove what a good fit this was for me and for them.

As the semester and year went on, though, it became increasingly clear that the job was not a good fit for me. I was getting good feedback from supervisors, but this was confusing because I was also regularly having negative interactions in the actual day-to-day of my work. Not knowing how to improve, I just tried to muscle through and make it work. This (unsurprisingly, in retrospect) led to more friction, and I felt very trapped.

I frequently pray, something I’ve found helpful in tough situations. But I was flustered that my prayers to make this job more harmonious had seemed ineffective. Finally, as I was walking to a meeting one day about halfway through the school year, I just flat out told God that the various types of feedback I was getting was so contradictory, I just didn’t know what to do.

In the stillness that followed, I heard a crystal-clear message in my thought: “My assessment of you is the only one that matters.” It brought me to a complete standstill, and for the first time in many months, I was filled with peace – a peace so deep that I knew it was not of my own making, but by the grace of God.

This idea that God’s assessment was all that mattered reminded me of a comforting passage from the Bible: “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). God knows each of us not as struggling mortals but as His spiritual offspring, the very expression of divine Love.

I felt truly lifted up by this fresh sense of God’s love for me and all His children. I felt an assurance that I could look to divine Love to lead me forward. As we more and more consciously let God’s light and love shine through our thoughts and actions, as Jesus urged us to do (see Matthew 5:16), we and those we interact with are benefited.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, makes these arresting statements in her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of mathematics to solve the problem? The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution. Shall we ask the divine Principle of all goodness to do His own work? His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God’s rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation” (p. 3).

I realized that instead of trying to force this job to be a fit for me and vice versa, or demanding that God turn this job into a fit, I could yield to “God’s rule.” To me this meant starting from and staying with the premise of God’s perfect love for all. That spiritual assessment was the only place I would find true satisfaction!

Well, that made all the difference. I felt I had been given divine permission to stop bustling around trying to make everything perfect, and to instead respond to Love’s direction. Very soon, my interactions with students harmonized. I was no longer trying to assert myself or merely appease others. Instead, my motivation was to actively witness God’s love being expressed in myself and those around me. The work became more natural and effective, because instead of looking every which way for the next step, I was feeling the tangibility of Love’s presence guiding me.

Funnily enough, near the end of the school year it became clear that it was time to move on from this job. I was able to do so with nothing but deep gratitude for the experience.

God’s love is limitless, thus trustworthy. It’s a joy to know that on the job or wherever we may be, we can look to divine Love for direction that leads us forward.

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“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.”

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