Whose world do you live in?
“It’s a man’s world,” it often seems; despite progress, gender inequities persist. But as a young woman found during a “topsy-turvy” period in her life, the idea that we’re all God’s children offers a powerful basis for experiencing more freedom and equality in our interactions with others.
What a topsy-turvy world I found myself in. I had left my job, moved across the country, and – totally unplanned – started a romantic relationship. It should have been an expansive time of new possibilities. But increasingly I felt unsettled, directionless, even floundering in life – and that included the relationship. There were times I thought I risked losing the relationship if I voiced preferences or opinions that were different from my boyfriend’s.
This was my dilemma. The relationship felt unequal; I felt as though my ideas were of little value.
Now, as then, the broad issue of gender parity still cuts through all kinds of relationships, be they romantic or business, and all manner of social and economic policies. In my case, I could certainly see this underlying sense of gender inequity having an impact on my own situation and mental well-being.
My human reasoning wasn’t bringing clarity, and I realized I needed to change my perspective to a spiritual one in order to gain some sense of balance and a measure of peace. I reached out to someone whose full-time profession was the practice of Christian Science healing to help me pray about the situation.
When I explained my quandary, the practitioner responded with an unexpected and powerful spiritual insight: “You don’t live in a ‘man’s world,’ you live in the kingdom of heaven.”
Ah! This stopped me in my tracks. Despite outward appearances, I felt it to be true – I was more than a mortal woman living in a material world. I was a spiritual daughter of God, living in a spiritual universe!
I was awed by this simple glimpse of spiritual fact: that a higher power, not I or men, was in control for the benefit of all. Prayer that leads us to better understand this brings out the inherent equality within each of us as God’s children, equality that can’t be thwarted by people or circumstances.
At the beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry, the Bible says, “Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Jesus showed what it looks like to experience this realm of heavenly harmony here and now. Throughout his healing ministry, Jesus called forth the undeniable worth of women as well as men, defying centuries of religious and legal tradition.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this news organization, has been a model for me in overcoming limiting circumstances. At a time when women possessed few legal and social rights, Mrs. Eddy discovered the Science of healing, including the basis for harmonious relationships, grounded on the teachings of Christ Jesus. She demonstrated this Science extensively, authored the book describing it (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”), and established a worldwide church and publishing company that still to this day connect people with healing ideas for the good of humanity.
So, I realized, since spiritual equality is inherent within each of us through our unbreakable relation to our divine creator, then my responsibility was to acknowledge God’s supremacy, yield to it, and faithfully follow where it led in daily life.
From this perspective, the purpose of the relationship wasn’t to “get” something I thought I needed. It was to “give” what I already had from God: happiness, wholeness, and success. Relationships provide an opportunity to express the fullness, the magnificence, of God’s goodness ourselves, and to recognize and appreciate this expression in others. God’s goodness includes strength, order, joy, justice, and love – in equal measure for all of God’s sons and daughters.
Letting these qualities flow freely, I trusted God to guide and care for both my boyfriend and me. Like a plant growing in life-giving sunlight, I began living more fully and happily.
Soon, it became clear that while my boyfriend and I were each doing our best in our own way, the relationship wasn’t a fit. We parted amicably and went on to express those God-given qualities in new ways that benefited us individually as well as others. For me, this period of spiritual growth marked a turning point that brought clarity and confidence. I moved to a new employment opportunity, working for a worldwide organization with equality for all at the core of its mission.
In Science and Health, Eddy gives this call to action, which brings progress to all kinds of issues that need healing, including parity and equality for relationships of any kind: “Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love – the kingdom of heaven – reign within us...” (p. 248).