With the start of a new school year, whether in person or remote, many parents and families have to find a new norm.
I’ve found it isn’t as easy as falling into what we were doing the previous year. As the children advance in school, my role as mom keeps changing as well. I might be a cheerleader one minute and a referee the next. Or maybe I switch from entertainment director to working mom; from being wanted as a classroom helper to “Please don’t let my friends see you, Mom, because you will embarrass me.”
The sense that we need to periodically reinvent ourselves, whether due to a change in employment, schooling, or other activities, can make us feel anxious and unhappy. But I’ve found that a different, spiritual perspective can make all the difference.
My youngest was about to go off to kindergarten. I was going to be by myself during the day for the first time in almost 10 years. At first, I felt sad, lonely, a bit lost, and unmotivated.
But I have always found it helpful to ask God for direction. So one morning, as my son went off to school, I did just that.
The thought immediately came, “Find your true self.”
What this meant to me was that I had been defining myself and my worth by a human title. In this case, “best stay-at-home Mom ever” (just kidding!).
But God sees us as so much more: as His loved spiritual offspring, with a God-given purpose and ability to bless others – whether or not we have children at home.
Mary Baker Eddy’s “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” captures the timelessness of our purpose. It says: “Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness” (p. 246).
Male or female, young or old, at our core we are each this grand and beautiful spiritual man – the flawless reflection of our divine Father-Mother, God, the divine Mind. A worthless, useless, or purposeless child of God is not possible! If we find we are asking ourselves, “What am I if I’m not … (a mother, or an accountant, or a teacher, or a factory worker, or so on),” we can take heart in our spiritual identity and purpose.
Whatever our career or family roles may be, we are all capable of reflecting God’s light, intelligence, and love into the world.
I continued praying with these ideas. One early morning while driving, I had the sudden urge to go to a particular store. I wasn’t planning on this, but the feeling was so strong that I turned into the parking lot. As I got out of the car, my son’s kindergarten teacher ran over to me, saying, “I am so glad to see you! My husband’s car won’t start and we need to jump our battery. Can you help us?” After I did, the teacher commented that I must have been sent by God.
Not only does our moment-by-moment God-derived purpose come with benefits and a wonderful boss, it also comes with the tools needed for us to accomplish whatever task may be at hand. The Bible tells us, “For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him” (Job 23:14, New King James Version).
With all of these wonderful ideas to propel me forward, I realized that I didn’t need to reinvent myself, or define myself by any particular label, after all. I woke each morning determined to live up to my true, spiritual selfhood as the expression of divine Life and Love.
As I opened my thought to divine Love’s guidance and view of my true self, I found countless opportunities to glorify God through church work, involvement with the parent-teacher organization at my children’s school, theater work, helping a neighbor grocery shop, even caring for my mother.
This year, as my children left for the first day of school, I thanked God for the care, guidance, and world of opportunity all of us have to express goodness and joy.
This is our true selfhood: children of God, full of light, purpose, worth. Recognizing this empowers us to help others – wherever we find ourselves – and to be blessed as well.