The path forward

Sometimes it can seem tough to find and stay on the path toward progress. But as a young woman experienced when she found herself in an unhealthy relationship, God gives us the strength and wisdom we need to think and act in ways that bless ourselves and others.

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I got tangled up again in a bad relationship. I knew it was a step backward. My former boyfriend and I hadn’t seen each other for over a year, during which time I’d begun to really open my heart to God.

It was early in my study of Christian Science, and I was learning that God is infinite Love, and that as the children, or spiritual image, of God, we’re inseparable from Love. This was having a healing impact on my disposition, causing me to be more unselfish and kind.

I was awakening to what it says in the Bible’s book of Colossians: “You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (3:9, 10, New International Version). This is what Christ Jesus lived to show us, that our genuine nature and identity flow from God and are purely good.

But when I moved across the United States, far from familiar friends and places, it threw me for a loop, and I fell into a depression. My former boyfriend called one day, and we got ensnared again in the relationship. There were good moments, but more often than not we brought out the worst in each other.

At one point, I flew cross-country to see him, and on the return trip I broke down and sobbed. It felt as though the previous year’s progress had been derailed. I alternated between sleeping and crying for most of the flight.

Yet each time I awoke, the melody of a hymn played softly in thought, which buoyed me. It was a musical setting of a poem written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. I didn’t remember the words beyond the first line: “It matters not what be thy lot, / So Love doth guide” (“Poems,” p. 79).

It felt as if God was saying: “No matter what, I won’t let you sink. I’ve got you, and I’m never letting go.” It was the Christ, or voice of divine Love. Christ is always communicating in whatever way we need to hear it (even singing to us!), assuring us we’re at one with God as the very expression of God’s goodness and love.

For a number of weeks after that, I put everything else on hold to pray and study the Bible and Mrs. Eddy’s writings. Passages in these books assured me that God leads our lives forward on a path of Christly transformation. For instance, in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy says: “Truth makes a new creature, in whom old things pass away and ‘all things are become new.’ Passions, selfishness, false appetites, hatred, fear, all sensuality, yield to spirituality, and the superabundance of being is on the side of God, good” (p. 201).

A fresh sense of joy emerged, along with the conviction that I could trust God to move both me and my boyfriend forward in our lives – to grow more fully in expressing our God-given goodness and love. The selfishness and immaturity that had dominated our relationship wasn’t part of what either of us really was.

This gave me the courage to simply end the relationship without any fuss. We both moved on in good ways, and there was no turning back.

Through all of this, I also learned that God gives us authority over whatever tries to pull our thought and behavior backward, in a direction contrary to God’s good intention for us. And through prayer, we come to find that God is constantly encouraging us forward on the path of expressing our true Godlike nature.

In these challenging and fluctuating times, we may be encountering all sorts of situations where it can feel tough to be loving and generous, as well as wise. Communities and nations are grappling with this, too, in areas where there’s been an unraveling of norms. But praying more consistently throughout each day attunes us to the voice of divine Love that calls us to be a healing force for good, by realizing that Love is what truly animates us all.

God’s goodness can’t be undone. God forever upholds our Christly goodness, and it’s God’s loving will for us to “put on [our] new self” and really live.

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