Making the most out of opportunities to grow

Learning more about God and our nature as God’s children empowers us to overcome difficulties – as a man experienced after persistent pain arose in his stomach.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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I was participating in a masters swim program and one day the coach said to me: “OK, it’s time for you to get out of your comfort zone! I want you to swim the fastest 50 yards you have ever done.”

Well, I had been swimming consistently for a good period of time and also working on improving my speed, so I was ready to go for it. I ended up swimming my best 50-yard time. That experience helped me to become more confident and to see that we each have unlimited potential to express strength and joy in unique ways.

And then, there are other times when making the most out of an opportunity to grow – striving to confront a challenge or problem with dominion over discouragement or fear – can be more difficult. That’s like one evening when I was faced with stomach pain. At first I thought it was just going to pass and all would be fine. However, that’s not what happened. The pain persisted and even became worse.

I realized I needed to pray to God. And that’s because I knew I could overcome this problem and be healed through God’s ever-present power. Christ Jesus’ supreme example and teachings have showed me this. I have also gained a strong conviction of this through my own practice and study of Christian Science, discovered by Mary Baker Eddy, who also founded the Monitor.

These words from Mrs. Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” came to thought: “Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony” (p. 412). And what is the basis for this guidance? The spiritual reality Jesus proved: that true health, harmony, and goodness originate in God, divine Spirit, who is fully good – not in matter.

So, health is a quality of God, our divine Parent. It must, therefore, also be an inherent quality of God’s spiritual, beloved offspring – that includes you and me.

I got started right away in prayerfully affirming that harmony is the eternal state of my being because harmony is the perpetual state of God’s nature. The material view of ourselves as suffering mortals who can experience pain is not the truth about us. It is a deception, a lie about our true, spiritual identity. And I was not going to accept it. Health and harmony naturally go together, and so I also reasoned that my health could be proved right there and then, because harmony is the fact of our being as God’s spiritual offspring.

The stomach pains immediately began to subside, and I was able to go to sleep for the night without any pain. I felt complete assurance that the problem had been healed by the power of God. And I gratefully awoke the next day free of any pain, which never returned. I also knew that I had grown even further in the spiritual conviction of God’s power in our lives.

Opportunities to grow can come in all kinds of ways and when we least expect them. Are we ready to make the most out of each one? That can happen as we are willing to acknowledge God’s ever-present power and our true being as God’s spiritual, beloved offspring.

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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.