Rejoicing in our perfect place
Struggling to land a position in a competitive job market, a woman turned to God for inspiration. The realization that we have an eternal purpose and place as God’s loved children changed her outlook on the situation – which ultimately culminated in a job that was a perfect fit.
After I graduated from college, I was applying for elementary school teaching jobs at a time and in a location where there were about 100 applicants for every teaching job. Throughout the spring and summer, I had numerous interviews that went well. Over and over again, however, the principal would call me later and tell me that he or she felt I had a promising future as a teacher, but that an experienced teacher had been hired instead.
I’m not going to lie: It was hard not to be discouraged! But throughout those months, I prayed regularly, which led to wonderful lessons that have continued to bless my life and work ever since.
For instance, one of the Bible verses I prayed with daily reminded me, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise” (Isaiah 43:21). And the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, states simply, “Man is the expression of God’s being” (p. 470).
I reasoned that if individual identity is the expression of the Divine, then our purpose and true employment is to express God’s qualities in useful ways. In short, our identity, purpose, and employment are entirely spiritual, forever upheld by God. We are created to express God’s good, purposeful nature. Therefore, no one can ever be without purpose or place. We are forever employed by God to show forth His praise.
So I consciously tried to find opportunities each day to be a blessing to others – to actively express kindness, patience, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness. I soon found every day filled with these opportunities.
As the school year began, I called a Christian Science practitioner to pray with me. When I told him about the calls from school principals letting me know that they had hired someone else, he asked me a simple question: “And do you rejoice that others are being blessed?”
That simple question taught me a huge lesson. The spiritual facts about identity, purpose, and employment that I had been claiming for myself were also the facts about everyone else. The blessings of God-given purpose and employment are for all of us.
This is not to say God is like some master chess player in the sky assigning college acceptances, jobs, houses, or companionship. Instead, the place that God keeps us is the “secret place of the most High” (Psalms 91:1) – the consciousness of His presence and power, the very kingdom of heaven.
The Lord’s Prayer includes the promise of God’s kingdom as sovereign on “earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The activity of the Christ – the eternal manifestation of divine Truth – impels the expression of God’s presence, power, and goodness in our lives. It may be evidenced in a job, home, or whatever the need is, but these material blessings are only hints of the infinite promise of our place in God’s kingdom.
One day, it occurred to me that someday I would look back on this time of spiritual progress with tremendous gratitude for everything I was learning. And I asked myself if anything external really needed to change in order to express that thankfulness. The desire to gratefully acknowledge right then – not just “someday” – the wonderful spiritual lessons I was learning brought great freedom and joy to my life.
As the school year started, I signed up to substitute teach, an option that felt like a bit of a failure at first. But each day of subbing brought new lessons and increased my confidence in relying on God in every situation.
Within a few weeks, I was offered a full-time position at a school where they were creating an additional class because of larger-than-expected enrollment. Everything about the job – the school, the other teachers, the location – was a perfect fit for me.
Even now, long after my teaching career has ended, I continue to celebrate the spiritual blessings and progress this experience brought.
Each of us can pray each day to recognize that our identity and employment are to show forth God’s praise. And as we strive to live this spiritual fact, we experience more concretely the sense of purpose and right activity inherent in all of God’s children.