Refuse to sink

When the waters of life get rough, recognizing that God keeps all His children safe and whole opens the door to hope, strength, and healing.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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I was in a drive-through line in my car, waiting for a breakfast sandwich. When I reached the register, I noticed that the woman taking my credit card had a tattoo on her arm that said, “Refuse to sink” surrounded by roses and a ship’s anchor. “I really like that message,” I said, pointing to her arm.

She thanked me with a smile and shared that parts of her life hadn’t been easy. But the message on her arm was something a relative had shared with her, and it had resonated. The tattoo was a way for her to remember this encouragement.

That really helped me. “Yes, I believe that, too,” I found myself mentally agreeing as I drove away with my food.

Christian Science has shown me that we all have a God-given right and ability to “refuse to sink” during difficult times – one that is so much more than trying through force of will to be strong or to project confidence. God, divine Life and Love, actually holds us up just by virtue of our relation to God. As children of God, we are spiritual, reflecting and expressing the goodness of our creator. So spiritual buoyancy is “baked in” to our selfhood.

When we pray to accept and learn to count on our connection to divine Love, we’ll feel resilience in the face of darkness and be less likely to feel adrift, anchorless, and excluded.

The key is understanding and trusting that God preserves us and constantly brings good things to light. We’re not mortals destined to flail around. As we embrace God’s view, we’ll also be gentler with ourselves as we learn these lessons, and we’ll also be more content with our days.

How this all plays out in daily life may look different for everyone, but the foundation is the same. And it’s deeply rooted in Christian theology, in Christ Jesus’ example. Of course, an ultimate example of refusing to sink is when Jesus rose from the grave after being crucified! But his smaller yet powerful healing demonstrations of God’s total supremacy along the way all built up to that moment of triumph.

So what could “refusing to sink” look like in practice? It’s not about mere human determination. It comes down to an openness to the light of Christ that reveals our God-given buoyancy and uplifts us, and a willingness to practice living that buoyancy. Sometimes it could mean, quite simply, moving forward with plans to meet up with a friend or a family member, intending to be a blessing and to actively appreciate others’ spiritual qualities, even when we’d rather sit on the couch curled up with a blanket and our phone. Or, when it feels like we’ve really taken a gut punch, it could mean taking time to quiet our thoughts and pray to better see the reality of God’s supremacy, pushing back against the notion that there is nothing we can do to stand up to and overcome evil.

Small decisions like this lead to the larger ones that contribute to a world where darkness is diminished by increasing light.

In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, there is a passage that talks about the symbolic meaning of the dragon that appears in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. The author poses and answers a question that describes an attempt to thwart the goodness and holiness of the eternal Christ that Jesus so masterfully exemplified: “What if the old dragon should send forth a new flood to drown the Christ-idea? He can neither drown your voice with its roar, nor again sink the world into the deep waters of chaos and old night. In this age the earth will help the woman; the spiritual idea will be understood” (p. 570).

I like to think of this as essentially a “So what?” question. Even amid evidence of a flood, “So what?” It doesn’t mean that the flood wins. The Christ-idea, expressing God’s tender love and care for all His children, is permanent and indestructible and comes to us all with unwavering grace.

God, divine Love, is our anchor. Feeling this is something that is natural to everyone. Yes, you are buoyant. You can refuse to sink.

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