I am a periodic columnist for the Danbury New-Times Forum on Faith column, which also appears, I am told, in the Stamford Advocate and the Connecticut Post. But it was my total surprise this morning to find my New Year’s Eve blog post (click here) printed in today’s paper! I have reprinted the text below for your convenience:
Improve Your Motives To Help Be All You Can Be
As we face the clean slate of a fresh New Year, I ask you: what is stopping you from being all you can be?
Christian Science teaches that operating from the basis of the human mind limits your experience. Contrariwise, when God governs every action, being the best you can be is inevitable.
Action is important. Existence itself is indelibly linked with action, just like a sentence must have both a noun and a verb. We are not whole unless we are doing something.
However, it is just as inappropriate to be preoccupied with busy activity and ignore the essence of our being as it is to languish in the profound meaning of existence while doing nothing. Finding a balance between doing and being is imperative to happiness, fulfillment and effectiveness.
Our motives also matter tremendously. Motives are our reasons for taking action, and they must be examined if we wish to make better choices. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science has a lot to say about motives in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
“The purpose and motive to live aright can be gained now. This point won, you have started as you should…and nothing but wrong intention can hinder your advancement. Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way.”
“Unselfish ambition, noble life-motives, and purity, — these constituents of thought, mingling, constitute individually and collectively true happiness, strength, and permanence.”
“Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action.” (“Pinions” are wings for soaring; they release us from feeling bogged down or stuck.)
So what are “true,” “noble,” or “right” motives? Christian Science has taught me that they are motives that align with God instead of my own limited human perspective. Any action that results in unhappiness or discord stems from our human, mortal mind, which claims separation from God, the divine Mind.
Mary Baker Eddy explains, “If action proceeds from the divine Mind, action is harmonious. If it comes from erring mortal mind, it is discordant and ends in sin, sickness, death. Those two opposite sources never mingle in fount or stream. The perfect Mind sends forth perfection, for God is Mind. Imperfect mortal mind sends forth its own resemblances, of which the wise man said, ‘All is vanity.’”
I can see now that many of my efforts over the years have added up to “vanity” (a Bible code-word for nothing! zilch! nada! – or at best, meaninglessness.) This includes lots of New Year’s resolutions comprising of what I thought I wanted, what I thought I needed, or changes I thought I would make. That approach left me empty-handed until I started asking what God desired for me to do at any given time.
Now that I’ve accepted God as responsible for my progress and destiny, I am finally getting somewhere. This gives me a wider sphere of action than I could have imagined for myself. And it becomes a project of joyous, humble obedience instead of grueling self-determination.
It all starts with realizing that each of us individually expresses God as His creation. We are not creating ourselves; we are not self-made; God already made every one of us, complete. We are all designed to fully manifest God’s glory, which includes taking initiative each step of the way as we are led by God. I have found this approach never leaves anyone empty-handed or disappointed.
For my part, I look forward to seizing this New Year as a day by day, moment by moment adventure of discerning and implementing God’s will for me. This coming year, may you too reap the benefits of improved, uplifted motives, as well as experience the satisfaction of discovering and demonstrating all you are meant to be!