Now that last yearâ€™s appointment book is filed away and the clean pages of a new calendar open before us, itâ€™s natural to look toward the year ahead. What will it hold? Will it simply be a continuation of the old year and its activities? Or will it contain something new and progressive? What brings new life, innovation, vigor, joy?
Iâ€™ve found that what helps me move forward is a willingness to open my thought to new ideas.
Fresh thought has continually brought progress to humanity, individually and collectively. For example, before the 19th century, who imagined anyone could talk to people thousands of miles away? The limits of human hearing seemed to make that impossible. Yet rather than accepting limitations, inquisitive thinkers in the 1830s got the idea of transforming vibrations into electrical impulses. Then in 1861 an apparatus was built that converted sound to electricity and back again to sound, leading to the invention of the telephone.
Is there a creative source we can tap for vibrant new ideas and inspiration? In the Bible, God, the Creator, is confirmed as an infinite source of renewal. For example, the book of Revelation says, â€śBehold, I make all things newâ€ť (21:5). To me, it makes sense to turn to the Creator if Iâ€™m looking for more creativity.
The Bible is full of accounts of individuals who received divinely inspired ideas, enabling them to do worthwhile things. Think of Joseph and the forward-looking ideas he received from God that enabled him to prevent a famine in Egypt. And Deborah, who was consulted by people in matters of justice because she was known to be a prophetess receiving guidance from God. Think also of Jesus, who prevented the potential stoning of a woman accused of adultery by listening for inspiration and then turning the accusersâ€™ thought in a new direction.
How do people access this divine source of creative thought? Iâ€™ve found it happens through prayer, when I take quiet time alone to acknowledge the presence of infinite, divine Mind, God, and listen patiently for fresh ideas.
Some years ago, I realized Iâ€™d outgrown my job. But I stayed because I didnâ€™t see any avenues in my field to use my skills. Looking back now, I can see that my thinking had gotten stuck in limiting concepts, such as lack of opportunity and fear of change. As I took time each day in prayer to gain clearer views of my divine purpose and to listen for guidance, new ideas started unfolding for me. Instead of seeing myself as underemployed, I started seeing myself as the expression of God, of fruitful divine Life, always â€śemployedâ€ť by God to serve humanity and express spiritual qualities. At work, I started doing things differently, in a way that better reflected my values.
Two weeks later, I was fired after defending the rights of a client I felt was being mistreated. But rather than getting stuck in fear (how would I get a reference from an employer who fired me?!), I opted to see the situation as a divine push to continue working on some new abilities Iâ€™d been developing. A whole new career unfolded for me, enabling me to use my best skills to help people. Events also occurred that lifted me out of an unproductive relationship.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, felt that a lifelong openness to new ideas fosters ongoing innovation and advancement. In fact, she was in her late 80s when she founded the newspaper. She wrote, â€śWillingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced ideaâ€ť (â€śScience and Health with Key to the Scriptures,â€ť pp. 323-324). This childlike state of receptivity is not uninformed or ignorant, but rather, free from rigid patterns of thought and open to infinite good.
During the coming year I plan to challenge whatever seems stagnant in my thought, and listen for new inspiration from infinite divine Mind, as promised in this passage from Psalms: â€śYou crown the year with Your goodness; Your ways overflow with plentyâ€ť (Ps. 65:11, Holman Christian Standard Bible).