The race set before us
A Christian Science perspective: We each have a unique race set before us, giving us opportunities to express divine Soul, the source of our original identity and talent.
Do you sometimes awake thinking about your day with something less than enthusiasm, or even with dread? Perhaps a demanding boss or a judgmental relative haunts your prospects, or anxiety about deadlines and too much to do lurks in the shadows. You may be facing persistent unemployment and mounting bills, or a troubling disease confronts you. But right where that view looms ahead, God is already there to help you.
If you have ever run in or been a spectator at a long-distance race, you will have seen the crowd lining the course. They are cheering for the runners, giving support – nourishment, refreshment, and encouragement. If we widen our focus to include our spiritual sense, we can envision such spectators cheering us on in life’s long race. But, rather than people, it’s Soul – a helpful synonym for God – that encourages us, points out the way, and brings out the best in us, enabling us to do whatever is required of us.
The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible appears to have focused on similar ideas: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (12:1, 2).
We each have a unique race set before us, giving us opportunities to express divine Soul, the source of our original identity and talent. We are Soul’s individual expression of goodness, usefulness, and beauty. Christ Jesus showed us the way to run life’s race well. He always did what was pleasing to his Maker. Each of us can continually grow in our faith and ability to follow Jesus along this Christian path. We all come from the same divine source, but each one expresses the limitless qualities of Soul in a distinctive way. No one is separated from Soul, which is right where we are, and right where we are going. Each race unfolds Soul’s own expression of infinitely glorious being. That expression is you and I, and the divine Mind and its ideas are our cloud of witnesses.
You could say that laying aside unnecessary weights might include laying aside wrong motivations in the race. It isn’t about competing for limited supply with other men or women. We aren’t here to please our family or our boss or society, to accumulate material wealth and trophies and stuff. We are demonstrating our spiritual mastery over each challenge as it appears around the bend in order to hear those welcome words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). We are uncovering priceless treasures within our own identity along this learning pathway.
With this approach, our daily tasks take on more meaning than just meeting a deadline or bringing home a paycheck or placating a relative or boss. Human appreciation fades all too quickly. But God’s approval is felt to the very roots of our being. When we are running the race God has set before us, we feel the concord of being in alignment with Soul’s plan for us and the deep satisfaction of following this course. We can participate fully in our race by learning to love what we are doing today, even if the same work felt like drudgery yesterday. New ideas, new abilities, new opportunities open up as we consciously choose to express the kindness, honesty, consistency, and generosity of divine Love in everything we do. Actively loving draws us into the right course with God.
Does the race “set before us” include the need to overcome disease? Then you can run this race with patience and temperance and learn what is already within you that is completely able to rise above sickness or sin. Your grand and noble expression of Soul is being revealed even as you read this, uncovering who you really are. What seems like a narrow and rocky pathway or parched desert is actually lined with the presence of Soul, which reveals strength of character and higher motives as you work your way from goal to goal. As you acknowledge more of the presence of Soul and less of an imprisoning disease, the pathway widens into green pastures of joy and peace.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes: “In Christian Science, progress is demonstration, not doctrine. This Science is ameliorative and regenerative, delivering mankind from all error through the light and love of Truth. It gives to the race loftier desires and new possibilities” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 235).
Claiming Soul’s equipoise as your own will successfully launch and satisfyingly conclude each leg of your race in a timely way. This race is your life purpose and is designed to bring to light the best of who you really are.
Whatever weights you may have carried around – a negative sense of identity, inability, harmful characteristics, dubious qualities, vulnerabilities – that you thought were you, can all be laid aside so that you can run well in your Soul-lined pathway to grace.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.