A Christian Science perspective: Rethinking goals can bring a deeper sense of purpose, basing life on a more solid foundation.
With the economy still not as stable as we’d like it, and with so much around the globe that keeps changing, I find it’s not a bad idea to further consider the goals I’m pursuing. Goals can help keep us moving. But if they’re not based on something enduring, it’s hard to stay steady on the path.
In the early ’90s a number of events had a significant impact on me and on my career. The economy at the time had been weakened, affecting my work. Then something else happened, which I vividly recall: the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. This may sound rather dramatic, but overnight, events in my life caused me to feel I was in a tailspin. Life seemed pointless and dark, and I found myself questioning my career and other things in my life. My goals began to look less helpful to the world than what I felt was needed. I wanted a life that would better support sure and lasting peace and happiness.
I found my answers as a result of a deep spiritual search. One thing I realized was that the goal couldn’t be about something temporary. To me, mere career advancement or even just raising the economic standard of living was too fragile. To focus on building taller buildings, or making money doing that, I reasoned, would be to devote my efforts on something that could all come undone. I would be left vulnerable and would have done little to help others.
An idea from the Bible became the basis for my prayer to God: “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness” (Ps. 143:10). And I learned something as a result of my prayer. My goals had to be more about the spiritual journey – and less about the human measurements. It meant finding more of my divine, eternal purpose or identity.
In retrospect, I see that this more divine view was what I’d hungered for, and furthermore what God had been inviting me to experience. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in the textbook of Christian Science, “Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 66). “New views of divine goodness and love” were what I was ready for, for myself and for my world. By focusing on this I felt certain I would be helping to bring about more certain good for others.
As I began to approach my life more in this way, I got my stability back and made a shift in my career. Today I’m in the work of spiritual healing through prayer, helping others pursue spiritual goals that will keep our lives and economies safer.
More and more it seems that disruptions in economic and social progress, on an individual and global level, have a lesson for us. I’m finding the need to better learn to look for those “new views of divine goodness and love” – to see that life is spiritually based. Things progress as we gain a deeper understanding of God as central, and where we see life as being about the good and love of God, divine Love, expressed by His creation. Relationships, society at large, employment, and the nature of the whole economy, when Love-based, are true to their spiritual foundation and run more smoothly.
God enables this, and we can learn to let Him guide us by keeping Him at the center of our lives. This will help keep our goals aligned with a love that supports and blesses humanity. We might start with more attentively supporting a spouse, family, co-workers, or the community. Love-based action has a never-ending power. We can always love more. And in so doing, we and those around us will find things going in a better and more certain direction.