A Christian Science perspective.
The start of a new year symbolizes an opportunity to reorder life in a renewed way. Much is written and discussed about New Year’s resolutions and how to improve life, making it happier and more orderly. But a few weeks into January, even if you’ve attempted to establish a new and better pattern for living, it can be easy to settle back into an old routine.
Is there a way to overcome the widely held notion that stagnation, backsliding, or decline is inevitable? Is it possible to maintain the impetus and inspiration to keep order and harmony in our lives?
My study of Christian Science has taught me to appreciate and experience order and harmony – to see them in my life more consistently. Whether it’s simply gaining the impetus to maintain a more orderly home or work environment, or making a more fundamental change in character, I’ve found that establishing a spiritual basis for what the Bible calls putting on the “new man” – being “renewed in the spirit of your mind” – is key (see Ephesians 4:23, 24). I’ve been able to glimpse the orderly unfoldment of God’s plan, which overcomes disorder, and to see more harmony in my life.
In the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy emphasizes the importance of order in the universe. She says, “In the order of Science, in which the Principle is above what it reflects, all is one grand concord” (p. 240). But everyone has probably felt at times that the demands of daily life, the rush of events, and perhaps one’s own shortcomings, eclipse order and harmony. Mrs. Eddy explains why that happens. She continues, “Change this statement, suppose Mind to be governed by matter or Soul in body, and you lose the keynote of being, and there is continual discord.”
In other words, if we accept the beliefs prevalent in mortal thinking – that matter and material law rule us – we leave ourselves subject to the lack of harmony that follows. The need is to begin with our thinking and make that more ordered and God-centered. The more we’ve established divine harmony and order in our thought, the more we’ll experience it.
How can we do that? I’ve found it so valuable to set aside quiet time regularly in order to establish this order and harmony through prayer, spiritual study, and communion with God, often in the morning before the day’s activity begins. As the Psalmist says, “[I]n the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalms 5:3). I’ve also found that being willing to make sure my motives and behavior are in accord with divine Principle, the spiritual law that undergirds all harmony, blesses my efforts.
A most important resolution, then, is to be open to spiritual guidance and inspiration. That humble receptiveness enables us to move forward, maintain progress, and gain fulfillment through the bounty of spiritual resources that God bestows on us as His sons and daughters.
As a young adult, my own agenda and to-do list activated me. If my days or home environment was disorderly or rushed, I would somehow muddle through. But as a student of Christian Science, I had been given the tools to know how to listen to God, and He was working in my life to show me a more spiritual, orderly, and harmonious approach to living. It is God’s nature to do this. In her book “Unity of Good,” Eddy wrote, “God is harmony’s selfhood” (p. 13).
Starting each day with the willingness to let God’s will be done has led me toward a more orderly and harmonious way of life. And I have found that learning to appreciate order doesn’t constrain me or make me rigid. Instead, I enjoy the process of ordering my environment and acting in a more measured and considered way. As Hymn No. 49, by John Greenleaf Whittier, in the “Christian Science Hymnal” says:
Take from us now the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.