Dominated by Things?
HAVE you ever thought, "Do these things belong to me or do I belong to them? When our possessions seem to close in on us, maybe we need to get our mental house in order before we try to straighten out the material objects. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, urges us to examine what it is we value most. She writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "To ascertain our progress, we must learn where our affections are placed and whom we acknowledge and obey as God. If divine Love is becoming nearer, dearer, and more real to us, matter is then submitting to Spirit. The objects we pursue and the spirit we manifest reveal our standpoint, and show what we are winning. We all have treasured possessions that express our individual sense of home, of comfort and beauty. But as we recognize that what we treasure is the spiritual reality that heartfelt valuables represent, objects cease to dominate our lives. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ Jesus warns against valuing material objects over God's spiritual gift. "For where your treasure is, the Master points out, "there will your heart be also (Matthew). We certainly don't lose anything useful or good by getting our p riorities straight. Indeed, Jesus confidently promises a few verses later, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. When the ideas we cherish as part of our mental treasure are spiritual, they can never be lost; they can't be shattered or wear out. When we keep our values in spiritual perspective, we are trusting God, divine Love, to provide everything we need. God is infinite, the source of all good. We can trust Him to supply all good abundantly. I've had some interesting experiences that have shown me how Love provides the ideas we need to take charge of our belongings. Once a simple repair got the better of me. I had worked for hours trying to repair a broken cord on a window shade, and I was fighting off anger and frustration. I felt stupid and incompetent. I began to pray and remembered the words of a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal. It starts by asking: "What is thy birthright, man,/Child of the perfect One . . . ? and ends with an answer that was just what I needed to hear:
Thou art not error's thrall; Thou hast the gift of God-- Dominion over all.
I prayed to see that I did have dominion. I suddenly realized how silly I was to be spending all this time and frustration on such a trivial activity. Worse still, I had been allowing the shade to deprive me of my composure. This insight helped me regain my perspective. The broken object was no longer important, and I put it out on the porch, intending to discard it. As I was turning away, however, I finally saw how to work the cord through the slats. The shade was quickly restored to working order . We can find order and harmony in our homes when we recognize that perfection is never found in matter but only in God's spiritual universe, where there is no discord or decay. When we recognize that God has created everything spiritual and perfect--including man, our genuine identity--we can reject imperfection. We can "stop trying to push matter around, as a friend of mine put it. By keeping our mental house in order and embracing the reality of God's creation, we establish our true design for living on a genuinely spiritual basis and refuse to let things push us around, either.