Come out from under pressure
A Christian Science perspective: How can we find relief from stress?
If you’re feeling harried by academic or other demands, with scarcely time to think, then it’s good to take time. Christ Jesus clearly felt a need sometimes to refresh his thought through prayer – through establishing conscious hold on what he knew so perfectly to be the truth of God and man.
We, too, can turn to the spiritual truth of being and find release. Pressure is not a hard reality. It’s a phenomenon of matter-oriented thinking, a confined and confining material outlook, which is unaware of God’s power. While pressure appears to be impelled from without, it is actually going on entirely within thought.
We can come out from under the beliefs that lie behind pressure. Resting on the Biblical truth that limits are unknown to God, we can prove that the loving creator of all is never restricted or restricting in His care for us. He does not give only so much help and then cut it off. As all-knowing Mind, God always imparts full and perfect intelligence to man, who is Mind’s likeness. Divine Mind’s care for man is unending and extends to even the tiniest need. The Almighty’s power is never less than fully adequate, and God causes man to reflect that power.
If our ability comes from God, then where do the demands on our ability come from?
Examined spiritually, this question must yield the same answer: God. To suppose that demands on man can originate from another source or power would be to deny God’s allness and infinite ability to govern His loved creation.
In reality, God alone makes demands on us. He eternally demands that man, His likeness, manifest His nature – express spiritual strength, intelligence, creativity. With that demand comes also the means to meet the demand. Man is God’s image and does express His goodness; this truth is a law of God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes (using synonyms for God), “Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man, and they are spiritual lawgivers, enforcing obedience through divine statutes” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 184).
What bearing can spiritual reality, divine law, have on schoolwork or other tasks?
Demands to grow, improve, excel, are really evidence of Love’s supportive prodding. Progress is Life’s law, which continually nudges us onward to greater understanding and proofs of our present spiritual ability and into the expanded joy and freedom such proofs bring.
Ignorant of God’s presence and purpose for man, we sometimes misinterpret the demands that are placed on us and our ability to meet them. Mistaking the troubled human scene for reality, we may believe that demands are material and can be levied unlovingly or unthinkingly and that our ability may not match them. But it’s only this material outlook, or thought process, that is causing and feeling the pressure. Man is never actually trapped, because he is governed only by the one supreme, intelligent cause, divine Mind.
“He performeth the thing that is appointed for me,” says the Bible (Job 23:14). Even a glimpse of spiritual reality can begin to dissolve fear, because each conscious breakthrough is felt within. With the lifting of fear, God’s ever-present control becomes increasingly evident, dissolving apparent conflicts and limitations. The demands we encounter, our individual capacities, and even the timing of events will then be found working together to carry us forward.
Reprinted from the March 2, 1979, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.