"All God's servants are minute men and women. As of old, I stand with sandals on and staff in hand, waiting for the watchword and the revelation of what, how, whither. Let us be faithful and obedient, and God will do the rest." Mary Baker Eddy inspired us beautifully to embrace consecration and readiness as a daily asset. There is something noble and dignified here, even something royal. In my imagination this readiness is like a bird who is prepared to fly any moment.
The way we approach daily life is the way we live our lives. When I prepared breakfast this morning, being interrupted a few times by people who needed my support, I found my way through this labyrinth of demands by remembering to be a volunteer under all circumstances. I also remembered a recent talk in which the speaker asked the audience to turn the cellphones back on (after the audience had been asked to turn the cellphones off before he entered the podium). His point being that our job is always to be available to others who need our help, our brother birds, everywhere. An unusual and a fresh way of looking at cellphones, from the Christian Science practitioner Rick Stewart, who was the speaker. Cellphones on! Not for entertainment or nonsense, but as a sign of availability and readiness.
"At every moment we are volunteers," wrote Stephen Colbert on a slip of paper, this quote being something like a motto of his. This volunteering becomes habitual, I find, as it is backed up by insights into our true being as worthy, spiritual, meaningful, interesting, and authentic. Discovering something about our status as divine ideas with a spiritual origin makes all the difference. There is good, God, as the beginning and end of it all. Being a volunteer reflects a link to good, at all times. It is a sign of authority.
The Bible - humanity's book, filled with stories and insights about how to get to know God and what impact "walking with God" might have - is filled with images. They translate beautifully into our experiences because they were already written for all time in the first place. And whatever the bridge to your own experience - something from 600 b.c., the 19th century or the 21st century: May it bring a sense of calm into your day, a sense of the dignity of life:
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." (Isaiah 6: 8)
"We should endeavor to be long-suffering, faithful, and charitable with all. To this small effort let us add one more privilege — namely, silence whenever it can substitute censure. Avoid voicing error; but utter the truth of God and the beauty of holiness, the joy of Love and 'the peace of God, that passeth all understanding,' recommending to all men fellowship in the bonds of Christ.“ Mary Baker Eddy writes this in her short text No&Yes which I have close to my desk for some years now. How do we put this into action?
It was during my Master’s thesis that I realized I needed a cancellation policy for my own words. A clear rule. Something like applying a cancellation policy for a subscription you don’t need any more. At the beginning of my Master's, my research and writing didn’t go as planned. So whenever anyone asked how I was doing, I poured out a litany of complaints. When I was alone I tried to pray and listen for Love’s guidance. After some time I saw how this litany counteracted my prayers, and in order to grow spiritually and academically I cancelled it.
I refused to refer ever again to my current assignment in a negative way. I decided to watch out for the good that was already there, and I mentioned to others that things were unfolding at their own speed. Soon enough ideas started to flow, followed by sentences to write down, and I finished my Master’s thesis in time, receiving a wonderful grade.
This experience taught me to move forward with other cancellations over the years, and here they are:
No "how sad": I have eliminated completely from the way I speak or write the words „how sad“. Even if for example these words were employed to express the gentle regret that a friend cannot accept an invitation, I still don’t do it. I know how it makes me feel when I meet with this response.
No "written criticism": This is tricky, because, of course, anybody has to discriminate, especially if we are responsible for others. But I tried to reduce criticism in writing, and I have made it a point in writing down praise instead of just saying it to someone whenever I can. Some things are better said than written, and vice versa. Writing something down gives any topic more weight than it usually has. It grants it at least a longer life. This rule has not been easy to apply in work-related environments, yet it has helped me to keep my writing pure, to support others, and to be a peacemaker under difficult circumstances.
No "I must": I strive to purge my daily words and written language from the word "must" in the context of the next actions I need to take. I don’t need this little extra weight when I do shopping, cooking, cleaning, supporting a nursing case, putting something into order, substituting for a friend, walking to the post office etc. I claim for me peaceful and happy unfoldment of good, every day.
Paul is a fabulous life coach, not just for the first tiny Christian communities but also for us today. His list of life hacks is totally up to date, it is to be found in his first letter to the Thessalonians 5: 14-22. If you want to improve your speech as well, you might enjoy checking in with the book of James, in which we find this observation:
"We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. (…)take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts."
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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