In the storm of misunderstandings and criticism, in the stress of ingratitude and betrayal; constantly tried as by fire; at times, all but overwhelmed by the waters of malice, envy, and hate; beset by poverty, homelessness, and loneliness, this women pressed on. Healing cases her students failed to heal, pondering and communing with her heavenly Father, she meekly broke the bread of Truth with her fellow men. In the face of opposition greater than the world had known since the advent of Christianity, she would not be swayed from her God-appointed task. In the secret recesses of her heart Mary Baker Eddy guarded the truth God had revealed to her.
(Twelve years with Mary Baker Eddy – Rev. Irving Tomlinson, page 42)
FROM THE EDITORS
The Goal – Satisfying Work, or Your Calling?
From the September 1, 2008 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
IN THE UNITED STATES, home of long work-hours and short vacations, less than half of all Americans say they’re satisfied with their jobs. That figure is down from 61 percent 20 years ago, according to a study released in 2007 by the Conference Board, a business research organization. Other studies show variable job satisfaction levels around the world—generally higher in the UK and Western Europe than the US, though slipping in Germany, and lower in Eastern Europe and Japan.
When you’re out of a job, or employed but concerned about being laid off, or approaching retirement, thinking about what makes you happy in your work might rank low in your priorities. But it could be the perfect time to invest substantially in that direction.
Wherever we might be on the study-work-retirement-renewal arc, some crucial questions beg to be answered: What kind of work is truly satisfying? What is my bliss, anyway—am I missing, or successfully evading, my calling? Even if I’m feeling called to do something radically different with my life, how can I do it gainfully when it’s hard enough just to pay for housing, food, and fuel?
We believe that there are yet deeper questions behind those common queries: What is the source of our calling? How can it be discovered and followed fearlessly? Is one’s calling only a higher human need, or is it something spiritual, even holy? While no one can answer questions of such magnitude for someone else, we’d like to offer some fuel for your search.
WHAT WITHIN US OR WITHOUT DOES THE CALLING?
Satisfying answers to this question come from letting the inspired Word speak directly to our hearts. The immediate followers of Jesus, and the Apostle Paul, who came along later, had a profound sense of being called to their life’s work. They spoke of a calling as a divine gift or endowment. The book of Romans, for example, says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” ( Rom. 11:29, King James Version), suggesting that God doesn’t repent, or change His mind, about the gifts or talents He gives. Other translations take the phrase “without repentance” to mean that our calling is irrevocable (New International Version), and can never be withdrawn (New Living Translation).
There’s powerful comfort in accepting that one’s calling is “of God” and that God never revokes or withdraws it. The divine Mind originates, produces, nurtures, and maintains its ideas. This Mind wouldn’t hide facets of true identity from a loved creation, nor would a loving Maker cause new insights to bud within us, and then let them die on the vine undeveloped and unsustained.
The desire to find and follow one’s calling inescapably takes the search beyond a personal sense of selfhood. The self-made man or woman is all too easily unmade when the going gets touch. And even the worthiest of human character traits would be an extremely limited palette to the eternal, creative Mind.
We truly find ourselves and begin to realize our full potential as we come to know and adore God. Honoring and loving the creator in the highest degree impels a liberating, pure love of oneself and others, as Spirit’s own magnificent and worthy creations. Answering a calling, then, means simply being and doing what God is making us to be and do. Listening, desiring prayer, more than the talking-point-ruled mental agenda, opens the channels of spiritual self-discovery. The divine Mind constantly defines and exalts and advances its ideas to the spiritually attuned consciousness.
WE TRULY FIND OURSELVES AND BEGIN TO REALIZE OUR FULL POTENTIAL AS WE COME TO KNOW AND ADORE GOD.
FOLLOWING A CALLING AGAINST ALL ODDS
When we discern something that’s spiritually true of ourselves and our purpose, it’s divinely lawful to see that truth take flight and be sustained. As Sentinel founder Mary Baker Eddy put it, “The divine Mind that made man maintains His own image and likeness” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 151).
And in her autobiographical work Mrs. Eddy added, “Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 70). There’s a divine “must be” behind every God-endowed gift and talent.
Just as self-adulation can muddy a calling and weigh down the one called, self-doubt clutters the way with fear and uncertainties. But God’s Christ-message comes to anyone honestly desiring to find his or her way—to break the pull of fear or halt the push of selfish ambition.
CALLED TO HEAL
We’re convinced that within the seed of each individual’s calling there’s the substance of a healer. Whatever our calling may be, wherever it takes us, we’re all called to be healers and helpers, menders and lifters. Yes, to heal the sick and help the lost. But we’re also called to mend relationships, families, communities, and economies; to lift and inspire others by being transparent to God’s light and laws.
Each one’s calling magnifies the God who loves us into being.