Praying for Boldness
August 17, 2012 at 11:10 am #67314
I have a question, but before I get to that, I want to share the following passage from Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, as it will help explain my question. The following is written by Mrs. Eddy:
A lady in Lynn was so angry at me she would not speak to me after healing her daughter because she said I spoke disrespectfully to her dying daughter. The physicians had said there was only a little piece of her lung left and she was dying. I was called and there were spiritualists around. I tried to reach her thought, but no, could not get at it. So I said, "Get out of that bed." Then I called to those in the other room, "Bring her clothes." The girl got up and was well; never even coughed again. . . . I speak sharply sometimes, but the thought must move.
Christian Science is all about this… moving thought. It’s not about moving matter, changing matter, etc. It’s all about moving/stirring thought. However, recently I’ve become aware of a tendency in myself (and others I’m sure) to want to kind of keep this thought movement private, personal, guarded, even secretive you might say.
Just yesterday, while on the way to dinner with some friends, one of them (who is not a Christian Scientist) coughed and then off-handedly remarked, “I hope I’m not getting sick.” I kind of dismissed the comment and just went to dinner, but afterwards it got me thinking about it. My dismissal did not move thought at all. My friend still has no idea what Christian Science is, and while not currently sick, nothing has been done to address that underlying liability to be sick. I see my dismissal as really being tantamount to just ignoring a problem rather than handling it, perhaps out of timidity or fear on my part.
So I’ve been thinking about this. In that moment I could have done a number of things. I could have said that he cannot be sick because God never made disease and that man is completely spiritual. I could have shared some of my own experiences, and how my health has proved very reliable thanks to Christian Science and the resultant understanding of man’s true being. And so on.
But I didn’t do that. I just effectively ignored the thought there by dismissing it, and we all went to dinner and just didn’t bring it back up. Now, of course I’ll have more opportunities to engage and talk with this friend, so this particular instance isn’t really a big deal. But it got me thinking. How often do we differentiate between what we actually think, versus what we’re willing to say to others? And why is that?
Awhile back I remember reading an incredible article from the Sentinel titled To See And Know God by Basil Hoffman. He was an atheist for 30 years, married to a Christian Scientist, and after a persistent, diagnosed physical problem got worse and worse, he finally gave into his wife’s pleading to visit a Christian Science practitioner. He described all the physical symptoms in detail to the practitioner, talked about how he had inherited it, how many other people struggled with it, etc. But immediately the practitioner told him that, no, he could not have inherited anything from his father or grandfather, because all of his inheritance was from God, because God was his real Father. And then she immediately had him perform a task that would have been impossible with the physical condition, and he did it! Immediately. There was no questioning, no calculating what was the right thing to say; she just said the Truth without hesitation because it is true, and it was immediately manifest.
I realized that that’s what we’re all shooting for. So I keep asking: why am I not more bold about this in everyday interactions? Why do we hide Christian Science as if it’s some secret, special possession that makes us weird? I ask this knowing full well that I’m a huge offender in this regard! Romans 7:19 comes to mind. I think, rather than confronting these little lies that we see in our day-to-day experiences, lies that say things like, “I hope I’m not getting sick!”, we worry that if we start a conversation, we will be ostracized in some form. Or perhaps we worry that we won’t be able to walk what we talk, — won’t be able to prove what we’re saying.
But at the end of the day, I know in my heart that we are called to do more than to treat Christian Science as a possession that we have to cultivate for ourselves but not all of those around us. We are called to move thought. Again, I’m really rebuking myself a lot right here — I know I have a lot more I could be doing. Ezekiel 2:7 also comes to mind.
This is an ongoing question for me: how do we find more boldness in our day-to-day experiences, to stand up to these little lies? To speak the Truth because we know it is true, and not hold back because we worry that maybe this time it won’t be. To really start to move thought in ourselves and in others, and not just carefully skirt around the issues when it seems inconvenient? How do we pray for more boldness?August 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm #67322
Hi Gordon — It’s a good question. I would say from experience, there are times when it’s been helpful to share some thoughts on Christian Science, and there are other times when I’ve felt it’s better to keep quiet. I guess only God can really guide what’s right to say at any moment.
But a helpful thing, at least in the case you mention, might be to be clear in your own thought that your friend certainly isn’t getting sick! Or anyone else for that matter :) That’s probably the most important thing.
When I remember that my expression of Christian Science needs to be “aflame with divine Love”, and meeting the human need, I’ve found the right responses come more readily.August 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm #67469
Gordon, thank you for your post. It got me thinking. I actually feel like you handled the situation very well. I think mental action is the most essential thing that you can do in a situation like that because you’re taking the issue straight to God instead of trying to humanly convince someone of God and God’s power. Of course, talking about CS is essential, but prayer is even more so. And I think our priority should be to pray more boldly and then the words will naturally follow, people will naturally be curious about your health, peace, spirituality, etc. That curiosity will naturally open the conversation. I always love how when practitioners get into the practice, it isn’t because they ran around spreading the word, but it was because they mentally prepared themselves and people started naturally coming to them. Of course, you want to examine your thought and remove any fear about speaking the truth, but more than that just get to know the truth and then it will flow effortlessly out of you.August 24, 2012 at 7:49 am #67507
Thanks, Peter and Kelsey.
A friend shared this quote — from Mary Baker Eddy — yesterday, and it is relevant so I wanted to pass it along here:
“What you and all students need most to advance their growth is practice, healing the sick. Sea captains on shore are of no use.”August 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm #67509
Hey Gordon! What a loving question! I am so inspired and grateful for your desire to know how bright you shine.
I’m reminded of Mary Baker Eddy’s article on “Love” in Miscellaneous Writings. Near the end she writes about how love is like a ceaseless prayer. When we’re wrapped in love for God, as we’re aware of our oneness with divine Love, we also cannot help but know how to act in any situation.
Boldness is not something that we can rely on others to tell us about. Peter’s act, cutting off the soldier’s ear, in any other circumstance would probably have been seen as very bold indeed – one guy attacking a whole crowd of tyrannizers? Could have seemed pretty awesome and role-model worthy. But it was not true boldness at all, because it was entirely based in a personal sense of defense, aggression, and fear. Jesus’ response was the true boldness: he healed the man.
My reason for bringing that up is, to suggest that you not worry about coming up with “what you’ll do next time.” Sure, maybe sharing those truths with your friend that you mentioned will be awesome – but maybe what will be awesome will be just a hug, or (like Peter responded above) “just” the silent mental affirmation of man’s true health, or…. There’s no need to judge the effectiveness of your protest against mortality but comparing to other folks – or even other responses you could have said.
A couple months ago I was hanging out with a friend where he works at the comic book shop and he was telling me how he was trying not to get sick, since all his roommates are sick. I almost blurted out “You’re God’s idea and as such, you are forever safe!” but as I was starting to say it, I could tell that, in that particular instance, that phrase was being motivated by a prideful desire for him to say, “Whatever do you mean, John?! Tell me more about Christian Science and how awesome it is, and all about your work in healing, too, by the way!” and so I ended up saying, “You’re healthy – why shouldn’t they catch your health?! Why should sickness be stronger than health?” He laughed, perked up, said, “Hey, I never thought of it like that!” and we proceeded to have a great conversation. And he didn’t get sick, either.
Sure, the first phrase could have been seen as ‘bolder,’ because it was more direct with sharing a truth. But in that moment, it wasn’t boldness at all. Boldness was just standing up against the claim. Which it does seem like you did, too, in your story :-)
So, long story short (even though the long story has already been told…), boldness is not up for comparisons or for anyone else to define. Just let your natural love for God and God’s idea, always whole and at one, be your light :-)
Shining is what is truly bold! Thanks for all you give!August 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm #67602
I like the quote, Gordon :) And lovely thoughts from Kelsey and John — that’s such a great example. I was thinking — sometimes we can express boldness if different ways. Such as recognising our own self-worth and value, or our own capability as reflections of God, our freedom from oppressive thoughts…
Like Jesus spoke with authority (Matt 7:29, SH 18:10), I guess we too can be bold in what we say and do. I like to remind myself – “We have nothing to fear when Love is at the helm of thought, but everything to enjoy on earth and in heaven” (Mis. 113:25).
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