Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Giving, and Being Willing to Receive ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Giving, and Being Willing to Receive ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

Not long after I graduated from college, marriage brought me to a part of the country I hadn't lived in before. The first year there, I enjoyed the opportunity to explore new career directions, and cobbled together several part-time jobs in different areas.

As it came time to move into something more full time, I found myself with several options, and no clear sense of how to choose. A wise friend and mentor gave me some pretty strong guidance - Go where you can give the most.

This was in stark contrast to the advice I was hearing from friends and former classmates, and even my family, about how to position myself for success. Yet it struck a chord with me and enabled me to identify the job that would provide just the right next step. I was, in fact, able to give a great deal through that job, and it also provided my young family and me with great blessings.

Those words have guided many decisions since that time, and in turn I've given them to others facing similar choices, with great results.

Several years later, I found myself learning a different lesson. My commitment to "giving" had borne great fruit - perhaps too much! I felt overwhelmed with several big projects and commitments, reeling under the weight of it all.

I was working with a group to start a nonprofit, engaged in a major research and writing project, raising young children, and conducting services at my church. I faced challenges in each of these areas, and in particular I was in the middle of a deep conflict in my church that was not only absorbing a lot of my time and thought, but seemed as if it was spiraling downward and bringing us all with it.

My prayer through the whole process had been to be where I could give the most. But I now wondered if all the giving would end up depleting me to the point of not being able to give anymore. I knew that wasn't God's intention, and so my prayer shifted to asking Him to show me how to give.

This time I didn't have a wise friend give me the answer, but it came as clearly as if it had been from a friend: "Perhaps what you need is to be willing to receive. …

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