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A fresh start out of college

Graduating from college, and facing the very real questions about work and making financial ends meet, can be daunting. A recent National Public Radio report I heard paints a sobering picture of meeting postcollege expenses.

Having graduated from college a few years ago, I’ve come to see that prosperity is a built-in feature of each of us as children of God. Success isn’t something we have to chase; it is constant and abundantly proved through God’s care for each one of us.

I love the guidance God gave Joshua when he was tasked with the job of leading the people of Israel after Moses’ death. The Bible records God’s message in this way: “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Josh. 1:7, New International Version).

Having courage is always hard when you don’t know how things are going to play out, but I’ve found that when I’m committed to God, divine Love, God will provide. Though we might like to know that we will be forever financially stable – from now through retirement – it has to be more than paychecks, mutual funds, and 401(K) plans that sustain us.

Regardless of the size of my paycheck, I find value in giving thanks for daily blessings. We’re never doing it alone. By partnering with God, we’re never far from inspiration, resourcefulness, and a very broad view of God’s capacity. Success and prosperity aren’t external factors that we may or may not achieve. Our pure spiritual nature mandates that each one of us is blessed and provided for day by day – free to use the gifts that God gives.

It’s not so much our ability to calculate, plan, or analyze that will sustain us or allow us to prosper; it’s our trust in God – and how responsive we are to God’s plan.

This past winter I had an opportunity for work-related travel. I am self-employed, and this trip wasn’t in my budget. Though it seemed illogical from a standpoint of fiscal responsibility, I had a spiritual intuition that I should go on the trip.

I went, and was sweetly surprised that God did provide in unexpected ways. My flight was overbooked, so I received a travel voucher and adjusted my plans to take a bus to my final destination. The schedule on the trip allowed me to continue with my normal work. Then a friend, whom I’d helped, picked up some of my travel costs as an expression of gratitude. Contacts that I made on that trip continue to be a part of my ongoing work. Even more important, I felt refreshed and renewed, ready to continue to trust God’s provision when I couldn’t see the whole picture.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, “Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 307).

Sometimes, like Joshua, it seems we can barely take the first step or turn our thoughts to God. It feels as if we have to live small, hedge our bets, and be conservative. By no means am I advocating being wasteful. But I’m learning that God adores and celebrates us, and wants us not just to survive but to thrive and prosper. It is a treasure to do the work that I love and to know that it’s more than money that enables me to do that.

Originally published in The Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2011.

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