How can I experience a satisfying life?

“I can’t get no, satisfaction!” the Rolling Stones famously sung. They were articulating a feeling we have probably all felt at some time. So how do we find true, lasting satisfaction in our constantly changing world? In this audio program I respond to a variety of questions from listeners about how to experience a satisfying life.

“I can’t get no, satisfaction!” the Rolling Stones famously sung. They were articulating a feeling we have probably all felt at some time. So how do we find true, lasting satisfaction in our constantly changing world? In this audio program I respond to a variety of questions from listeners about how to experience a satisfying life.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

 

Pastor comfort at Christmas and all year long

An audio program where I share some thoughts about experiencing the type of comfort and joy that lasts the whole year through and some of the gifts I have received from the Christian Science pastor.

An audio program where I share some thoughts about experiencing the type of comfort and joy that lasts the whole year through and some of the gifts I have received from the Christian Science pastor.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

 

Stop – in the name of love

This is a published article about breaking through the barriers of hurry, self centeredness and fear enough to stop and help someone in need on the street. You can listen to it or read it.

stop-640x250photo by D Sharon Pruitt

This is a published article about breaking through the barriers of hurry, self centeredness and fear enough to stop and help someone in need on the street.  You can listen to it or read it.

http://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/26xfr9q7od8?s=e

 

 

Giving

If you’re like me, once you realize the good that comes from giving to others, you may start to wonder if it is somehow selfish to just keep giving all the time, because now you know how much it adds to your own life! The conclusion I’ve come to is that we are wired to give.

If you’re like me, once you realize the good that comes from giving to others, you may start to wonder if it is somehow selfish to just keep giving all the time, because now you know how much it adds to your own life! The conclusion I’ve come to is that we are wired to give. That is how God created us. I’ve learned through the study of Christian Science that God, our Father and Mother, is the great Giver and that we are made in His/Her image and likeness. That is why it feels so good to give, and when we are tempted to go against that divine impulse, or not embrace it, we don’t feel quite right; we are never quite satisfied.

My quest to better understand the spiritual nature of giving began after I saw how much good God was pouring on me. By the time I was 18 years old, I seemed to have everything I could possibly want in my life: a comfortable home, a steady income and money in the bank, good friendships, and a loving family. These words of Jesus became my motto in high school: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). But while I was always eager to help people by sharing the spiritual inspiration I was getting as a student of Christian Science, from my study of the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s writings based on the Bible, life was pretty much “all about me”—I was focused mainly on things I felt I wanted to accomplish. At a certain point, I felt I had so much, but still wasn’t completely satisfied.

Then, when I was 19, an idea came to me to leave it all for a year. I knew that feeling God’s presence, and seeing His work in my life, were the most satisfying things I had experienced, and I wanted to understand God better. I took off on my motorcycle with little money and no plans, and to make a long story short, all my needs were undantly and divinely supplied. It was an amazing trip!

By the time this trip was over, things really began to change as to how I wanted to live my life. I realized that it was kind of empty just living for myself, and I really wanted to start being more unselfish and giving more to others. I had received so much, and I felt I was pretty clear about the source of unending plenty. I had been given the gift of feeling God with me, no matter what—feeling that I was cared for and loved by a Love I could depend on, the ultimate Friend, a loving Father-Mother God, an ever-present help. And I really wanted to share that understanding with others. What Jesus said to his followers rang especially true for me at this point: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8, New King James Version).

After returning home I dived into more of a life dedicated to serving others, and I felt so much more fulfilled and satisfied. As I prayed along the way, listening to God as to what I should be doing, I was led to do many things, including working with troubled teens, starting a youth group, and going back to the Christian Science church I grew up in to contribute to the community through its activities. I also took Primary class instruction, which teaches the specifics about following in Jesus’s footsteps and healing others, and soon after that started a public Christian Science practice in a downtown office.

I’d learned that giving unselfishly to others energizes us because it opens our thinking to inspiration and joy from our heavenly Father. This is far more enriching than a worldly approach of living for ourselves. It’s a universal truth we all know something about: We feel better when we have helped someone else because that is when we feel God with us.

A few years after my trip, I had an experience that really brought the lesson of giving home to me in a way I have never forgotten.

For a time, in addition to my healing work, I had a paint contracting business. One winter when the economy was slow, I heard all the other contractors talking about how business was going to be bad, especially during the winter months. They were really worried about it, but I wasn’t buying this reasoning because I had clearly seen that the human economy was not the determining factor in our experience. I was confident that in fact, God is constantly supplying us with everything we need, always. My experience so far had taught me there was a divine economy of constant abundance that manifested itself in the human experience in dependable ways. I knew that God’s universal laws were in operation, as effective today as in Bible times in meetings everybody’s needs. I took a couple of months off from painting that winter to focus on my healing practice. And when I went back to the painting business afterward, I had no work.

So I prayed. As I was listening for what God was telling me, one word came very clearly to thought: Give. At first I questioned this message, thinking that I didn’t really have much to give—in fact, I needed to get money to pay the bills! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had my time and love and talents to give. And as I prayed, I knew that if I was obedient to God’s direction in giving to others, my own needs would be taken care of. In other words, if I sought the kingdom of God first, all the things I needed would be “added unto” me, just as Jesus promised.

I remembered a man living in a nursing home near my house who could use some visits, someone to help uplift his day. So I started visiting him. I also started doing more with my church, like teaching Sunday School and going to the city jail to hold church services and visit with inmates to talk with them and share inspiration from the Bible, Science and Health, and my own life experience.

I spent a couple of weeks following this divine impulse to focus on giving to others. And soon afterward, I found that my financial needs were met as I started getting calls for paint jobs again. As I continued approaching every job with the idea of “giving” uppermost in my mind, I saw how this attitude brought an additional dimension to my work and life. I continued for over 20 years counseling with inmates in various prisons and institutions, praying with and for them, and seeing much healing and regeneration in their lives and in my own. And from that day of renewed focus to this day, a few decades later, I have never been without plenty of employment.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to more thoughts on GIVING shared during a radio broadcast

Another message that Jesus preached proved central to my life: “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38, New Living Translation). Yes, this idea has definitely helped me with employment issues, but it is really essential in all aspects of life, to maintain a fuller, happier experience.

Following Jesus’ instruction about giving will fully bless us and transform our lives, by bringing a selfless spiritual perspective to every aspect of our experience. In a very real sense, giving is what living is all about—a focus on helping others and cherishing their spiritual wholeness helps us feel closer to God, the source of all good. Our humble following of Jesus’ precept to give takes our thought away from ourselves, enabling us to be receptive to the divine direction that lifts us to new heights of goodness, peace, and fulfillment.

This humble attitude enriches all aspects of our lives: for example, when I got married, I saw how approaching the relationship with the idea of giving, rather than holding on to expectations of what I was going to get out of it, made for a happier and more enduring relationship. My church involvement over the years has taught me that services and church meetings are much more valuable when I try to bless, through my prayers and love of others, than when I go to get inspiration or have my needs met.

Jesus is an amazing example for us all. His life consisted of literally giving his all for others. And through his example of ultimate selflessness, he was showing us how to live abundant and happy lives. As he said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The understanding that this is what living is all about has brought me to a place where I can happily strive to be a true follower of Christ Jesus. And I feel I understand to some degree what Mrs. Eddy meant when she wrote of “that joy which finds one’s own in another’s good” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 127).

What if everyone realized the joy, abundance, and satisfaction that come from a selfless spiritual focus? Doesn’t that make you want to explore the spiritual possibilities today?

Originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel, February 14, 2011.