This was posted on Beliefnet.com at Everyday Spirituality blog.
When I first started reporting for the newspaper, the learning curve was steep. An enormous effort was needed on my part to interview productively then write an article that made sense.
Did I mention the enormous effort?
I would literally sweat when writing.
Writing is more effortless today. What makes something effortless?
How can we use this knowledge for healing?
When we are sick or afraid, we can feel as though we are being accused or faulted for not doing something right. The body may come across as a judge that passes a sentence of suffering on us. We might feel as though we are trapped in a prison of problems.
But Christ Jesus counseled us on how to stay free:
“As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.” (Luke 12:58, ESV)
The Greek for “effort” is ĕrgasia. Meaning to work, diligence, toil, occupation, gain.
It may not feel as though an effort is taken to get sick or get caught in a bad situation but it does, or did at some point, even if we didn’t realize it.
I remember fostering a child. A high maintenance child. He’d been passed from foster home to foster home, for multiple reasons, all of which I discovered were valid. No one blamed the child, we just needed a large community to raise him because we only had so much patience.
At one point his third grade teacher had reached her limit. Not exactly because of this one child but because when he hung around two other boys, all their behaviors automatically went downhill fast. The three of them together seemed to produce a fog that made it so they couldn’t see past their own arrogance and rudeness. It was as if their brains seized up and their brawn started competing for the “most mean” award.
The teacher and I came up with a plan. She moved the boys to one table, instead of dividing them as per typical strategy, and I came in each day for a week and sat there, in the little chair, at the little table. I smiled and nodded at everything the teacher said. She was still in full control of the class. I was just an observer, with a quick eye.
As soon as one of the boys started making fog, I’d look at them with my “be careful and think” eye. But, I also did something more important. I made the effort to reflect God’s thoughts, not the thoughts that came with these boys.
That week in third grade made a positive impact. The school year finished up and everyone was glad it ended without much ado.
I think of this effort I made in third grade. The effort was directed toward the foster child because he was under my care. But I made the diligent effort to affirm spiritual thoughts: God made you good. God, Love is your Father and Mother. God guides us with intelligence and wisdom.
It was an effort because I had fallen into a different thinking pattern.
When this child came to live with us, he came with paperwork and the behavioral information. I made the effort to accept the information about his attachment disorder and chaos creative ability, however I stopped there.
I didn’t make an effort to settle my thoughts with God in Mind.
I instead made the effort to think about the foster child losing his wits because I could see it almost every day. I made the effort to try to negotiate with him because he argued about everything.
This behavior seemed natural, expected, even effortless. But Christ Jesus showed it wasn’t natural.
Only goodness is in divine Science, or divine knowledge.
That week in third grade taught me a wonderful lesson. Everything takes effort, even changing our thinking. It also taught me not to be fooled by old thinking that claims to be valid, or effortless.
It takes effort to think bad, just as it takes effort to think good. Starting with God, Love, we are given a leg-up over the bad.