• James Shepherd

What Signs are We Listening To?


Some years ago, I was driving to a restaurant with a friend. I was visiting the area, so he was directing me, “Get into the left lane and then turn left.” As we waited for the light to turn green, I noticed a ‘U-Turn OK’ sign. The light turned green, and… I made a U-turn!


Wait a second – he had told me to turn left and I made a U-turn. What happened? I had let that sign influence me without realizing it! If I had been alert, I would have followed my friend’s directions, and we would have gone the correct way. Just because the sign said that a U-turn was OK didn’t mean that it was the best way for us to go. So, we went the wrong way. In this case, no harm done – it just took us a little longer to get to the restaurant. But that made me wonder, what else am I unthinkingly letting into thought?


There are all kinds of signs in our lives. There are the literal signs – like billboards. Do we just accept as true whatever they say without thinking? Do we just accept as true everything we hear or see from any of the other forms of media? Do we just accept as true the chatter, or gossip, we might hear from family, friends, and neighbors? And, most important, what about those thoughts that come to us – do we just accept everything that comes into our thinking as true or real?


OK. Let’s say we’ve agreed to be alert to what thoughts are coming to us. How do we know which ones are true? There’s a really cool idea that comes from Mary Baker Eddy that shows us how we can do this. She wrote, “God, Spirit, alone created all, and called it good.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 339:8-9). So, whatever comes into our thinking that is rooted in the fact that God, Spirit, creates only good – these are the ones that we can depend on to be true. These are the ideas we can let influence our thoughts and actions. And whatever thoughts say otherwise, these are the ones that are like those signs – suggesting a destination somewhere other than where we want to go.


As we are alert to what’s coming to thought, and as we test the thoughts coming to us to see which are true, there will be fewer detours to where we want to end up in our lives.

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