A New Outlook on Life

0 comments Posted on April 1, 2017

I remember the morning well. It was a few months after I had moved to Santa Barbara, California, and the pastor I was working for invited me to give the sermon at my church. People were still getting to know me, so I decided to begin by sharing a typical scene from my life. Here’s what I said:

I got up this morning in my apartment, and I was all alone. I have no husband, so there are no kids. The owner recently put a “For Sale” sign in the front yard, so I probably won’t be able to stay in my place much longer. The rent will go up, and I’ll have to find something else. Dating at my age is not easy because everyone you meet has baggage. It’s just a matter of choosing what luggage you can live with. Whether it’s a divorce, shared kids, or the reasons that accompany prolonged singleness, it’s been impossible to find anyone I am interested in. I love it here, but working at a church is one of the hardest jobs a single person can have. You feel your singleness everywhere you go.

WhenChangingNothingI paused, and an awkward silence fell across the crowd. Noticing the pastor staring at me with a look of wonderment (not the good kind), I took a deep breath and started again:

I got up this morning and I had the whole place to myself. It was quiet, and I could do whatever I wanted. The “For Sale” sign is still in front of my place, so I’ll be able to live there another month. If it sells, there’s a chance I might find something even better. Dating is much easier at my age because you know yourself more. You are better equipped to make a good choice. You also have a lot more grace for the people you date because you realize that circumstances make life complicated. And my job? Working at a church is such a gift! What a blessing to have an extended family in the place where you work when there isn’t one at home.

I should have stopped my sermon right there because this was the only part of the talk people remembered. It’s been ten years since I gave that illustration and there are still some people who remember it. Somehow it struck a chord and may have even planted the seed that caused me to write this book.

Seventeenth-century philosopher Blaise Pascal accurately observed, “There is enough light for those who choose to see, and enough darkness for those who are of a contrary disposition.” He wrote these words to describe a journey toward faith, but they are also true about life. Where we choose to focus makes all the difference in what we see.

I should pause here and tell you that this is not a book about putting on “rose-colored glasses” in your circumstances. It’s about reframing what you see. You will be introduced to four different lenses that will open up a multidimensional view of your life.

The big view lens will help you view your life from a broader perspective. The present view lens will help you see what you may be missing right now. The rear-view lens will give you insight about the way you are wired. And the higher view lens will reveal more of what God wants you to see. Looking through these lenses, you will discover some different perspectives that could open up some uncharted vistas of your life.

My hope is that through these lenses you will learn to embrace your life—the good, the bad, the hard, and the spectacular. And with the ability to reframe your life and see all that it already is, you may start to live it differently. That’s when changing nothing can change everything.

Adapted from When Changing Nothing Changes Everything by Laurie Polich Short. Copyright (c) 2017 by Laurie Polich Short. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA. www.ivpress.com

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