It’s All About Perspective…
I think I was in my teens when I first saw this picture. Is it a beautiful young woman? OR Is it a big nosed old gal? It totally depends upon your perspective. Perspective is everything. Two people can go through the exact same situation and see the situation completely different. There is a story about sisters who were made to clean out the barn. Now neither one of them had a pony, but both wanted one desperately. Their father told them they would each get a horse when they could prove they were responsible enough to care for the animal. The one sister, grumbling, took the stall that had the least amount of manure to shovel. She grunted and groaned with every shovel full. The other sister, looked in all the stalls and found the one with literally a mountain of poop. With a smile on her face she began to shovel, shovel, shovel. Her grumpy sister asked her how she could be so “happy” cleaning out such an awful mess. The little girl retorted, “Sis, don’t you get it! With this much poop, there has to be a pony in here somewhere!” Perspective… all about perspective.
My growing up was tough. I am not putting my parents down, but they had severe problems that of course affected us kids. At an early age I learned how to survive the almost daily beatings from my father by literally day dreaming myself else wheres. I also developed certain defense mechanisms; things like compulsive lying; stealing food; compulsive eating; self debasing humor; people pleasing and more. These things later turned into an extremely violent, drug laden, out of control lifestyle. From my PERSPECTIVE, I wasn’t going to let anyone behind my walls; I was not only going to NOT forgive those who hurt me, but I was going to make them pay; and I figured I would either end up dead or in prison. After all, I was nothing but a fat, stupid, you name it. I had even heard my school counselor tell my mom that I was not smart enough to ever think of going to college and that she should try to get me trained up in some menial profession.
Thanks to a praying Aunt, I came to know the Lord. I would like to say my PERSPECTIVE changed completely, but it didn’t. I still felt “less than”; that I was dumb; that no “decent” person would want anything to do with me. My perspective still lined up with my past – not with who Jesus said I was. God put some incredible people in my life. He gave me an adopted mom and dad. They began to counter the lies I had believed with God’s truth. My perspective began to change. I began to see that I was different than who I thought I was. My adopted dad wanted me to go to college. “No, Dad! I am not smart enough!” He wouldn’t have it. “Joanie, you are going to go to school. Get your transcripts and sign up.” I decided to go get them from my old high school in person. I wanted them to see that I had changed. Sure enough, some of the teachers and my old counselor still remembered me. (I had had a permanent seat in the office – when I wasn’t ditching.) They pulled my old records. I saw some numbers on a sheet of paper and asked what they meant. They told me that those represented my IQ. My IQ? I thought my IQ was, at best, room temperature. My score was not only above average, it was at the genius level. Are you kidding me? It had to be a mistake! I had them checked again. WOW! Then why didn’t I do anything in school? PERSPECTIVE!!! I thought I was a screw-up, a failure; I thought I was dumb; I thought I was an angry, no good for nothing… and I lived that out!
I went to college. I went to college with a different PERSPECTIVE. Of course I could pass my courses, after all, I am NOT dumb! I graduated with a tri-fold bachelors with straight As! It was all with the help of the Lord; with the help of someone who believed in me; and with the change of my perspective.
I want to leave all of us with a few questions, myself included: “Is my perspective on life correct?” “Is there any lie I am still believing?” “Do my perspectives in life line up with who and what God says I am?” You see, God has a plan for us… he wants to bless us. The thing that may be keeping us from receiving all God wants to bless us with, and from being all that God wants us to be might simply be our perspective.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.