There’s a well-known story about two shoe salesmen who both went to the same region to look for new opportunities. The first salesman was disappointed to he discover that everyone in the region was shoeless. He called his wife and told her, “I’m coming home. No one here wears shoes.”
The second salesman arrived a short time later and was immediately excited. He called his wife and told her, “Honey, everybody here needs shoes.”
Same circumstances, but two very different outlooks.
The Apostle Paul had a lot to say about adjusting our perspective by learning to see through God’s eyes. From prison – a dungeon, really – he wrote to the church at Philippi and told them he had learned to be content in all things by trusting in Christ (Philippians 4:11-13). He also encouraged them to keep their hearts and minds focused on the things of God (Philippians 4:8).
Laurie Polich Short teaches people how to take Paul’s message to heart. She tells her audience of her own version of the shoe salesman story:
“I got up this morning, and I was all alone. I have no husband. There are no kids. There’s a ‘For Sale’ sign in front of my house, so I might not be able to stay in my place much longer. Dating at my age is tough because everybody has baggage, so it’s a matter of choosing what kind of luggage I can deal with. And working at a church can be hard because you see families and children everywhere around you when you have none at home.”
She then stops for a few moments and says:
“I got up this morning, and I had the place all to myself. It was quiet, and I could do whatever I wanted. The ‘For Sale” sign is still there, so I have a place to stay for at least another month. If it sells, maybe I’ll find something even better. Dating at my age is so much easier because you know yourself more, and you have a lot more grace for people because you recognize that life is complicated. And working at a church is God’s gift because it’s nice to have a family where you work when you don’t have one at home.”
Laurie teaches what she describes as “four lenses” that sharpen our vision of God and life:
- Big view. Pulling back and seeing more of what’s happening around you.
- Present view. Living in the now where God eternally exists.
- Rear view. Reflecting back on how God has interacted with you in life.
- Higher view. Seeing your life as God’s and discovering what He wants to do with it.
We’re talking with Laurie about how God helps us have a healthy perspective even when we’re in the midst of difficult circumstances. Laurie Polich Short is author of the book When Changing Nothing Changes Everything: The Power of Reframing Your Life. She serves as associate pastor at Oceanhills Covenant Church in Santa Barbara, CA.