“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)
Who would’ve ever thought the Lord would use a Snoopy bobblehead to teach me a thing or two? Snoopy has now been on “my cover” twice in a row. It’s safe to say I did not see that one coming!
At the beginning of each year, a specific word in tandem with just the right verse becomes my guidepost of sorts to help guide me through the coming year. Last year my word was “grateful.”
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
Time marches on, as they say, so this brings us to my word for 2022, of course. Typically it comes to my prayerful attention through various means and ways sometime in the first week or two of the new year. This time, however, in a first, it surprisingly appeared right before 2021 was officially over. My 2022 word? Yes, you’ve no doubt guessed it already from the title of today’s post: “Perspective.” And not just any kind of perspective, but godly perspective.
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 (NKJV)
“The greatest tragedy for any human being is to go through their entire lives believing the only perspective that matters is their own.” Doug Baldwin
“When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.” A. W. Tozer
It’s fair to say this is an area of my life in need of attention as the Lord wasted no time providing me with a teaching moment in the early goings of 2022.
On the very first Monday of this new year, I had no sooner settled down at my desk upstairs to begin my work than my phone started ringing. Looking down, I saw my wife’s name on caller ID. I had just finished lunch not 5 minutes earlier with her, mind you. “What in the world?” I thought to myself, already feeling a bit of frustration swelling up in me since we had just spent an hour or so together. Her voice sounded more urgent than usual when I picked up the call, though, exclaiming, “Come here! Now! I need to tell you something!”
As I walked a bit begrudgingly down the stairs, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was that was so important for her to tell me now, yet wasn’t important enough during our lunch to tell me about it then. “Doesn’t she know I have work to do?” I thought to myself with a tinge of self-proclaimed importance iced with a bit of dismissiveness as to the likelihood that whatever she has to say would turn out to be significant enough to justify the interruption. Yes, embarrassingly, I know this is not a good look for me.
Arriving in the living room, she pointed to the opposite end of the couch with an outstretched finger. “Sit!” she commanded. As I sat down, my mind began to race. “Oh boy,” I mused, “This doesn’t sound good. What have I done?”
Before I could even speak, she put her finger to her mouth and whispered, “Shhhhhh…listen! Don’t say a word. What do you hear?” “OK,” I thought to myself, “I’ll play along, although I have no idea whatsoever where this is going.” And then, within the quietness, a faint but steady and distinct “tap…tap…tap” sound came to my ears. “Do you hear it?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied. “It’s that tap…tap…tap sound…right?” Glancing in the direction of the sound, I immediately recognized its source. “It’s coming from bobblehead Snoopy as his head is going up and down,” I stated matter of factly. And yes, at this point, you’d be right thinking my level of excitement was nonexistent compared to that of my wife’s, which seemed to be building by the minute.
Undaunted by my lack of enthusiasm, she excitedly replied, “Yes! But I didn’t know that at first. I thought it was the leaky kitchen faucet dripping again.” She then went on to explain that she had just gotten all comfy on the couch with a blanket and a magazine for some much-needed quiet time winding down from her very early morning job when she became increasingly aware of the irritating sound. She tried her best to ignore it, but that only made it louder in her mind.
Unable to disregard the annoying sound any longer, she got up from the couch in somewhat of a frustrated huff and walked the few steps into the kitchen to turn off the faucet. Only then did she discover the real reason for the noise was bobblehead Snoopy. “And then something fantastic happened,” she exclaimed. “I wasn’t annoyed anymore. No, I felt just the opposite…I felt…soothed. After all, you know how Snoopy’s constantly bobbing head always manages to brighten our mood, ” she announced as I nodded my head in agreement. Then before I could even speak, she quickly added with a starry twinkle in her eyes and an octave higher voice, “My PERSPECTIVE changed once I realized it was Snoopy and not the faucet making that sound! Isn’t that crazy amazing?!?!”
Suddenly, her reason for interrupting my work became crystal clear. And just like that, I was no longer annoyed at having my work disturbed. Instead, a soothing wave of encouragement and delight washed over me. You see, like my wife, my perspective of the circumstances changed for the better, too.
“Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back and get a little bit of a different perspective and re-evaluate things.” Austin Aries
And so, it would seem we’ve now reached the logical end of this post. Surprisingly, however, that is not the case. You see, this story is like a quilt the Lord is weaving, and as it turns out, the quilt is incomplete. A vital part is missing that I haven’t previously considered until now. What’s the missing piece? “Prosperity,” which is my wife’s word for 2022.
As I sit here writing, I must confess that I am experiencing an abundance of prosperity in my life at this time. How so? As a husband, my heart is joyful because of my wife’s unbridled excitement to share her experience with my word for 2022. As a writer, I can also tell you that telling stories like this always makes my heart smile, even dance. And, last but certainly not least, as a child of God, I’m overwhelmed by His desire, kindness, and patience to teach me a still better way, His way. In short, I feel incredibly blessed in terms of prosperity right now.
Upon reading that last observation, the world will likely say, “Hey! What you’re describing is not prosperity because there’s no mention of wealth!” To that, I reply, “But, I am wealthy in other ways that don’t involve money. Can’t you see that? Like so many other things in this life, grasping the true meaning of prosperity requires the proper perspective. Where then can such truth be found? There are our ways and viewpoints, but then there is the Lord’s perspective shining gloriously above all else.”
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
“Help us to accept our grief as pain that will empower us to live; our uncertainty as a difficult opportunity to discover unknown dreams and directions; our illnesses as a strong light which helps us see at last our health; our loneliness as the most authentic beginning of human love and solidarity. Help us, not to be Pollyanna pieties but sincere seekers for wholeness of life. Help us to open the door of the morning and say: what happens, let all of it be a blessing. Amen.” (Singer of Seasons, Beverly Sawyer)
You see, my friend, it’s all a matter of perspective regarding how we perceive our circumstances and lives. There are our limited, selfish, earthbound ways and viewpoints, and then there are those of the Lord’s that gloriously know no bounds.
“Never interpret God’s love by your circumstances, but always interpret your circumstances by His love.” C.H. Mackintosh
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (ESV)
Blessings by Laura Story from the album “Blessings.”