One of my favorite lines from My Fair Lady—“If you can’t appreciate what you’ve got, then you should get what you can appreciate!” Professor Higgins says this to Eliza when she tells him that he is rude to her and she wants him to treat her better. It always sounded so logical to me. If you don’t like your smartphone, car, house…get a new one that you will like. If you hate your job then get a new one you will like. If the love of your life becomes disagreeable then get a new one. That’s how we do things. But that isn’t God’s perspective.
I admitted a couple of years ago that I am 60 pounds overweight and made the decision to lose it while I still could and before the extra weight did any real damage to my health. Let me stop here and ask you a question. Five birds are sitting on a fence. One of them decides to fly away. How many birds are left? If you said four you are wrong. There are still five. Deciding to fly away and actually flying away are two entirely different things. I made the decision two years ago, but I didn’t work at losing the weight until two months ago. I didn’t start this process hopeful at all. I know that women lose weight at a slower rate than men. I’ve seen countless people go on diets, lose the weight, hated the lifestyle of diet and exercise and gain it all back plus more. I was afraid of failing and even more afraid that I was going to have to give up some things I absolutely didn’t want to give up—pizza or chocolate for example. Thinking you would probably fail at something still allows for the illusion of possibility and is preferable to knowing by experience that you failed.
Last week, I lamented to a friend about how slowly the process was going. I mentioned that even though the scale proves my new lifestyle is producing positive results, when I look in the mirror, I can’t see any difference and that was disparaging. My friend’s answer: Get a new mirror! The weight loss is noticeable. I laughed. And a first it sounds like something that Professor Higgins might say. I thanked my friend and promised to enjoy the change I could see (smaller numbers on the scale) until my mirror began reflecting the changes already happening in my life. There it is—perspective! I broke through the frustration and disappointment to grab hold of joy rather than succumb to temporary frustration by running around looking for a warped mirror that might reflect what I can’t see right now.
Last night I had a strange dream. I dreamed that a royal couple was throwing strings of beads, thin plain necklaces, and other small trinkets into the crowd of people around me—enough for everyone to walk away with a dozen items each. We were herded into a jewelry shop where we handed over our booty to be bagged and returned or we could turn in what we were given for one item in the glass displays. Many opted for the jewelry shop gems that looked like the crowned jewels and had the large price tags to match. Now the dream switched scenes where the royal couple was sitting on their patio. A third person said to them that they looked sad. They replied that they were. They had tried to give away millions of dollars’ worth of jewels to the crowd, but so many of them turned in the priceless pieces to the jewelers for the imitation junk that sparkled in glass cases. It made me wonder when I woke up how often I threw away God’s priceless gifts of ordinary-looking miracles for the sparkling gleam of passing fancies. It’s all about perspective. If I could see what I have from God’s perspective, how rich and overjoyed I would be.
Here’s the cool thing—I can have God’s perspective. All I have to do is ask and the Holy Spirit who is with me always will make God’s perspective known to me. However, with a new perspective might just come the need to change, to let go of some things I hold dear now to hold onto those things that are priceless in God’s eyes. Worth it—even if I can’t see it right now!