The Jane Perspective
The other day my sales job brought me in contact with a homeowner who needed to sit down and discuss pricing options with me as opposed to over the phone. When I arrived, she (aka Jane) was all smiles and really happy that I took the time out of my busy schedule to come to her home. As we talked she explained that the reason she had preferred the in-person discussion was that it was harder for her to hear someone on the phone. What I came to find out is that Jane had been diagnosed with a rare degenerative ear disease which was slowly causing her to lose hearing in both ears. As we talked business, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly happy and jovial she was – which is a great day for any salesman! As I wrapped up our discussion (and yes I closed the sale) I was curious about this diagnosis and the fact she seemed so, for lack of a better word, unaffected by it. Jane graciously proceeded to tell me how it all began. When she was 21 she noticed that it was getting harder to hear certain things. She was prescribed medications but they didn’t help. As time went on, Jane grew worse. Then to the families’ surprise, her younger sister also developed the same condition. Doctor after doctor tried their best but to no avail. Hearing aids didn’t help and hearing implants had no effect. Then came test after test after test, year after year after year. Nothing. Studies were conducted yielding no results. In time doctors concluded that she and her sister are two of five people in all of America with a degenerative disease that is destroying the connection the brain has to her inner ear. But it gets worse. Doctors told Jane that in time she and her sister would not only suffer a total loss of hearing but also the loss of their full ability to speak.
I sat there amazed. Not so much at the brevity of the doctors report but at the incredible light in her eyes and the happiness of her heart. Jane was full of life! She laughed at how well she mastered reading lips and how the last time her husband was upset with her, he mumbled something of which she knew exactly what he was saying. She shared stories of having to rent big closed-captioned goggles when in a movie theater and how often the batteries died because employees forget to charge them. Jane shared how well she had honed her skills of being observant and how we take for granted the little things we hear every day. With every story she laughed. I told Jane how impressed I was at the fact she was able to have so much joy in her heart and spirit. I imagined her next words to be something about her having a relationship with the Lord, but instead Jane replied,
“Shian, don’t get me wrong. I had my tough days. But what am I going to do? I can’t let this define me!”
Powerful isn’t it? Now if you’re like me, it’s at statements like these that our brains have this wonderful ability to instantly recall every petty thing we whined and complained about during the week. (Unfortunately my wife says I’m pretty good at whining when I want to!) It’s all too often that we let life and all the ‘stuff’ get the best of us and get into our head. What Jane learned to do is to not allow her present – what she feels, thinks, sees or even hears – affect her perspective. Jane refused to allow what happens shape or defined her. Instead she discovered who she really is resulting in an incredibly content, selfless, and joyful person to be around.
So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"
Israel let the wilderness of the desert get in their heads and define them. They had shoes that lasted longer than any pair of Nike’s ever could – but they still complained. They had fresh food fall from heaven every morning but were mad because it wasn’t bacon. They stripped the Egyptians of as much gold as they wanted and discovered their true freedom, but in the end they saw themselves as poor, bound and weak. They had water to drink every day but wanted a river. They let life define them so much that they became the stark opposite of Jane; incredibly discontent, selfish and miserable to be around. They pushed God so much they pissed Him off. That’s never good! They never got to rest nor did they ever experience what real rest was like – all because they refused to believe that God was for them. Their perspective was messed up.
In this journey of life ironically I’m reminded of a song from the band called, ‘Journey’, who sang the song, “Don’t stop believing.” Don’t stop believing in God. Don’t ever get so stuck focusing on the things of this life that you forget who you really are. The Bible says He’s constantly at work turning situations around for our favor. God so badly wants us in a place of rest but that’s not going to happen until we learn how to rest – and that starts with how we see. I call it The Jane Perspective. Letting go of what we don’t have to realize everything we do have.