Struck by Russ Ramsey, Free for CAPC Members
Death’s party-crashing ways are detailed in a new book by Russ Ramsey, titled Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death.
I often dream about the next best thing to come in my life. What’s the next project I’m going to work on? Where’s my next job going to be? Who’s my next relationship going to be with? I forget to appreciate the here and now, to spend time in the present. I forget the importance of contentment and joy.
Laurie Polich Short has insight on this in her book from InterVarsity Press titled When Changing Nothing Changes Everything: The Power of Reframing Your Life (currently available free for CAPC Members). She begins by describing a sermon illustration she gave at her church:
“I got up this morning in my apartment, and I was all alone. I have no husband, so there are no kids. The owner recently put a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard, so I probably won’t be able to stay in my place much longer. The rent will go up, and I’ll have to find something else. Dating at my age is not easy, because everyone you meet has baggage. It’s just a matter of choosing what luggage you can live with. Whether it’s a divorce, shared kids, or the reasons that accompany prolonged singleness, it’s been impossible to find anyone I am interested in. I love it here, but working at a church is one of the hardest jobs a single person can have. You feel your singleness everywhere you go.”Laurie Polich Short gives us insight into living life fully, whatever our circumstances.
Then she takes a deep breath and starts again:
“I got up this morning and I had the whole place to myself. It was quiet, and I could do whatever I wanted. The ‘For Sale’ sign is still in front of my place, so I’ll be able to live there another month. If it sells, there’s a chance I might find something even better. Dating is much easier at my age because you know yourself more. You are better equipped to make a good choice. You also have a lot more grace for the people you date because you realize that circumstances make life complicated. And my job? Working at a church is such a gift! What a blessing to have an extended family in the place where you work when there isn’t one at home.”
Two very different attitudes toward the same circumstances show just how important our perspective in life matters to us and to those around us, and demonstrates exactly what this book is about. Short uses impactful stories to show how the lens we view the world changes our perspective of it, and how so often the allure is in the wanting and not in the thing we want.
“You only have to experience getting something you want—and living with it for a while—to discover it’s never as good as you thought it would be,” she writes. “Keeping that truth in front of you saves you from pursuing something that takes you somewhere you don’t want to be.”
Why is so contentment so difficult? How do we focus on a broader perspective, see what we are missing and what God wants us to see? Short gives us insight into living life fully, whatever our circumstances. She helps us to live fully by addressing four lenses that change our perspective: The Big Picture, The Present View, The Rear View, and The Higher View. Each section challenges readers to look for the good in life that is present but overlooked. It’s a challenge that inspires me not just to see my life differently, but to live it differently. Nothing really changes—except my perspective. But in changing my perspective, everything is truly different.
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