Do you remember Miss Minnie Pearl? I think my first recollection of her was back in the radio days of listening to the Grand Ole Opry but if that’s not it, I remember her from the television program, Hee Haw. She wore plain house dresses, sensible tie-up shoes, and a straw hat with its price tag hanging off to one side. She was an audacious comedian who could turn an ordinary situation into side-splitting laughter.
I remember Miss Minnie standing next to someone the audience couldn’t see as she described a compliment she had been given. “He said I look like a fresh breath of spring.” Then quietly to herself so the audience can hear, Minnie admits, “What he really said was I look like the end of a long, hard winter.” See what I mean?
That story has stuck with me for at least 30 years. I’ve never forgotten it because while it was meant to be funny, and it was, there is also a solid truth contained in it. Things are not always as they seem.
We often say one thing but it’s interpreted incorrectly. What we perceive is not what was intended. There are few black and white circumstances, but gray? It’s everywhere. We make mistakes and feel sad.
Have you heard of David? You know, shepherd boy, giant killer, turned king. Yeh, that guy. In Psalm 42 we meet downhearted David. In other Psalms, he was full of joy and in love with life. Sound familiar?
It’s our life path – without technology. Up and down, spiraling like a roller coaster. This verse, about midway through that chapter in Psalms was like David stopped and took a breath from is sadness. Psalm 42:8 “By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.”
Without having a face to face talk with David, I’m sure he spent a lot of time talking to God about his perception of things in his life. He didn’t have TV or the Internet to influence his opinion. He couldn’t Google himself to see where he ranked in the popularity polls. He didn’t own a smartphone with instant access to friends and enemies. Still, he had perception.
I think David prayed a lot for God to give him a right attitude, proper perspective and for wisdom to be in his mind and heart. We can pray for all of that too. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Proverbs 2:11 offers us hope for becoming wise in our perceptions. “Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you.”
Let’s decide in advance to carefully listen to more than words. Let’s listen for the intended message so we have the correct perspective of what is being said.