Thursday, October 06, 2005


Changing Channels

By Janice Price

Without taking a moment to don my reading glasses, I pressed the buttons to change the television channel. I pressed the buttons again and again. Frustrated, I shifted in the chair so I was leaning closer to the TV set, squinted at the small numbers and pressed them yet again.

Then, realizing the problem – and relieved there were no witnesses – I laid the cordless phone down on the desk and picked up the TV remote. I pressed the buttons and this time the channel changed.

I used to laugh at the stories of the absent-minded person who put the milk in the bureau drawer and the wristwatch in the refrigerator, or who arrived at the store with the credit card bill after mailing the credit card company the shopping list.

Only yesterday I was reminded that in order to cash a check, I should write the same amount in numbers as I do in longhand. The teller kindly told me, “Don’t feel bad about it. We see a lot of this.” She did not make me feel any the less embarrassed, but she did let me know I am not alone in being absent-minded, in too great a hurry, error-prone, or pre-senile.

Pride often keeps us from admitting to others that we make mistakes, especially whoppers, although we seldom mind telling stories on others’ mistakes. Comics love to tell stories on anyone, even themselves, and the more outlandish the greater the response from the audience. But writers – Christian writers, in particular – often write about their own experiences, including their own mistakes.

We do this to encourage others. After all, we goof big time and survive. Bloopers are a part of life, even stupid or klutzy ones, and they are not the end of the world. Okay, so you were half-asleep when you dressed this morning and attended a meeting wearing a purple polka dot blouse with yellow striped pants. There are worse things that could happen than to be laughed at by the self-appointed office fashion police.

We also tell stories on ourselves to show that when God is an integral part of our lives, we are constantly learning, even in everyday situations. For the most part, we exist in the mundane, only occasionally rising to the mountaintop. God teaches me through my pets, daily tasks, friendships, health problems, setbacks, victories – basically, through any situation that arises. I have to admit I’m not always paying attention or quick on the uptake, but eventually I catch on to what God is trying to teach me. Then, I write about it and share the lesson with others.

The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think. Edwin Schlossberg.

Often I think no one bothers to read the stories. Most people do not take a moment to email a comment on a story, but then someone will write about what a specific story “said” to that particular person, and I will be amazed at how God has used a story to help, encourage, convict, or teach someone something.

I remember hearing something to the effect that a minister gives more than one sermon at a time: the one he thinks he is giving and the one the congregation hears. Yes, one sermon can “speak” one thing to the minister giving it and something else to each of the listeners. The same appears to be true of the written word. One story can make one person cry, another angry, another contemplative, and another encouraged.

The best example of skillful writing that makes people think is the Bible. People love it, hate it, eagerly devour it, or destroy it. They are outraged or inspired by it. It is often misunderstood, misquoted, and misapplied, but it is enduring.

The Word of God is living, strengthening, and enlightening. If I try to change television channels with a cordless telephone instead of the remote, I have an embarrassing moment and a funny story. But if I want to know God intimately, I can not substitute any or all of the books on religion for Scripture. Other books can be helpful, but there is only one Holy Bible.

© 2005 Janice Price


Jimmy said...

What a great and encouraging post, Jan. Of course, before I could read it, I had to go find the paper where I write down my passwords, userids, alarm codes, etc. Naturally, I had no clue where it was, either. But, seriously, I agree totally with what you say...for all the posts where you get no comments, then comes that one that makes you realize that all your transparencies and honesty has made a difference. I know your writings have always given me a lift when I needed it most, even though I don't always comment back.
Thanks for your work,

Vicki said...

Dear Jan,
YOu have a way with words that makes me think, and always appreciate truth. Don't stop writing. Your insights are nuggets of gold.

love you,

BHGA said...

Your writings have touched me...I am blessed by the bloggers and new friends God has had stop by my site in the past few weeks...I know He is doing a good work as we reach out to each other..encourage and lift one another up in prayer....and so I am once again thankful He brought me another one of His greats...I thank Him for you.

Blessings to you

Paul said...

Howdy Jan,

Gee, I thought I was the only one that does things like that. The one thing that I do most often is when I get ready to go out, I seem to grab my computer glasses instead of my regular glasses and don't realize it until I am halfway where I am going and can't figure out why things are so blurry.

Thanks my friend for sharing another awesome post. I can always identify with the things that you write.

Be blessed my friend. You are daily in my prayers. Sorry I have not been over in a week or so, with family here, things were kind of hectic but now things are back to normal.

Your friend and fellow-scribe,


John Cowart said...

Hi Jan,
Just visiting by way of Vicki's Window site. She mentions that you are going through a rough patch and she requests prayers for you. I'll add a feeble one to all the others her site generates.

Peaceful Selah said...

Hi Jan! This is a wonderful post! I found your site through Vicki...and boy am I glad I clicked on that link!

The Lord is impressing me to leave the words "cheerful giver." I am not sure what this refers to, Jan, but I feel you either know or it will soon be revealed.

~2 Corinthians 9:12

Many Blessings!

Vicki said...

Dear Jan,

I couldn't sleep, so I'm talking to the Shepherd:-)

He sends His love!