The premise of a movie released a number of years ago intrigues me. One of the main characters is in an accident and looses her short term memory. From that point on, she can remember everything that happened before the accident, but nothing that happens after. She wakes up every morning believing this day to be the same date her accident occurred. The character is stuck on a day from her past and can’t move on.
Obviously, this causes problems because life does move on; things change, people change, circumstances change. At the beginning of the movie her family works hard to make sure everything in her world remains undisturbed, but then she meets a guy and they fall in love. He pursues her by interrupting the cycle of sameness she is unknowingly caught up in.
It would be a perfect love story, except for the problem that every night as she sleeps, he is erased from her memory. She forgets she has met him. She forgets that he loves her. She forgets the things he has done to make her fall in love with him all over again, day, after day, after day.
You can see how this would be disruptive to their love story. He is ready for her to move on, so he changes the status quo. He makes her a movie and instructs her to watch it every morning before she starts her day. He knows that the night erases what she knows to be true of him, so he has her starting her days with reminders of who he is and why he is important to her. Every day she sees her highlight reel and falls in love with her husband and her life all over again.
What would it look like if I started my day watching a movie that oriented me to who I am? Well, I guess that would depend what was on it. Movie producers create teasers, previews, before they release a movie. They put together a short sequence of the best scenes hoping to entice an audience to come out and watch the movie.
What if, together with my husband and my children, we made a teaser of who I was that I could watch every morning to entice me to get out of bed and tackle the day? Maybe this highlight reel would include my children cleaning the house together like happy little elves. Laughing together, singing together, occasionally putting their mops and brooms down to dance together in choreographed unison. Maybe it would flash to my husband sitting at the table with a book of poetry open for inspiration, while he writes down his own on a flowered notepad. Maybe there would be clips of me looking, sounding, and behaving my best.
How would it change my day to start by watching something like that? Might I bounce out of bed in love with myself, my husband, my kids, and my life?
Maybe. But what would happen if I started the day by seeing only the best parts of myself and others, but lived through the rest of it being confronted with the realness of life? Would I be left feeling disappointed, disillusioned, or depressed; ready to crawl back into bed so I could go back to sleep and forget all over again? Would I always be waiting to reset in the morning so never move past the stuck places in my life?
If I’m going to play my own highlight reel to ramp myself up for the day, I suspect that’s how it would play out most of the time. I can only hear that I am perfect just the way I am and full of such inner beauty that anyone who doesn’t see it doesn’t deserve to be with me, for so long without one of two things happening: I either get carried away with arrogance and live like an over-inflated balloon, or I become mired down in the hard-living reality that contradicts this, and feel as caked up and bogged down as a well-used pair of boots.
Here’s a better idea: What if I switch up the show, and wake up every morning playing a different highlight reel?
What if I start by reminding myself who God is? The thing about His highlight reel is, there is no need to voice over, photo-shop, or edit – God is perfect – so every clip is just a glimpse of something that once lived out, will be far better than the preview. With Him, the teaser isn’t more exciting than the movie, it’s just a hint of a fuller reality.
This highlight reel would show me the story from His perspective, so I’d see that I am not always awesome, but I am accepted. I am not perfect just the way I am, but I am loved just the way I am. I am not always beautiful but I am being made beautiful and the work on me will someday be finished to reveal a masterpiece – not because of who I am, but because of who my Creator is! I’ll be like the Beautiful Masterpiece whose image I reflect like the moon reflects the sun; only dimly, but by design.
If I started my day by reading what He’s written, I might start with the scene of a Shepherd who faithfully feeds the hungry, tenderly binds up the wounded, carefully leads the fearful, and lovingly brings the homeless into His home. (Psalm 23) The next scene might be of a King, majestic and strong in power, who bends low and bestows favour on those who seek Him. (Psalm 24) Then I’d see the Shepherd King teaching; teaching children how and where to walk on the path that leads to life, tenderly plucking wanderers from trouble and guiding them back onto right paths. (Psalm 25) Yes, even here there would be scenes that turn dark, but He brings the light. When the plot turns ominous, He rescues it. (Psalm 27)
When the night erases what I know to be true in the day, I will start each day with reminders of Who He is and what He has done.
I will start with my eyes fixed on the Creator, looking for the evidence of His goodness that He has stamped all over the land of the living.
I will fall in love with who He is all over again, morning after morning.
Starting my days like this, reminds me Who leads me through them, and gives me the courage to swing my feet over the side of the bed and face the day. Not with empty praises or grim resignation, but with courage, confidence, and anticipation!