"Point of view," by definition, is a particular attitude or way of considering a matter. Through her nearly two decades of broadcasting, Elisabeth learned the necessity of extracting the point of view of the person being interviewed on a particular topic or subject or experience. Doing so allows you to see issues and truths through another's eyes. It requires a shift in perspective to see the story through their lens.
In this illuminating book, Elisabeth walks through the times--from her national celebrity days to her newest role as CBO (Chief Breakfast Officer)--where she saw something differently than how God wanted her to, and the path back to His point of view was sometimes rocky but always revealing. Sometimes God's intentions for her were clear, yet other times she encountered situations so uncomfortable and blurry that she could only ask for His wisdom.
In this book, Elisabeth welcomes you into the many different, and often divergent, points of view that she has witnessed and learned from along the way. It is a journey that brought her to the ultimate point of view that she discovered in the Word of God--that until she sees herself as He sees her, she is not seeing at all. As you read through the pages here, she invites you to make the same discovery for yourself.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Learning to See Differently
You are the God who sees me.
— Genesis 16:13
As a fourth grader, I thought I could see perfectly. After all, I made good grades and participated in school, my cursive handwriting was on point, and all my spelling tests seemed to check out okay. Didn’t all the other students walk up to the chalkboard to see the spelling words and then sharpen their pencils? Or was that just me?
The smell of the mildewed sponges used to wash the chalkboards at the end of each day is still clear in my memory. But looking back, I know that was about the only thing clear to me at the time.
When the day came for us to report to the school library for our annual vision test, I stood in line obediently, smoothing my navy-blue plaid jumper over my midsection. I kept thinking, Next year I won’t be stuck in this thing. I’ll finally get to wear the fifth-grade skirt and blouse, yet knowing I was an entire school year away from that rite of passage. I felt we waited in line forever. I needed to stay focused. It was almost my turn.
Finally, the school nurse called my name, and I stepped my Mary Jane shoes to the masking tape on the library floor.
“Place this plastic piece over your right eye, and tell me what you see,” she said.
“Okay. And now the left,” she continued.
When I wasn’t thinking about my uniform, I was listening carefully to students ahead of me as they read the letters on the vision chart. I had memorized them, which is why I confidently told the nurse what they were. I had figured out over the years that the benefit of having a last name that began with F and not with A was that I never really went first for anything. Even when the teacher reversed alphabetical order to give students with last names beginning with T or W a chance to go first, I was still in the middle. That definitely had its advantages on vision testing day.
Once I had aced the test, the nurse said, “Okay, next student please step up.”
That’s how it went each year.
The nurse had no idea that I had a secret. I knew I could not see the letters, but she didn’t! Saved by the power of my good memory! As long as I could repeat what I had heard, I wouldn’t have to get glasses.
Or so I thought. Despite my faking success on the eye exam, one of my teachers mentioned to my parents that she thought an eye doctor should examine me. I was mortified!
“Your teacher is helping you,” my parents told me.
Treason is what her recommendation felt like to me. Betrayal. The worst.
A week or so later, I found myself in the eye doctor’s office without anyone with an A–E last name ahead of me in line to tell me what the letters on the chart were. There was no alphabetical order to grant me time to figure out the sequence. It was just me—and the eye doctor.
“Well,” he said, “I don’t know how you have been doing your schoolwork because you really need glasses. You are not seeing anything clearly.”
That didn’t seem true to me. I was just fine. I just had to get really, really close to something, and then it looked clear.
I grumbled as I grew quietly curious. What have I been missing? I wondered. What more will I really be able to see if I get glasses? Will things look different? Will they look better? Worse?
With the glasses prescription in hand, my mom and I darted to LensCrafters. I can still remember the parking spot we pulled into. I knew this excursion was important. What I did not know was that I would never see the same again.
With the guarantee that my glasses could be done in less than an hour, we began our search for the perfect frames. I must have tried on every pair while my mom waited patiently and helped me. And then I was ready. The decision was made.
With a familiar, encouraging-but-protective voice, my mom asked, “Are you sure about these frames? As long as you like them, that’s all that matters.”
Like them? I thought. I loved them! They were the biggest, reddest, widest lenses I could ever have imagined, and in about fifty-nine minutes, they would hold the power to let me see all the things the eye doctor said I had been missing.
“Yes, Mom. These will be great.” I was sure.
While the people at LensCrafters made my lenses, I ran errands with my mom, as she had taken the afternoon off from work for the big event. The sky grew darker, and the big fuzzy red lights on the backs of the cars in front of us told me it was almost dinnertime. My stomach sent the same message with its growling. I was getting hungry—and a little nervous.
Mom and I returned to the eyeglass store fifty-five minutes after we had left, and there they were.
Putting on those glasses for the first time was something I will never forget.
I finally saw what I had been missing out on all those years. The leaves on the trees—I could see them from across the street, and I could see all of them! I could see everything on the wall from all the way across the room! Those fuzzy red car lights were not fuzzy at all! Even better, they were not just one big blob of red blurry light. There were two—and they were sharp and square! (I am dating myself. These were the days before the innovative third brake light.)
I could read street signs for the very first time. I spent the entire ride home calling them out: “Papa Gino’s!” “CVS pharmacy!” “Dry cleaners!” “Kmart!” “Gulf!”
I could see people—their faces and their expressions.
My mom had the biggest smile on her face—and a little tear. I had been faking her out with my way of being okay with the blur for so long that she likely felt both overjoyed that I could finally see and perplexed and guilty about not catching it earlier. It was not her fault at all. She was the smartest, most caring mom (and she still is). I was just really good at memorizing eye charts.
Seeing as Others Do
I was seeing everything for the first time. I mean, really seeing everything, not just knowing it was there. There is a huge difference. And I never ever wanted to be without that ability again. My first time wearing glasses was also when I learned that the way I saw things wasn’t necessarily the way others did—nor was my blurry or clear necessarily the “right way.” Those big red glasses showed me that sometimes others had a completely different view of the world around them.
Even though this lesson was in the physical sense of sight, I soon learned that the same truth applied in the metaphorical sense. The way I looked at a situation or an issue might not be the same way someone else saw it—and it would take more than a pair of glasses to make sense of this. I realized that we all have our own point of view, based on our experiences, our education, and our outlook. Merriam-Webster online defines point of view as “a position or perspective from which something is considered or evaluated.” This distinction became very important when I began my broadcasting career.
One of the first lessons I learned about conducting interviews is that extracting the point of view, or POV, of the person being interviewed is essential. Doing so allows the interviewer the chance to see the issue or topic through the other person’s eyes. Getting as close as possible to seeing the truth of the matter from that person’s viewpoint is the goal. Almost always, seeing the story as that person sees it requires a shift in perspective. For decades I have practiced and refined the skill of extracting the POV of the person I am interviewing to get to the truth of the matter.
Seeing Through God’s Lens
My first shift from seeing everything through fuzzy eyes to seeing with crystal clarity happened in 1985. Little did I know that, years later, I would use the recollection of this event to illustrate the love of God and His vision for all of us.
I’ve learned that adjusting my point of view has at least two benefits: it allows me to see things the way someone else does, and spiritually it allows me to take that to the next level and see things as God wants me to see them. My hope has been that my vision would move farther away from my own thoughts, opinions, and interpretations and closer to the way God sees things.
I tell this intimate journey of faith through the important moments in my life, moments of my life’s story that have caused me to see something differently than the way God wanted me to see it and the sometimes rocky but always revealing ways He has led me to see situations His way. From Survivor to The View to FOX & Friends to my current role as CBO (Chief Breakfast Officer for my husband and three children)—through being hired, fired, and retired—He has allowed me to be inspired, and I have learned a lot the hard way.
Despite my naturally strong work ethic, which has given me a tendency to will my way through situations, my constant prayer of surrender is that by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will line up my point of view behind the lens of the gospel in order to see myself, others, and all that is happening as God wants me to see it. I pray to see myself as He sees me and as He sees my situations. As you read through these pages, this is my prayer for you too.
That ability—to see clearly through the biggest, widest lens possible—is a blessing I do not take for granted. My point of view has been refined and changed and adjusted, but it comes into sharp, clear focus when I look through the lens of God’s promises. The lessons I have learned—some powerful, some practical, and some intimately personal—have all been blessings. His lens is there, and I have the blessing and opportunity to choose to look through my lens alone (limited) or His (limitless). My lens looks like fear; His looks like trust. My lens can look like disappointment; His looks like hope. My lens can look deceiving; His looks like truth.
The view through my lens can be fearful. Through His, it is trusting.
The view through my lens can be disappointing. Through His, it is hopeful.
The view through my lens can look less than accurate. Through His, it is always truthful.
I have learned the hard way that mistaking our vision for God’s heavenly lens only allows us to define our days, our years, or ourselves incorrectly—and things get out of line quickly. I now know that I don’t want to look at anything without the lens of Scripture. Believe me, I have tried to see things on my own. Thankfully, God has brought some amazing hearts, friends, and teachers into my story to press into my heart, encourage me, and redirect me to that big pair of glasses so that I see through His lens—time and time again. Within the pages of this book, you will meet those who have taught me—the spiritual optometrists who have helped me look at something differently or more closely and pointed my eyes to a different point of view. Those lessons and moments are precious to me.
As I look back on this adventure-packed path that God has placed me on—from being a walk-on college-softball player from Cranston, Rhode Island, to dropping into the Australian outback by plane on season 2 of Survivor, to voicing my thoughts and opinions on The View, to hosting a news program on the FOX News Channel—I still blink a few times! This journey assures me that God has already written my story. He’s been there all along, at every juncture, failure, and next turn, putting things back into focus. He is the ultimate lens crafter.
In my mind, I am still that little girl who wants to get the biggest pair of glasses possible and see things the way God sees them. I’ve come a long way since that day in the eye doctor’s office.
I want you to feel invited and welcomed into the points of view I have witnessed, experienced, and learned from. They range from moments on the infield to dinner with Queen Elizabeth II.
My sight is not perfect. My point of view constantly needs to be refocused. You will learn throughout this book that I am a fixer-upper, a work in progress. But I know God is not done with me yet. Remember, I tend to learn the hard way! Most of that work begins with my point of view and perspective. What I’ve learned is that until I see myself as God sees me, I am not seeing clearly, and until I see God in everything, I am not seeing at all. I hope that in my journey you are able to see a little bit of yours and that you will learn, as I am learning, to see your story from God’s point of view. So let’s put on those big red glasses together, figuratively speaking, and see all that He wants us to see.
Table of Contents
Foreword Candace Cameron Bure ix
1 Learning to See Differently 1
2 The Walk-On Way 11
3 Who Packs Your Chute? 23
4 Surviving Survivor 41
5 Surviving Hot Topics 55
6 Not Surviving The View 69
7 Stealing Home and Mornings with Friends 85
8 Paper-Bag Lessons 103
9 Invited 129
10 The Right Tool at the Right Time 145
11 Let's Have the Momversation 159
12 It's Party Time! 177
13 Mama's Meatballs: Tastes of Heaven 191