If you’re anything like me, you like things to be as specific as possible, scheduling down to the exact time and directions precisely and detailed. A few months ago, I purchased a beautiful shelf to be hung in my new home. I figured since , I needed to be the one that hung it. I went to one of the local hardware stores and with the help of an employee, I found just the right tools for the job, 2 molly anchors and a few screws. Feeling very adequate for the task, I started measuring out exactly where I wanted to shelf to go.
I started in, feeling quite handy, however after about 15 hits with the hammer and multiple tries with the drill, the molly was no closer to being in the wall than the thumb attached to my hand. I reached for the bag that had the anchors in it and lo and behold, there were NO directions. No directions as how to install these things, no directions as to what to do when I can’t get it into the wall?!? The frustration grew and grew as did the hole in my wall. I knew that I was hitting the stud in the wall, but why wasn’t the molly going in?
None of this would have happened had I just taken a second, not worried so much about following the specific directions and doing it right, and evaluated the situation.
Then it hit me: the whole idea of the molly is to be used when a stud in the wall is not available. But because of my frustration with things not working the way they were “supposed” to, or the way the man in the hardware store told me they should, I pushed and hammered even harder instead of evaluating the situation. The only thing I had to show for this debacle was a sore thumb, a massive hole in the wall, a stripped screw and a major blow to my I-can-do-it ego. None of this would have happened had I just taken a second, not worried so much about following the specific directions and doing it right, and evaluated the situation. I wouldn’t have been left feeling defeated, frustrated and wishing I had never tried to hang the shelf at all.
The shelf was eventually hung after a few angry tears were shed and an encouraging phone call from my brother came to walk me off the ledge of putting an even bigger hole in my wall. But unfortunately so many times, that is how I view God’s Word. I read it with the selfish intention that I am going to get a list of instructions that will tell me exactly what to do to be a “good” Christian, what job to take, where to live, who to date, how many kids to have, ____________(insert whatever it may be that day). When I don’t get the outcome that I am looking for, I feel defeated, flustered, incompetent and even disappointed in the Word. I want it to tell me EXACTLY what I should do – lay it out word for word.
He is a God who allows us freedom in Him. Freedom to use the brain that He created to be resourceful, creative and problem solving.
But that’s not the way God and His Word work. He isn’t a puppeteer-God who gives us a list of rules and specific instructions on how to live and if we don’t follow them down to a tee, we are left with a gaping hole in our lives. He is a God who allows us freedom in Him. Freedom to use the brain that He created to be resourceful, creative and problem solving. Freedom to take the gifts that He has given us and the instructions in His Word to use for our good and His glory. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1)
And even though there are times that I so wish I could just be told exactly what to do, realistically, what type of life would that be? God has given us incredible life-giving instructions, and though they all may not tell us specific individual details, His Word is a guide for an abundant life. (John 10:10). That is the beauty of this life, the decisions we make can and should lead us closer to an all-out, no questions asked relationship with the Lord where our ultimate goal is to glorify Him.
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