Following Directions?

Originally posted on Miss P’s Ponderings on April 18, 2012

Those people who know me…know I like to follow directions.  If there’s a recipe, I like to have it open while I prepare it.  Even if I’ve made the dish a few times, having the recipe open and visible encourages me…I’m “following directions”.  It may be my “methodical” personality, as it’s been called…but…I like directions.

Sadly, it doesn’t seem like some of my third graders appreciate directions as well as I do.  Or, perhaps, they just don’t realize that it requires one to read them in order to know what to do.  Yes, you are reading a bit of sarcasm in that sentence.  Some days, I don’t know if it’s funny or frustrating?  

During my language arts class, a student comes up and says, “Miss P, I don’t know what to do on this page.”  
“Well,” I reply, “what do the directions say?”
“Oops, I forgot to read them,” he honestly answers.

I’d like to say this is a one time thing, but…I’m guessing if you check with teachers across the county, state, nation…perhaps the entire world…you’ll find that some students would rather “be told” what to do rather than “read” and learn for themselves.

Hmmm, are we the same way?  

Would I rather someone tell me how to put my new desk together or read and learn how to do it myself?  OK, maybe I’m an exception…but when I put my big corner desk together and…well, it didn’t collapse, I was quite proud of myself.  {Of course, I must admit I ignored one direction, “Two people required to lift desk into standing position.”  What was I supposed to do?  My cat refused to help! Ha.} 

Likewise, that same student, who consistently comes up to me not knowing what to do because he didn’t read directions, was so proud of himself when he announced that he completed a task. “Without your help because I read the directions!”  Of course, I praised his responsibility and encouraged him to do it again…and again…and again.  Will he remember every time to “read the directions before asking for help”?  Of course not, but it’s a goal to aim for, isn’t it?

I find I’m the same way.  Yes, I like reading and following directions, but there are times…I must admit, it simply doesn’t get done.  So, let me share one of the times I didn’t “read” before asking questions.  

Many moons ago, our church was having a DiscipleNow weekend.  On Thursday night, following the concert, many of the adults helping with the weekend traveled to downtown Madison, IN, to eat at Hinkle’s.  Now, even though I’ve grown up in Madison, living here since fourth grade, I had never eaten at Hinkle’s prior to this evening.  
So, as I sat looking at the menu, I asked the waitress, “Do you have Coke or Pepsi?”  
Doug started laughing and responded, “Jodi…look at their border?”
Yep, you guessed it…I looked up to the top of the wall and saw a lovely Coca-Cola border around their walls.  I laughed it off and blamed it on my hair color.

You see, we all fail to read directions or see the obvious at times.  So, I start pondering the more important directions.  Those directions that tell us how we should live…how we should treat others…how we should think…how we should talk.  The cool part is…all those directions, for me, are written within the pages of a Book in which I have many different copies in many different versions.  I can’t blame it on not being able to read it because I have a copy of the directions in almost every room of my house…I carry a copy in my purse.  So let’s face it…they’re with me always, or almost always.  But, do I read it enough to know them well?  

You know those recipes I shared about earlier.  I made one last night…quite yummy.  It’s called Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake.  So, so simple…tasty…and makes good leftovers.  I’ve made it a total of three times, but I know the recipe well enough to complete it without reading it step by step.  Still, I made sure to read the final sentence to ensure it didn’t burn.

I should be the same with that all important book of directions. Yes, becoming a Christian as a child and being active in a gospel teaching & preaching church, I know how I’m supposed to talk….interact with others…think.  But, that doesn’t mean I should stop reading through my book to remind myself of the instruction.

So…I thought I’d share some directions that I attempt to meditate on at various times in my yearly, weekly, daily journey….
#1–Love my Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind. 
#2–Love my neighbor.
#3–Cheerfully share what I have.
#4–Encourage others.
#5–Make a joyful noise.
#6–Filter my words.
#7–Guard my thoughts.
#8–Appreciate the value of children.
#9–Everything has a purpose.
#10–Be Still

Well, if I follow all the directions above…then, I guess….there’s a purpose even for those days when we fail to read and follow the directions.  It’s during those times of failing that we learn to ask for help…that we have a moment of time when we learn a valuable lesson.  Yes, if that boy in my language class hadn’t forgotten to read directions over and over again…then…well, what would I have written about today?  

 I’m sure you figured out the book of directions I’ve mentioned.  I’m guessing you know its name, and I’m hoping that you have at least one copy of it to read and learn from as you travel life’s journey.  And, for those of you like me, who like to read the directions for yourself…you can find my “Top Ten” (at least for today) at the following addresses.  Enjoy… reading…learning…and following directions form the One who leads me.

#1 & 2–Luke 10:27
#3–2 Corinthians 9:7
#4–1 Thessalonians 5:11
#5–Psalm 98:4
#6–Ephesians 4:29
#7–Philippians 4:7
#8–Matthew 18:5
#9–Romans 8:28
#10–Psalm 46:10

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