God’s Instruction Manual

As we all know, your past shapes you. You become who you are because of your past, and sometimes, in spite of your past. As adults, we look back at our childhood and pick and choose what we want to improve on, and some even exclaim from the rooftops that they’ll never ever turn into their parents.

I'm no different from anyone else. I look back at my own childhood and see some amazing things, like incredible family vacations where we laughed so hard that milk shot out of our noses, and I see lots of love. And looking back I see some things that I want to do differently in regards to how I live my adult life. One of those things is dependency. To be honest, that word terrifies me, and it has for as long as I can remember. In high school, I built my first car - a purple 1946 Dodge Fat Fender. I was president of the Auto Club because I refused to be “that girl” who was stranded on the side of the road. Come hell or high water, I was going to change a flat tire and take care of it myself. No damsel in distress here! I am woman, hear me ROAR! 

Unfortunately, that need to do it all by myself isn’t so great sometimes.  I was reminded of this, yet again, a few weeks ago. Santa brought the boys a trampoline for Christmas a couple of years ago (don’t judge me).  After answering all of the “How did it fit in Santa’s sleigh?” and “What do you mean he put it together in our backyard?” questions, our boys happily jumped on that trampoline daily. Like, a few times a day daily, which meant that it was time for a new jump pad this year. Amazon Prime assured its delivery in two days time and it just so happened to arrive during nap time. What luck! I could have this joker taken apart and put back together by the time the older boys got home from school. Music? Check! Ugly shorts and ratty tank top?  Check! New cute Welly boots? Check! Spring removal tool?  Check! 

I got to yanking on seventy-two springs and was almost done when a snake fell out of the trampoline pad and landed on my Welly. Bravely, I tried to run away, only to trip and fall. No biggie, friendly snake and I were on a mission, so back I went. I quickly glanced over the directions and got to work on the new jump pad. I got to the last five springs and I realized that there was no way that they would stretch the amount that I needed them to. Apparently, I had ordered the wrong sized mat. So, off the springs came again. My husband called in the middle of my cussing out the trampoline and suggested that I compare the mats. Genius! Why didn’t I think of that? Crud, they were the same size. I glanced at the directions again and gave it another go. Same results. Now my inner-sailor came out.  "Why, God? Why??????"  Then it hit me - YouTube!  I can actually watch a capable, smart person do the job that I obviously can’t do. A five minute video and BAM!  Trampoline will be done and ready for bouncing!

As I shared my day with a girlfriend, I had a thought.  Me taking a quick glance at the instructions is really how I live my life. As long as it looks easy, and I believe that I can do it, all I need to do is take a quick look and go about my merry way. If things are cheery and going well, I can skate by with a, “Hey God, thank you for these blessings!” or a silent, “God, you’re pretty awesome.” But when things get rough, I tend to keep pushing and keep trying it my way until I can’t anymore. That’s when I turn to the Bible for a better understanding. Only then do I pause and realize that there is someone that I should be dependent on, and that’s God and His Word. The Bible is YouTube! When I can’t make it on my own using an instruction manual that I wrote myself, I have to delve deeper into the one true instructional manual - the Bible. I could save myself so much heartache if I just turned to Him first. The Bible should be the first place that I turn to, not the last resort after I've gone and mucked it up. What a lesson to learn from a trampoline!

Being dependent on anyone but myself will always be a challenge for me. So will finding a quiet space and time to really dig deep into God’s Word, but I know that I really need to work on both of those things.  God has placed people in my path in order for me to surrender control, like my precious husband. I’m sure that he’d love to be my knight in shining armor, if I’d just let him. If I would’ve waited for him to get home from work, we could’ve had that trampoline done in 30 minutes. Instead, I went it alone and it took hours. I could choose to go life alone as well, following my own instruction manual, or I could go it alongside our great God where I’ll never be alone. The latter definitely sounds better to me. 

Brooke is warrior mama to three rambunctious boys, wife to an honest, hardworking man, daughter to one of the greatest humans our great God ever created, and friend to anyone who talks to her. She's has been dubbed "the most inappropriate friend." She lives for a good belly laugh and to bring laughter to others - laughter feeds her soul. She loves the outdoors (not like hiking or rock climbing - she's not that cool - more like standing in the sunshine listening to nature!) and she finds God in the simple things.