I’m an anxious, list-creating, schedule-oriented person. My every day runs a tight schedule, with a long to-do list and little wiggle room. I have to learn to juggle my roles as mother, housewife, partner, nurse, friend, sister, daughter… every single day. And every single day I fail. I fail miserably. I spend every night laying on my pillow crossing off things on my mental to-do list and adding even more things to the bottom of it.
I’d love to reference the “handbook of life”. I always think to myself, “if only I had the right answers then my to-do list would finally get completed. My anxiety would finally be relieved. My expectations finally accomplished. All titles and roles upheld – and upheld well.”
But who am I kidding? As a small child I heard my mom mentioning this mysterious handbook to motherhood (the one no one could ever find). I searched all through high school for the “survival of the fittest” handbook and never could seem to put my hands on it, and as adulthood hit I finally had to accept that the “handbook of life” was lost long ago…
…until I learned something so important, so pivotal.
While life is busy, messy if you will, it’s really very simple to navigate. That handbook to motherhood, the “survival of the fittest” handbook, the handbook to all of life’s questions and struggles is right at our fingertips. We just have to read it, listen to the words and apply it. That “handbook” is the Bible.
I get it. Sometimes it’s hard to follow. Sometimes it’s not entertaining. But what handbook is? The lessons taught, the rules outlined, the stories of grace, love, and mercy are what get me through my days. It’s easy to fall into the ways of this world we have created. It’s easy to forget what we know to be true and faithful and decide to take things into our own hands. But all those easy things will eventually take a turn and become so messy that no matter how stubborn and independent I think I am, I won’t be able to fix it alone.
As I navigated myself back home from a Christian retreat at the age of 17, I suddenly discovered I was LOST. Not too long into my panic I saw those dreaded red and blue lights pull up behind my car. I had never been pulled over before and instantly felt defeat (and anxiety). The officer walked up and said “I clocked you speeding, you were going 52 and it turns 45 about a mile back.” Through my tears I apologized and mentioned that I was lost and that I really had no idea if I was even headed in the right direction to make it home. He asked where I was coming from and where I was headed. When I told him, he removed his hat, looked at me and said “how in the heck did you make it here?” I had no idea. Directions are no strong suit of mine. He wasn’t able to explain how I made it where I was either, but he did provide reassurance that I was finally headed in the right direction to make it home. After writing me out directions home, he wished me well and sent me on my way (ticket-free, thank goodness).
There are so many times that I ponder that evening. I envision God watching my life and repeating himself over and over “how in the heck did you make it here? Where did you take your wrong turn?” Let’s be honest, God already knows where I went wrong, but I’m sure it’s comical for Him to watch me navigate this world. Or maybe it’s heartbreaking…
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
He has laid out the roadmap, the directions, the footnotes to life. Think about it. What would your life look like if you simply chose to devote to following His Word? Not when you want or need, but everyday, in every exchange, every relationship and every dealing.
I often ask myself, “Am I headed in the right direction? Am I on the right path home?” Once I finally made it home that evening, the relief I felt was overwhelming. It was an accomplished feeling mixed with comfort. When I finally make it to my heavenly home, I know it’ll be a feeling and experience incomparable to anything I have ever felt or experienced before.
While you are traveling through life, follow God’s handbook for Life – the Bible. It’s better than any Mapquest, any Siri, any Google Maps. It leads to an eternal, lasting place – a place far greater than you or I can fathom.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” MATTHEW 7:24-27