My dear husband is the perfect model when it comes to opening a box with a new item that has detailed directions for how to put it together or use it as designed. I love him!! He seems to understand the language of directions and takes them by the numbers. I do not have that patience or bent. Directions immediately feel overwhelming to me. I have no idea why, but I am grateful to turn any new appliance over to him for his help. He will often ask me as I hand him the item looking perplexed, “Did you read the directions?”
The truth is that I want things to be intuitive so I don’t need to be bothered with the directions. I love to read, but not directions (except in recipes when I can be exacting). I think our son’s recommendation of an Apple MacBook immediately appealed to me when he said that it would be more intuitive than my old PC that needed to be replaced.
My husband is great with maps and compasses as well. Maybe that comes from being a Boy Scout and a Marine Corps officer. I do not do as well with reading a map. I am not as visual as he is. I want someone to tell me how to get there with identifying landmarks along the way and I am good to go!! I am more auditory so usually Siri and I get along well with each other.
The truth is that directions are essential and I keep trying to improve my willingness to use them in whatever form they are presented to me despite my preferences.
When it comes to knowing or coming to know something, directions are a vital and often the most important clue to help us know what we need to know, to help us get to where we want to arrive.
My husband has always understood that the directions help him to see what he might miss because ‘seeing is not always believing’. He was first trained on how to use a compass and to read a map. Maybe the fact that I was never originally taught is what gets in my way when it comes to those skills.
Each of us needs to be trained how to see things. It is true in a myriad of professions and hobbies. Ask a radiologist how he learned to detect the smallest nuances on an X-ray and he will tell you that someone trained him.
To follow directions in addition to being taught how to use and understand them, we need to trust the directions. I think my husband likely does that better than I do as well. I think he trusts that the designer of the product I am trying to learn to use knows exactly the steps that I need to understand to have it work exactly as it was designed.
I love how Esther Meek describes it:
“Knowing involves trusting ourselves to authorities. This does not mean that our personal act of trust, no matter how perfect the authority we trust, is guaranteed to be mistake-free. Most authorities are not mistake-free, and most authorities have limited areas of expertise.”
There is one clear exception to the truth of her statement.
When we look to the Bible as directions to live a life honoring and reflecting the Lord, His authority is perfect and His expertise is unlimited.
As a result, we can learn to trust the Bible to help interpret who God is, how we are to live, and how to understand our experiences in the light of His Word. When we are new believers and trust Jesus as Savior, we begin to accept those words in His manual for living as true. But these living letters bring us life and as we grow in Him, increasingly scripture helps shape my experiences and what I can and should learn from them.
Perhaps those of us who groan about those pesky directions that come in so many languages (including the one we speak) really have more difficulty than not being strong visually.
Perhaps we have a problem with trusting or trusting authority.