For several years after earning my undergraduate degree in English and professional writing from Portland State University, I worked as a technical writer. Whenever someone asked me what I did for a living, I would proudly say, “I’m a technical writer.” And more often than not, the reply would be: “You’re a typewriter?” Haha – I guess I was a bit of a mumbler before I became a professional speaker (teacher).
Do you want to know what a technical writer does? I wrote proposals, press releases, instructions, and manuals – I was a writer of things that nobody reads. Do you doubt that bleak assessment? I’ll challenge you to look for your VCR manual – or that wonderfully colorful booklet that came with your cell phone. Did you read them? How about the instructions of Microsoft Word or Excel? Those booklets are full of really useful information and techniques that would revolutionize your world (if you’re as geeky as I am).
There is another instruction manual that is undervalued: the Holy Bible. I used to try to read it, but it really frightened me to do so, because I would come across something that struck fear in my heart (something I was failing to do or doing that I shouldn’t be). I would read a few sentences and close it with a quick (and heartfelt) prayer of repentance for whatever I had just become convicted of.
In my late twenties, when I decided it was time to finally plough through the Old Testament, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe some of the laws and rules. I was confused and sometimes even horrified. I prefer to stay in the New Testament, going to the Old Testament for Proverbs and Psalms and getting my OT stories from Veggie Tales movies (I wish I were joking about that) and church sermons from men who’ve spent their lives studying the scriptures.
Seven years ago, I challenged myself to spend more time in God’s word than worshiping the television. Rather than spend four hours a day in the word (I wish!), I stopped watching television. I still don’t spend enough time in God’s word, but the more time I spend with God (reading and praying), the better my days go. I know that God’s word is true and useful and relevant and having experienced the blessings that come with walking in communion with God, it’s something I want more of.
Are you having a bad day, week, month, or year? It’s time to open the instruction manual. It won’t always make your problems go away, but getting an eternal perspective will do wonders, as does the peace that comes from time with the best friend a person could ever want.