Thursday, February 28, 2008

Need Directions?

So…you wake up one morning with your drippy nose now stuffed tighter than a stomach after Thanksgiving dinner, and your throat is scratching worse than a bad case of hives. You figure it’s time to try this medicine everyone’s been raving about…Airborne. You bought it months ago and stuck it in your medicine cabinet thinking sometime in the future you’re going to need it. If it’s half as good as everyone says, you’re bound to be feeling like Superwoman (or Superman, as the case may be) in no time.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re not a morning person. Reading is rather difficult through bleary eyes and a brain whose waves won’t even wiggle for another hour. You pop the top, drop a tablet into your palm, and marvel at how large the bugger is. Looks like a super-sized TUMS. You figure it’s a chewable. Must be. They’re too big to swallow and you’ve been told they’re chock full of vitamins. You can chew vitamins, right?

You toss one into your mouth. Doesn’t taste too bad. But then… Man oh man. The thing starts to fizz. You soon resemble Old Yeller during his rabies scene. Foam is spewing. Big time. You fight for air as the foam fills every available space in your throat and sinus cavity and threatens to erupt onto the floor. In a panic, you grab the bottle in search of a warning label. That’s when you see it. (Cuz you’re wide awake by now.) The directions say to drop one tablet in a small glass of water, let it dissolve, then drink the juice. Ohhhhh. That information would have been helpful a minute ago.

Why would I be telling you this? Well, in case you haven’t figured me out by now, I take situations that happen and try to apply them to other areas of my life. As a writer, I have certain rules I must follow. I don’t follow them, I don’t get published. It’s as simple as that. If you think you can just sit down and write a story any way you want, a severe case of the blahs will set in and you’ll soon be foaming at the mouth from all the rejections you’ll receive. Yes, rules can be bent and even broken in the writing world, but you’d better know the rules well before you try to bend or break them. Best way to know the rules is to read. Read authors’ books, blogs, or websites. Buy some how-to books. Attend conferences. How ever you decide to learn, know the correct procedures for good writing.

And how would this foamy experience pertain to me as a Christian? It’s very similar to writing. As a child of God, I have rules I must follow. God has laid them out in His Word. If I read His directions and follow them, life will be a little simpler. Oh, that’s not to say life will be a piece of cake, smooth as silk, or any other cliché you want to use. We’ll all run across trouble from time to time, usually because of some bad decision we make, like not following directions. But we all get second chances, and third and fourth. Just because we think we know it all doesn’t mean we don’t have to follow instructions. But you know what? God loves us anyway, foam and all.

Reading. Yep. A good dose of it all the way around can keep us from trouble. I recommend it highly.