i'm learning the hard way that to follow the instruction manual line by line is not to really live. to have to walk through life carrying a dog-eared, highlighted list of dos and don'ts doesn't prepare you or ready you for the real-deal. just like someone who had a heart attack would die if the person trying to save their life spent too much time reading the how-to before using the defibrillator, moments and opportunities for growth and living die when we aren't prepared to walk through them because we've leaned too heavily on the manual.
i feel like i've lived my life by an instruction manual. i've paid close attention to the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos, but when the moments hit - i'm completely unprepared to say the right word, do the right thing, or be the right person. i learn all about love - but do i actually practice it? i learn all about truth, but can i actually describe it to someone? i learn all about considering others, but do i ever practice selflessness? i learn pin-pointed, taken out of context verses and try to apply them in real-life scenarios when i haven't understood the over arching idea of the scripture, or experienced the meaning it has to offer. i've only read it as an instruction manual - and not immersed myself in its themes, in its context, in its relevance to this life.
so, when friends come to me hurting - i don't know what to say or do. when someone comes to me searching for answers - i leave them with more questions. when someone needs me to bear their backpack of shame, i've got my own aches and pains and can't lift another.
i feel terribly unequipped to do life. i feel like i've counted on everyone else to live it for me. to tell me what to do. to point me in the right direction. and now - now, there's just me and my instruction manual. how do i translate reading about life and awkward situations, and tough challenges, and frustrating people, and loving when it hurts, and forgiving when i don't want to, and dying in order to live, and suffering in order to be comforted - into living it?
Father, equip me.