Failure to Launch

Last week Julie and I set out to purchase a printer for our new home. Well, to be honest, Julie went grocery shopping, and I embarked on a journey that would take me to places I wasn’t looking to go. 

Technology scares me. But I struck gold on my first store and was out of its grasp within minutes. I found a printer that serviced our needs. Once returned home, I decided to fulfill my husbandly duty of setting up our new household printer. Now, coming from the guy who thought FaceTime was “Skyping on Facebook,” you can only imagine the kind of threat this task posed. 

Luckily for me, I had an instruction manual.

The manual opened up just like the concertina doors in Le Bonheur’s sunroom, where Julie and I tied the knot three weeks ago... But I distinctly remember enjoying the sunroom more than the printer’s instruction manual. 

I quickly scanned the manual’s five steps then chose where to start. I made an executive decision to start at Step #2 since Step #1 only taught me how to plug the printer into the wall and into the PC and where the power button was. These all seemed obvious enough, and therefore, I deemed reading them a waste of time. 

Step #2, however, showed me how to insert the colour and B&W ink cartridges—something I’d never done before (embarrassing, I know). And so, I began carrying out the instructions listed in Step #2. Not long after, I hit a wall. 

The cartridge cover refused to open. It was stuck. Things got exceedingly more frustrating the more I tried forcing it open. This went on for way too long. I was on the verge of breaking the cover when I asked Julie if she would come take a look at it. I assumed she had done this somewhat menial task before. 

After asking me a few questions, she quickly realized I’d skipped Step #1. She walked back into the kitchen laughing and kindly reminded me that instruction manuals are provided for a reason. “Step #1 has a purpose,” she said. I wasn’t going to achieve my objective if I wasn’t prepared to start where I was instructed to start. (And I wasn’t going to get that cartridge open without plugging in the printer first.)

I learnt something through my experience that I want to share: Always start at Step #1.

All too often we receive great vision for our lives from the Lord—perhaps a plan or a dream. We know He wants to fulfill the desires of our hearts, but a problem arises when we set out, in our own strength, to obtain them. We think we know it all, and our pride deceives us into believing we know better than God. The truth is, we don’t. 

I’ve often wondered why nothing ever came of my proud efforts... besides a failure to launch. 

Now, I believe that all ventures are redeemable and that the Lord teaches us through our failings. But I also believe there’s wisdom in learning from another’s mistake. Starting at Step #1 means that we need to ask God where to start and allow Him to guide us. Not just at the start, but the entire way. After all, He created us to commune with Him, to live fully dependent on Him. 

When I stop looking at God’s instruction manual for my life, I hit a wall, get frustrated and feel stuck. You may be sitting there saying, “God hasn’t given anything for me to do.” And I would counter that by encouraging you to sit still before the Lord and to ask. He will answer. 

Sometimes, I still get caught in the trap of thinking I know better. I say I surrender all and want to live solely for Him, then a few minutes later, pride and control creep back into my veins, slowing me down and setting me back. It’s always tempting to question whether or not I’ve taken the right path and to start looking for other opportunities. But the truth is, I’m on the right path. I’m just still learning how to stay on it.

The final destination is the easy part. The journey... that’s what’ll determine the people we become.

Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.


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