Friday, April 15, 2011

Following directions we don't understand

This morning I helped one of my team members, Ray, with his work on our computer material. Ray, who normally uses computers on a pretty limited basis, is our pedagogical editor for Computer Essentials. This means he is taking the course to test it out, and makes notes where he has trouble, and adds edits and questions to help our students.

We talked over Skype this morning because he was having trouble with a section on how to use GIMP, a graphics program. He was almost through the section, but was unable to fill his word path. So I explained to him how to set the foreground color and use the bucket fill tool. He did and said nothing happened. He must have misunderstood one of the instructions, I thought. So he sent me his file and I tried it. Sure enough, the words remained colorless. So we opened a new file and walked through the process together. This time we got it to work.

Curious, I went back to the original file, wondering why in the world the fill color wasn't working. Then I checked the layers box and noticed the View icon was off. The layer was hidden. As soon as we set it to View, the color was there. Ray had done it right all along; he just couldn't see it!

I compare that scenario with life following God. He gives us instructions and we try to follow them, but then things don't seem to work out. That's when I start second-guessing myself. Did I really make the right decision? Do I really understand what God wants me to do? Am I messing up God's plan for my life? These are actually times of blessing, because it leads me to examine my heart, my motivations and desires and assumptions. I discover things I have let come between me and God.

Even then I don't really understand why things aren't working out. But sometime afterward, God does something to show me that, at every step where I tried to follow Him, God was leading me to right where He wanted me. I just couldn't see it then.

1 comment: