If you've stumbled across this post finding yourself in the thick of it--
in a mess you can't imagine finding your way out of,
off-track in seemingly every area of your life,
at a depth you can't imagine rising above...
~ b r e a t h e. You have that. Start there.
~ know you're not alone. We've all been there at some point in our lives.
~harness whatever little faith & willpower you've got left in you & sort out what's within your control & what to give over to God. What's not within your control--hand it over. (And know that you're not somehow doing the whole faith thing wrong if it feels uncomfortable or even painful doing so.)
What IS within your control--just start on the first knot in the big tangle, don't try to take on the whole mess at once. If you undo just one snarl, even if you just loosen it a bit, that's progress.
I tend to think of the messy, complicated situations in life like those necklaces in the jewelry box that get all tangled up together--the ones that have a thousand little tightly-bound knots in them. You start to loosen one and then, if you're hasty and you try pulling it all apart too quickly, it only gets more tangled and you find yourself throwing it to the side, frustrated.
Where do I start?
Why even bother, it's too hard.
I don't have the time to take this on.
I'll never make any progress on this.
What's the point?
And this is where we tend to check out & turn toward our vices to numb out the discomfort of what's going on because taking it all on seems too big.
But, what if--for today--you did it differently?
What if, instead of trying to figure out the whole big tangled mess, you just worked on ONE knot, one tangle?
And then, tomorrow--when you've rested and harnessed a little more energy--take on another?
We live in a time of instant answers to questions & instant replies to messages so when s*it hits the fan, we want to figure it all out right away. I am the queen of wanting quick fixes, to solve all my problems at once as quickly as possible, so I speak from experience. But I've found over and over that's not the way our problems tend to work themselves out, at least not for the long-term.
It's been my experience that wisdom and growth isn't gained through the quick fix, but from simply taking on one knot at a time. And, just like those necklaces, as one knot loosens, the next one gives more easily, and so on, until you eventually begin to see progress and feel the tide turning.
I wish I could tell you that once you get the whole mess untangled it will stay that way for good, but that's not the way of life is it? I don't say that to be a Debbie Downer or uninspiring, I say that so the next time life gets a little (or a lot) tangled up, you're not down on yourself about how you got there.
I used to think of the path of my life as a sort of upward trajectory, a mountain to climb and eventually reach the top of--as if life is something to conquer. And it's a little like that in the sense that we want to keep growing and evolving.
But I've begun to think of it more as an ebb and flow kind of path. To understand that there will be periods of peace and ease and also periods of trials and challenges. Periods of nice, smooth necklaces and periods of tangled up messes--some our doing and some out of our control.
I think if we can embrace that vision, we learn to take the tough times in stride and to not be so hard on ourselves when they inevitably come. We can give ourselves a little grace when the tangles come up again.
So, if you're reading this and it's a Season of Smooth (or at least one that has a few figure-out-able tangles)--ENJOY! Relish this time. Maybe offer a hand to someone in their tangled-up-mess to see if they could use some help with a knot or two, or at least some words of comfort if it's not yours to take on.
But if you're reading this in the midst of your own mess, remember that there will be periods where things are smoothed out once again. Remember--just for today--one knot at a time.
You've got this. Just like all those times before.
I'm Krissy & I'm so thankful you're here. Teacher-Mom life is rewarding but it's tough--we need fuel (& each other) to keep going. I hope this is a place you can go that feels like caffeine for the soul--uplifting & highly addictive ;) Check out the categories below and, if you like what you read, subscribe to make sure you always have good Sunday morning reading to go with your coffee :)