Life doesn’t have to beat you up. Circumstances need not keep you down. Situations have no power to keep you stuck. Hurts won’t last if allowed to heal. Behaviors and attitudes can change. Change is a certainty of life, while lessons learned in the process of change can turn out to be your most valuable asset. No matter how responsible you are or how congenial you may be with people, you will inevitably slip up on uncomfortable, threatening circumstances that can tie you up in knots.
Picture your life as a series of knotted ropes of different colors all jumbled together. The different colors represent the certain spaces that occupy your life, like family, finances, career and so forth. Let’s say each knot represents a form of chaos, some sort of struggle. It obviously took some time to knot those ropes together, and it will take some time to unknot them back to order.
It may appear at times that you aren’t making any progress. It could be the Lord is untying your knots one at a time. The restoration process doesn’t have to intimidate or bankrupt your self-esteem and slap the wind out of you. I know it may be hard. You are tempted to throw up your hands and quit. “Why me, Lord?” The important thing to remember is, no matter how long it takes, don’t give in to the temptation to murmur and complain. And never give up.
Do you remember what happened when Moses led the congregation of Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness en route to the Promised Land? They murmured and complained against God. Yet in his mercy God provided manna for them each day under the condition that they follow instructions for trusting him daily for their provision (See Exodus 16). Still with meeting their daily provision, it appeared to the congregation that God was taking too long to lead them out of the wilderness. So they massaged their experience with murmuring and complaining saying God brought them there with the intention of killing them. If you are familiar with the story, you know this older generation died in the wilderness and ever saw the Promised Land (See Numbers 14).
Careful! Don’t be like the children of Israel. Don’t kill your destiny with your words of disatisfsction. Don’t murmur and complain about the knots of your struggles. Last week I caught myself whining about a situation. I’m ashamed to admit, but I did. This happened because my focus was on me, the knots, and obviously not on God. Like the congregation of Israel, I felt that God was just creeping along even though he knew I had to meet timelines. But in his mercy and love, he spoke to me through the messages of other men and women who were teaching on the subject of murmuring. Each time I turned on the television there they were. I knew God was nudging me for his attention.
Here’s the message. Don’t allow your life to be led by your problems. I believe you can become addicted to having problems if only to wear the badge of “woe is me.” You risk that becoming your life’s identity. It then encapsulates you causing your life to revolve around your problems. You carry those knots around as a badge of honor feeling so alone in your unique and individual struggles. But don’t be tempted to make life’s struggles your life’s focal point.
Instead, be encouraged. Struggles are really about courage. To put it plainly, life isn’t fair and yes bad things do happen to good ole folk. Yes these oftentimes are private struggles hidden from view, but now is the time to confront them. You will never conquer what you are not willing to confront.
I firmly believe it is possible to push through and break self-imposed barriers and live with no regrets. Here are some ways to make this sustainable transformation:
1. Look for the diamond in the rough. If you were to carve yourself open to view your inner workings and capabilities, you’d be astounded. There is more life in your life. Don’t be afraid to look for opportunities that are embed in your disappointments, frustrations and losses. This will help smooth over the battles-of-life scars and turn them into ensuing successes.
Message: Look beyond what you have, who you are and others' perceptions of
you and see your true individuality and uniqueness. You have something to give
and market to the world. You are the only one who controls your ultimate success through Christ who strengthens you to do all things.
2. Live life intentionally. That is to intentionally get involved with your life. Plan out the possibilities and stop rehearsing the problems. Desire to want to be untied badly enough that you are willing trust and obey God’s leading and allow him to untie one knot at a time by His time clock. See it this way: A football Running Back doesn’t run through human blockages, trips and flips over backwards to score a touchdown and says, “This is amazing! How did I do that?” No, he intentionally trained and aimed for his goal.
Message: Intentionally plan each day for the rest of your life starting with what
you have. Live life with the attitude of a champion, because God has already
wired you as more than a conqueror. I’m reminded of Paul’s metaphor about
training for a race:
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?
So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize
that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every
step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to
do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be
disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)
3. Tackle stagnated thinking. Of course the running back has to train in the rain, snow, wet, cold, doubt and perhaps sometimes without. Yet he perseveres. Before his body learned those maneuvers, his mind orchestrated them first. The mind is his training field. Intentionally train your mind to focus on the desired end and go for it. What do you say to the fighter who’s in the fight but is not aiming at anything? Something is wrong with his sparring habits!
Message: Discipline intentionally. The one mistake that so many Christians make is
that they meditate and murmur on things that are the way they are. By doing this
they are establishing the present struggle in their mind and heart. Intentional
forward, contemporary, progressive thinking is a barrier breaker.
Don’t give in to your pity parties either. You cannot base your entire life on what may come against you. You may not have the finances required to buy the house of your dreams, but you must not let that prevent you from enjoying the roof you now have over your head. You may not have the corporate position you once had, but don’t let that prevent you from using your skills and talents in pursuit of other positions. And you may not have a car to drive, but you must not let that stop you from getting to where you need to go.
Never lose hope. Surround yourself with people who can give you contemporary examples of where you want to go do actually exist. Make a solid promise that you will untie the knots step-by-step while living in expectancy looking forward to God’s daily manna as you follow Him day by day. There are solutions to the knotted ropes while waiting in God’s presence: the knots of pain, subordination, being stuck, insecurity, loneliness, being broke, brokenness, regret or even domination. Solutions are not necessarily quick and will not always be easy—but are always possible, one day at a time.
I would love to hear from you on how God had ministered to you through this article. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Deana Murphy is a speaker, educator, blogger, award winning author and founder and CEO of the LivingDesigns360 brand. She specializes in showing over-shadowed women how to renovate their lives and break-free of self-imposed barriers so they can own their power, reclaim their identity and live a blessed life. She helps women confidently change their lives and grow to master the habits of self-esteem, self-confidence and well-being functional in four core areas of life including life improvement, spiritual growth, professional achievement and home and family management. Her holistic methodology to life-improvement engages the unique approach of designing your internal self as one would design their house; room to room meaning from the attic to basement; head to toe. She’s your go-to resource for empowering life makeovers, whether you seek one-on-one consulting, group trainings, workshops or lifestyle makeover events.