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Untying Life's Knots One Day at a Time: Keeping Hope, Faith & Expectancy Alive

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

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.

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Reader Comments (8)

I am untying myself from the knot of debt. After my divorce, I tried to fill the void with things. So I became a shopaholic. I was just buying up everything and now I'm paying the price. But like you said, I didn't get in this mess overnight. So I have to be patient. Lord help me!

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

I love the "messages" you share with us throughout the article! I really enjoyed the point you made about being intentional. I think I have personally made the mistake of being on autopilot. I just do things without thinking about what I'm doing until I'm confronted with a message like this. It reminds me that I have control over the outcome in my life. This is really motivational and empowering!

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

I love your articles! I have been reading your column for the past several months and you motivate me to take risks. I have a very high pressure job as a marketing executive and your words are like fuel for my engine. Thank God for you Dr. Murphy. God bless.

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterT.J. Washington

Dear Dawn,

Yay! You've taken the first two step: awareness and intentional action. Now that you've identified your "knot" and have made the decision to untie yourself , you are on your way. Yes it will take some time to get untangled, but if each day you would take a step towards your debt deletion, you'd be amazed at your progress 6 to 12 months forward. If you can, pay more than the minimum payment due, and if you can, make interim payments during the month. It will be a sacrifice and you may have to deny yourself of some things. Also, be careful, Christmas is just around the corner.

Christ wants to guide you. He wants you debt free and he wants you to trust him as your source. And I do believe God is in the debt cancellation business. Colossians 2: 13-14 declares, "God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross." Hold onto that. Let God be God and allow him to steer you. I pray that you fill the void with all of God's goodness and know that Jesus is our husband, we are his bride. I am praying for you, Dawn.


October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Deana

Dear Naomi,

I am so thankful of how God speaks to you through my column. He loves you so much and wants you to live a life of fulfillment. Living intentionally brings the awareness of who and why you are. Each day is full of purpose. That's how God wants you to live. It's wonderful that you realize you were on autopilot and now you can do something about it. This is a distraction you must overcome to achieve your life's purpose.

Ask God to reveal to you his specific purpose for your life and his directions on how to get there. Ask him to reveal to you specific Scriptures on which to stand regarding your destiny. We can't keep doing the old, comfortable things and expect God to do a new thing. I know you are on your way and I am so very happy for you! If you like, visit my website and learn more about living intentionally.


October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Deana

Hello T.J.,

I so appreciate you taking the time these past months to read my column. More importantly, I am grateful of how God has motivated you through my writing. It appears you are motivated to balance the pressures of your day to day activities to your advantage. Stay strong, T.J. and know that if you want to walk on water, you must get out of the boat.


October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Deana

I love you and your column so much!!! I have been so stressed out at work after getting a raise a couple months ago. The workload is crazy but it's not just that. The increased expectation is challenging me and revealing my lack of belief in MYSELF and MY ABILITIES. It's like I have this expectation that I will fail and that "everybody will find out that I'm not worthy to be in this position". This stress has taken a toll on me. My hair is falling out and I have put on 20 pounds. I should be celebrating but I have been stressed to the MAX!! But I'm going to do what you said and "tackle stagnated thinking" becaue I never really thought about how my mind is a training field. I feel better already having read this. God bless you Dr. D!!!

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSTRESSED AT WORK

Dear STRESSED AT WORK! (I call those things that be as though they are so I will begin again:


My My. You have a war going on in your thought room and we have to do a major renovation! First of all, WHO told you that you aren't worthy? Did God say that in his Holy Word about you? He is saying: "you are more than a conqueror"; "you can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you."

Doubt is a robber of faith. I suggest that you do this little exercise. I use this to shut up the enemy when he tries to make suggestions to me. Each time you have a thought that's contrary to who Christ says you are, say out loud, "THAT'S NOT MY FATHER'S THOUGHT AND IT'S NOT MINE SO I REFUSE THIS THOUGHT." When doubt raises its ugly head, cast it down and substitute the Word for that doubt. (See 2 Cor. 10:3-5)

God is not the author of confusion. Stress is the cousin to confusion. God has not given you the spirit of fear, but peace, love and a sound mind. Hold on to that!

Another observation is this. You obviously wouldn't have been promoted if you were not qualified. Walk in your confidence and know with every fiber of your being that you belong there and you can handle the workload. Ask the Lord to strengthen you and give you wisdom. It will also be a great help to do the following things:

- begin journaling how you plan to succeed in your new position. (write the vision)
- mediate on your success see yourself handling your workload with tenacity and ease (see the vision)
- take deep breaths, drink plenty of water, and refuse to eat when you aren't hungry (live the vision and be intentionally good to yourself )
- learn to laugh out loud. (don't take yourself too seriously.)
- rehearse in the mirror what God says about you. Intentionally talk to yourself and tell yourself:
"I am talented." "I am capable of exceeding all expectations." "I am wonderfully loved by my Father and I am fearfully and wonderfully made in his image." "Greater is he who is in me than he that is in the world."

Girl, you've got the goods. I believe in you! And I am praying for you too. Please let me know how you are doing, okay?


October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Deana

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