By Judi Jackson
Sept. 24, 2014
As we move into Week 6 of the semester, we’ve had plenty of time for the seminary acclimation process to set in. We’ve survived orientation and convocation and, thank the Lord, haven’t had any hurrica-tions (yet).
But still many of us are juggling so many responsibilities and deadlines that our stomachs are tied up in knots. We need some Boy Scouts to show us how to UN-tie these knots so we can continue into the semester with a sense of peace and purpose.
In Hebrews 12:1, we’re encouraged to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” so that we can “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” In a previous blog, I wrote about the importance of identifying what hinders you or what’s holding you back. In this one, I want to throw out some thoughts on dealing with knots and entanglements.
THREE: Identify what ties you up in knots.
So let’s brainstorm. What gets tangled? Hair. Christmas tree lights. Necklace chains. Shoelaces.
When any of these things gets tangled, we find a way to work out the knots. Rarely do we just cut off our hair, throw out the light strands, or toss the gold. Instead, we give the situation some patient attention and see what we can accomplish. Occasionally, we call in the big guns … like when I ask my hubby to use his special little tools for getting the knots out of my necklaces.
We do some very intentional things to deal with the physical ‘knots’ in our lives, and we need to use the same determination when we encounter people, commitments, and other things that get us tangled. In order to “throw them off,” we need to deal with them intentionally.
Have you heard the phrase ‘Law of Unintended Consequences’? One choice or decision that seems good or manageable at the moment can reap a consequence down the road that you aren’t prepared to deal with.
Someone I know is making plans to move back to a city she lived in recently. She left for a short-term job opportunity, expecting to make enough money for the return trip. However, during that time away, she enjoyed shopping, eating out, and other money-draining activities. Now that it’s time to move back, she is scrambling for the funds necessary to cover expenses until she can get settled again. Yikes! This knot certainly can be untied but not without careful attention to the other tangles around it.
Someone coming through a drug recovery program may finally admit that he or she never dreamed life could get so tangled. Separating the high of the drug from the reality of wasted money and relationships makes the knot bigger and bigger. And, for some, that knot can get really big before the inevitable fall.
Oh, the fall. Last spring, I fell twice in a one month while running. The first time I was running on a stretch of pavement I had run over many, many times before. But I was distracted, pressed for time, and a bit bored. Boom, down I went. The second time I was in an unfamiliar area and tripped over my own feet. Down I went again. Needless to say, even five months later, I am very aware of my potential to fall … to get tangled … and so I run more carefully. Notice I didn’t say ‘I stopped running.’ Nope, I just try to eliminate the entanglements by staying intentionally engaged.
What ties you up in knots? What helps you work through the tangles? You don’t need a Boy Scout to get you out of this jam. Invite the Holy Spirit to do His work in your life. And don’t forget those supporters you identified a while back … they’re wanting to see you run (and finish) your race well.