Oh, the Plans
Life is often a tangled mess don’t you think? Often, we over plan and stretch ourselves too thin and the results amount to a stressed-out life filled with the anxiety of how to get it all accomplished. Sometimes our tangled mess isn’t even that of our own choosing but other’s choices that are pressed into our life. It doesn’t really matter what the underlying origins are as the effect remains the same. So, we need a plan to get through it all.
Sometimes I find myself using what is termed as the ”lay awake plan.” This is where I lay awake at night trying to figure out how I will ever get it all done! My mind will plan and scheme about the what-ifs and where-for all’s but in the end, it just circles around like a never-ending carnival carousel. There are, of course, other techniques. Take Ralph’s for instance, it simply uses hands.
Ralph was in a great tangled mess but doing little to help himself. His friend advised, ”Ralph, you’ve got two hands, why don’t you do something? ”I am,” Ralph replied, ”I’m wringing both of them.” Attempting to straighten out our tangled messes alone is simply not effective as we need help.
Call the Foreman
It is when I find myself trying to solve my problems alone that I need a reminder of the sign seen in an old textile mill and the story that goes along with it. The sign read, ”When your thread becomes tangled, call the foreman.” It hung in a prominent place where all could see it. The sign stood as a signal testament of what to do before things got out of control.
Martha, a young woman, was new at the mill. One afternoon, early in her new employment, her thread became tangled and she thought, ”I’ll just straighten this out myself.” She tried, but the situation only worsened. Finally, she called the foreman in despair. ”I did the best I could,” she said. ”No, you didn’t.” the foreman replied. ”To do the best, you should have called me first!”
Martha learned a valuable lesson that afternoon that all of us should heed too. We must call upon our foreman, long before our life becomes a tangled mess. King David understood this well and sets one of the greatest examples when he conquers the Philistines as recorded in 2 Samuel 5.
When Israel’s most powerful enemy mobilized all their forces against him, he didn’t panic but instead went immediately to God asking what he should do. David didn’t attempt to come up with his own plan or run to his advisers first. He knew that he was in a tangled mess and not only was there was too much at stake for him to brainstorm with a ”lay awake plan,” he also required a great power. David was in a time crunch and needed to move forward but not before going to the ultimate foreman.
Solving a Tangled Mess
David had such great success with this that he gave full credit to God for the victory. But, David didn’t stop there. This wasn’t the first time David found himself in a tangled mess and he knew it probably wouldn’t be the last. He also didn’t decide that he now knew the strategies of God and how to move forward. Because of his faith, David knew that for his continued success he must always consult with God first and so he turns to God again.
We can learn from David’s example. He was a successful king, but he was a more successful servant of God. By him recognizing that it is only by the power of God that he was successful, this fueled the glory that he gave God for his help. When we give everything over to God before trying to concern ourselves with our own inconsistent plans, of ”what am I going to do,” we set ourselves up for peace and more possible successes. The only thing the ”lay awake plan, wringing of the hand’s plan, and many other plans accomplish is additional stress and anxiety over the tangled mess we may find ourselves in. Pay heed to David’s example, and go to the Lord again and again and again.
And again, David asked the Lord what to do. 2 Samuel 5: 23a (NLT)
Moving Forward from a Tangled Mess
It is easy to read the sign and know that we should consult the ”foreman” before moving forward in the tangled mess we’re in, but it is often difficult to do. There are many excuses that we can use like; ”God’s too busy for this” or ”This is just a little thing,” but they all boil down to basically, pride. We don’t ask for help because we think we can handle it on our own. But this is not what God wants any of us to do.
God loves each of us so much and desires to have a relationship with us, the individual, not us, the group. He wants us to seek Him out with our tangled messes. So, it is important that when we find ourselves in a tangled mess or even at the beginning of what appears to be the fraying edges of a tangle that we simply go to God, first.
Before David moved forward with plans he began with a private conversation with God. This is where we too should start to untangle our life. As we begin this conversation or prayer process we must keep in mind the will of God for He cannot go against what He stands for or that which doesn’t fit into His purpose. The second step is to use our Bible for advice and don’t ignore what this advice says. If we still are uncertain to which way we should move forward, then next seeking the advice of wise people who also are heartfelt followers of Christ may be necessary. And lastly, no matter the results give all the glory of goodness back to God before others.
Seek Ye First
Coming into the presence of God with all things is the privilege that Christ gives you through your salvation. Won’t you challenge yourself to come to God first before strategizing your own plan of attack? Be convicted by the will of God allowing His goodness and mercy to be the guiding light of your plans. Find motivation in knowing that God will always provide the best plan even if ”your” will is not done. Finally, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God is the solid and unshakable foundation of all that is good in the world.
Won’t you always seek ye first the kingdom of God whether your life is in a tangled mess or not?
Love in Christ,
We look at life from the back side of the tapestry. And most of the time, what we see is loose threads, tangled knots and the like. But occasionally, God’s light shines through the tapestry, and we get a glimpse of the larger design with God weaving together the darks and lights of existence.
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you find yourself working at night on the ”Lay Awake Plan?” Have you seen God untangle you from a tangled life? Share your thoughts on your tangled messy life and how by the grace of God you moved on.