How to Untangle Spaghetti

I have never been a risk taker but I have been a list maker.

I have been teased countless times for my need for a plan and my desire to see the whole picture in some kind of order.  I need details and I like structure.

“Why don’t you just live in the moment.  Let loose and take a risk!”

I have berated myself for being myself.  I try to imagine what it would be like to be a sanguine, party-loving, risk taker.  Did God make us with these different personality types or did we make ourselves this way?  I don’t have an answer for that but I do have some encouragement for others like me.

Our gift can be used to help others…even the sanguines we sometimes envy.

My lists can be teaching tools!

Yesterday I wrote a four-page list of ways I do not yet reflect the image of Christ in my daily life plus ways to die to these selfish traits to become more Christlike.

After I finished that list, I wrote another one entitled, “How to pray when you can’t pray.”  It consists of reasons why we sometimes just can’t seem to pray plus ways to overcome these struggles.

As I was writing these, it occurred to me that throughout my life I have created multiple lists that could be a help to others.  God gifted me to see things in an orderly detailed outline that can be easily conveyed to others in a structured lesson.

So for those of you who make fun of list makers, I think you should now repent! 😉

Since we have been using these Wednesday posts to discuss dealing with stressful situations in our life struggles, I made yet another list.  These next few weeks, I will take you through this outline that I use and I share with those I mentor.

I would love to have a few volunteers to take this journey with me.  If you are willing to participate, then would you also be willing to send me feedback?  My email is: for those who want to keep your comments confidential.

The reason we often can’t overcome strongholds and struggles is because we can’t seem to get a handle on what the thing really is.  Our lives can become like bowls of spaghetti.  There is a secret to uncurling the mess.  This is where a structured mind operating in a persistent orderly format can straighten those wobbly noodles and make sense of the mess.

Here we go.  If you have some chaos, give this a try.  If you are in a blessed, peaceful season, then save this for a future struggle.   For no doubt, they come to us all.

Start a journal.  This is a great tool to controlling and organizing your mind.  Only you will read it, so be honest.  Remember, God already knows the truth.  You haven’t fooled Him and you never will.

Checklist for dealing with stress:

Part 1

Write a description of your problem answering the following sets of questions:

  • How did it begin?
  • For how long has it been a stressful situation?
  • Who is involved?
  • Why is it so painful?

Now answer these questions about your expectations.

  1. What have you expected God to do and what He has not done?
  2. How does this make you feel toward God and toward the problem?
  3. What do you want God to do for you?  Why?
  4. What do you see as the end result if God does what you expect?
  5. What do you see as the end result if God does NOT do what you expect?

Make a perspective graph.


1 being “all is well” and 10 represents “the suffering of Jesus when He took all our sin on His body, endured the physical pain of scourging and crucifixion PLUS the separation from His Father.”  (I have never been able to imagine any suffering greater than His.)

Plot the following on this line graph:  Consider in each situation the physical pain, mental strain, and emotional stress.  You may want to use a few other examples from scriptures.  Take your time and first imagine yourself in each scenario before selecting a number on the graph.

David’s injustice by King Saul                                 Stephen’s stoning

David’s betrayal by son Absalom                            Paul’s beatings

Esther’s night with King (rape)                              John at Patmos (isolation)

Jacob tricked by Laban (unwanted marriage)      Job’s diseases

Job’s children dying                                                  Job’s wealth destroyed

Abraham at Sarah’s death                                       Joseph sold by brothers

Joseph in prison (injustice)                                     Naomi at death of husband/sons

Hosea at wife’s unfaithfulness                                3 men thrown in fiery furnace

Hannah enduring verbal abuse                              Jeremiah hated for his message

Daniel in lions den                                                    Job when friends accused him

Elijah threatened by Jezebel                                   Jonah thrown overboard

Malcah upon David’s return with wives and children (broken hearted)

David and men when all they had was stolen including their families

I would love to be sitting next to you as you do this activity.  I would also love to see your final answers.  Maybe you could send me your list. (Example…Joseph sold into slavery—4; Elijah threatened by Jezebel—6.)  Don’t ignore this.  It is helpful to take our focus off ourselves and consider the trials of others.  We are never the only ones to suffer.

The final step is for you to plot your problem on the line graph considering your own strain, pain and stress.   Remember, this is your perspective, so there is NO wrong answer.

That’s it for this week.

Father, use our honesty to help us see clearly.  Right now, we feel great pain.  The pain is real and we are drained.  We have fear and dread for what is to come.  We seek Your healing.  Help us to trust You to guide us along this path.  Help us, please.  Amen.


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