The kelp forests in the waters off the California coast are known around the world and I found them incredible to swim through. There’s tons of Garibaldi, brown sea bass, anchovies, sea lions and the occasional shark living among the forest that sways back and forth with the currents. In some places, the kelp is dense and you have to work your way through it.
On one dive, we were off the tip of Point Loma. Lots of kelp forests! As we approached the forest, my dive buddy turned and twisted and made his way through packed kelp. Then it was my turn.
Of course, I got stuck.
Thick strands of vine had wrapped around the knob of of my dive tank, only I didn’t know that. But, I knew somewhere the kelp was wrapped around something, because I wasn’t moving forward anymore. I looked up and my dive buddy was gone. Probably enjoying the dive and finding Nemo, while I was getting tangled in kelp. The more I twisted around, trying to find the way out, the more I became trapped. Now, a single strand of kelp is actually easy to break apart. You just twist and pull. But several strands….
Well, don’t worry, I made it.
In the book of Hebrews 12:1, the author writes, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” All of us want something. We have goals, which could be just for today or they could be in another 5 years. We have a places in our lives we want to get to. Relationships to build. And, we have something in our lives which easily tangles us up and there’s a probability we never get there. These entanglements could be our fears, our coping mechanisms, anger, insecurities, perfectionism, loss of hope, and a lot of other things. But you know what they are. A lot of times for me, it’s self-disqualification, aka fear. I would receive a task to complete (I actually have a deadline in December for a book proposal I received back in July. Two pages done! Good grief!) and I would get excited. But then I think, Oh gosh, I don’t think I’m good enough. I won’t get this done the way they’re expecting. And I lose momentum, because I got tangled up in my fears.
God wants us to move forward with Him. He wants to lead us to better places where we’ll end up being stronger people. But, all He’s going to do is say, “Follow me.” And the rest is up to us. Along the way, we’ll get tangled up in something and he’ll help us get untangled. We’ll look back and go, wow, lesson learned there.
But what if we keep going back to that same spot? What if, during my diving trip, I went back into the same tangle of kelp and got stuck again? On purpose? Sounds odd, but this is what some of us do and we may stuck in that spot for along time without moving forward. I want to share a few points to help us stay untangled:
Identify what the tangle is-
What is one thing which keeps you from following God or where He’s leading you. Is it a place you need to stay away from? A person who is unhealthy to hang out with? An activity? Unhealthy thinking? Your internet activity?
While I was wrapped in kelp, my dive buddy came back to help me. There’s someone in your life who cares and can see when you get tangled up. Listen to them! God may be speaking through them, because you’re not listening to His voice. If we’re all tangled up in something, we’re going to need help getting out of it. This could be a counselor, close friend or family.
This is the difficult part. For some reason, be it our past experiences or brain chemicals, we have a difficult time staying away from what “so easily entangles” us. The next time I went for a dive, I moved toward the open spaces and avoided the tangles. This is what we have to do with our choices, we need to move toward the open spaces where it’s safe. These could be in our own mind and heart. If I get tangled in self-defeating behavior, then I need to think of something else which is more positive about myself.
Just know if we get tangled, it’s going to be our choice. We don’t have to go there. We choose to be there. But, we also have the choice of not being there! We are able to choose the safer, open places where we can move forward. God is always for you, not against you!
God bless you and I hope you stay untangled!