I imagine myself like a ball of yarn sometimes. Only, this ball of yarn is comprised entirely of problems. I used to pull on the loose end and think, “Well, if I just unwrap this little bit here, I’ll get into the part of me that isn’t a big, hairy mess. ” So I’d unwrap a little and just discover more of the same. Like a magician who pulls a colorful scarf out of his mouth hand-over-hand…forever. There isn’t anything in me that’s actually good, and the further I look, the more bleak it gets. Especially since once you unroll the yarn all you have is a huge, loose, tangled up, mass of string.
I decided to just wrap myself back up again because at least I can be a neat and tidy problem, but there’s nothing that can be done with a big messy problem. Things have to at least be sorted out, you know?
To be honest, I never used to unwrap myself very far. I think deep down I knew that once you unroll the ball of yarn there’s nothing there. Yarn isn’t rolled onto something, it’s rolled onto itself. Problems on problems. So I was tightly wrapped to be an orderly, manageable mess.
However…. somewhere in there God took a look at my life yarn and He saw potential in it all. He saw where there could be beauty too.
He grabbed the end of me and started unwrapping. I freaked out. There was no way some outsider was going to unravel all my hard work! I did a lot of winding to make this neat ball out of my snarl! I tried to roll away. Into a corner. But He kept just grabbing me and putting me in His yarn bowl- a place where I could freely roll. I tried jumping out and rolling under the furniture in hopes that I could go where He couldn’t reach me, but that too was a bust. (He’s got insanely long arms.)
Eventually I got tired and gave up. If He wanted to unravel this mess, fine! He was going to have to deal with the consequences! I allowed Him to start unrolling me, but I did so grudgingly. In a, “You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into!” Warning sort of way. I was scared that if He started undoing me He too was going to end up with a huge, unmanageable mess in His hands, just as I had. And I was scared that He’d see something in there that made Him rethink His first decision to handle my life at all.
But what happened instead surprised me. He didn’t end up with a snarl, nor did He decide to quit once He saw a little more.
He just started knitting. (That seems obvious, doesn’t it? Why is always such a surprise!?) He didn’t worry about the endless problems, the rough and the smooth and the uneven parts. He just knitted. Very calmly. He didn’t unravel more than He could work with at any given time, so it wasn’t a huge mess when He worked at it.
“I got this.” He assured me. I’m just a ball of problems, so I had trouble believing this, but eventually I started to see that not only is He untiring, calm, and large, He’s also a very good knitter. He actually takes balls of problems and makes beautiful things out of them. I’m always surprised by this.
The time came when I decided it’s best if I just hang out in His yarn bowl. That way I can be unraveled with the greatest ease and speed. No more trying to roll away.
I became willing to pass through His hands. To be seen, to be felt, to be examined and known. To be woven by His plan into something colorful and textured and unique. To be made new.
I’m hoping someday He knits until He uses me all up and there is nothing left. At that time I know all that will remain is the art in His skilled hands.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“Not to us, Oh Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your loving-kindness, because of Your truth.” Psalm 115:1