You didn’t plan on this happening. What started out well ordered is now muddled. You didn’t intend or anticipate this knotted, chaotic mess.

Your tangles may be something obvious and simple: computer cords twisted up under your desk; clothes smashed, crowded together in your closet; the 3 year olds’ naturally curly hair unbelievably tangled from lack of attention; your carefully planned schedule that now has a wrench tossed into the middle of it OR you may have a relationship that is now gut wrenchingly tangled having gone sour from unresolved conflict. Your heart aches because of the fracture in the relationship and all of a sudden those beautiful curls are almost beyond management let alone the pain and screams of the process of untangling.

 Webster defines:  to tangle or tangled =“to unite or knit together in intricate confusion, to interact in a contentious, conflicting way that produces a state of perplexity or complete bewilderment; existing in or giving the appearance of a state of utter disorder; to become entangled.” (p 1205)

Innately we have a sense this is not how it is supposed to be. Even this picture grates on our nerves. What a “tangled” mess. We want to make it right. Severe, tangled anything is soul disruptive. Innately within us we crave order and peace in our relationships. We were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). God is not a God of confusion but of decency and order (I Corinthians 14:33-40).

Is there a way to untangle? Obviously, you can’t keep repetitively getting new desks, new offices, new closets or new relationships. You can shave your 3 year olds’ head but is that really a solution?

The invitation is to “Get the tangles out of your network without untangling your network” as the caption offered in the AT&T Delta magazine ad.

In getting the tangles out or better yet, in anticipating preventing them from escalating into almost “impossible to undo tangles” here are several things to consider:
    Pause…then breathe deeply, do it again and again. Thank God that He has this under         control and He has provided His Spirit to assist ( John 8:12;14:16-17).

    Pray … “On my day of trouble, I will call to you for you will answer me” Psalm 86:7).

    Be attentive to God’s voice and anticipate: how did I get to this point to whatever that now needs attending could have been avoided – like the field of the sluggard in Proverbs (Proverbs 24:30-34).

    Prioritize your daily happenings: balance the angles to delete the tangles (Matthew 6:33).

    Practice forgiveness: learn to resolve conflict quickly (Matthew 4:25-32; 18:15-17),

    Perpetuate kindness and patience: “as far as it depends on you be at peace with all men.'     (Romans 12:18)

    Release the tangles to the Lord. Practice the “One Anothers” in the New Testament-                            a great untangling preventative!   

Some of these untangling offerings may seem reasonable right now unless you feel overwhelmed with your current tangled issues. In that case, consider that none of this takes the Lord by surprise. He can handle your distress and your tangles.

for further  consideration look at Eugene H. Peterson's book, Working the Angles, The Shape of Pastoral Integrity published by Eerdmans


Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.

One Comment

  • Marlene McKee


    I'm going to forward this to three friends with whom I had a Bible study this morning. It is amazing how relevant your comments are. Thanks, friend! Mrlene