I picked up my knitting this morning and was working away until I got to a place where I was short one stitch for the pattern. I counted backwards and forwards and the rest of the pattern looked right, but I was still missing a stitch. Then, I saw it. It had dropped 4 rows back and had laddered down like a tear in pantyhose. How had I not noticed that before? There was a problem, and I kept trying to move forward without even noticing until it became a problem that I couldn’t miss.
Life is a lot like that dropped stitch. Things go wrong, but we keep busy and don’t notice the problem until the problem becomes so big we can’t ignore it any longer. Like today, the Magnolia trees on the side of my house have grown so big that they are starting to block people’s view of the road. They needed trimming, but no one noticed until there was an issue with visibility. Now the city wants to trim the branches for better visibility.
Spiritually speaking, this happens too. That little issue God has brought to our attention but we have ignored has grown so big that it is blocking our spiritual vision. We can’t see clearly anymore. Now we need to do some cutting out and pruning. It probably would have been easier to take care of the issue if we had handled it when we first noticed it, but God can handle it even when it’s gotten a little out of hand.
For example, the dropped stitch can be fixed, but first I had to identify the problem. Next, I had to find an instruction video on how to fix it. Then, I worked and practiced until I fixed the problem. Now only I know where the problem used to be. The same is true in our spiritual lives. Identify the problem, go to the instruction book (The Bible), and do what you need to do to fix the problem (confess), and let God make it all new.
Preventive maintenance is a better option, but just remember that nothing is too big for God to handle if we will let Him. It may take a little work, but it is worth it to have clear vision.
In knitting there are a lot of technical knitting terms, but there is also universally recognized jargon. One such term that falls under jargon is UFO, which stands for Un-Finished Object. A UFO is when you start something and later discard it for any number of reasons, including it was too hard, confusing or boring. It then ends up under the bed, in the back of the closet or in the bottom of one of multiple knitting bags. If someone were to pick it up, it would most likely be unrecognizable to anyone else and possibly yourself. In contrast, a WIP (Work In Progress) is a project that you are actively working on or at least contemplating. You know what it is and have a good idea where you are even if you have laid it aside for the moment.
In a previous blog I wrote about having a few UFOs lying around. They had been lying around long enough to cease being a WIP. As a task-oriented person, UFOs bother me. Most of my goals for the New Year include finishing some things I started. For instance, a shelf of books that I’ve been meaning to read and some knitting UFOs that I found when I cleaned up the house for the holidays. I have read 6 of the books and finished 3 of the UFOs. Finishing those things makes me feel lighter and productive. It makes me want to finish other things.
One of the principles of physics is that an object in motion will stay in motion, and an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon. I had become an object at rest, but the word rest is misleading. I was sitting still, but I was not resting. The goals I set for the New Year and the cleaning fit I get when it is time to put away the Christmas decorations set me in motion. The more I finish, the more I want to finish. Then, I can move on to new things.
So, do yourself a favor. Look around for a UFO and turn it into a finished project. It will make you feel better. If you totally are not interested in the UFO anymore, get rid of it. Frog the project (undo the stitches and roll the yarn into a ball) and do something else with it, or just give it to someone else. Lighten your self-imposed load and free yourself to do something else, just don’t become an object at rest or worse yet…a UFO.