What To Do When You Realize You Created a Mess

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If you are in a mess and much of it is your own doing, you are not alone. We’ve all made messes.

When I say, “mess,” I mean circumstances in your life that are not what they were supposed to be, chaotic, out-of-control, and no clear solution.

I’m talking about coming to the realization that you are in a bad relationship but you are so far in, that you don’t know what to do about it or how to get out. Maybe it’s severe financial distress, partly brought on by some not-so-wise decisions. It could be a disintegrated family and you were a big contributor to the collapse. Or maybe a life-dominating addiction. Some of you are really tight with people who are influencing you down the wrong path and you don’t know how to get out of that crowd…or gang.

So what do you do when you realize that’s where you are at?

Psalm 40 is a great help as David found himself in that very place and he wrote about it after his deliverance. Here are some practical helps:

  • Fully acknowledge the way things are. How bad they are and how bad they aren’t (it probably could be worse and you have to acknowledge that as well).
  • This is huge: Own your part. Stop denying, blaming and excusing. Just own it. Take a good look at where you went wrong and openly confess that…to God and to appropriate people. You’ll never learn positive lessons or put yourself in a situation to get out if you don’t first understand how you got there in the first place. For some, this will be your most difficult step. But if you don’t do this, not only will it be harder for you to get out of the mess you are in, if and when you do, you’ll wind up right back again.
  • Believe God’s forgiveness. Once you confess, rest assured, because of Jesus Christ, you have absolute forgiveness from God, full and free with no strings attached. Believe that. Believe that you are forgiven and thank God for forgiving you. Wallow in his grace. He is a God who also gives second chances…and third…and fourth…
  • It’s important to get counsel from at least one wise and Godly person, someone who has a proven track record in life. It’s important that you lay out a realistic picture of your situation and acknowledge your contribution to what happened so that he/she can respond with fully informed advice.
  • Follow that advice! Unless it is contrary to God’s Word. Remember, it’s your own way of thinking that got you into this. I have counseled way too many people on how they can make the best of a bad situation, only to have them completely ignore my advice and see them jump from the frying pan into the fire. I don’t want that to be you. If you are going to get advice (and you should), be prepared for it to contradict your way of doing things and take it!
  • Wait on the Lord to do his thing. He doesn’t unscramble eggs, but he does a marvelous job of making chaotic situations beautiful. Trust him. But that also means, if you are really trusting him, you’ll be committed to following him and serving him while waiting.

For some who are reading this, you see no way out. But there is. If you are God’s child, he will never allow you to be so boxed in that there is nothing that can be done about your situation. There may be some things you will have to live with, but God will also give you the grace to live with whatever that may be — if you trust him. It isn’t the end of the world. We have a sovereign God who controls that end. In the meantime, he has a plan for you, even when you find yourself in the middle of a mess of your own making.


One Response to What To Do When You Realize You Created a Mess

  1. Maurine March 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Every bit of what you said is so true and reading David’s Psalm 40 reinforces! Thank you!

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