A Hot Mess

redhotmessSo, a few weeks ago, I attended the summer yarn sale at a favorite shop.

Though I have a shamefully large stash of yarn, waiting to be knit, I fell for a particularly lovely bunch of dk weight linen/cotton blend. In a slubby off-white, It reminded me of yarn that I’d knit during a 1999 trip to Israel. I loved that sweater. Unfortunately though, the cotton content made that old sweater shrink until eventually it revealed more than I was willing to show! No one wants to gaze at a fifty year old belly button. It went to the Goodwill.

This sale yarn gave me visions of recreating the sweater. Only this time, I determined, I would pre-shrink the yarn to avoid the eventual loss of a too-small garment. I asked the woman who had spun the yarn, “Here is what I’m thinking. I’m going to tie a bunch of little “ties” around each hank and then drop them into a very hot washing machine. Then, I’ll lay them out to dry. Do you think that will work to preshrink the yarn?”

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” she said. “This yarn has so many slubs, it won’t shrink like your old yarn did.”

I nodded. Smiled. Made small talk. Purchased the yarn. And went home to do exactly what she told me NOT to do.

I opened the yarn into a very large loop (what knitters call a hank), tied six inch pieces of wool around the loop every eight inches or so (to keep the many loops of yarn from becoming tangled) and threw it in the machine on HOT. Then, to be certain that no more shrinking would be present in the yarn, I let the machine agitate and spin dry. Yup. I did.  (Real knitters are cringing at this moment). You see, I was driven to avoid the pain of losing a garment that takes so many hours to knit.

When I pulled the six hanks out of the washer, my heart sank. Each one was so tangled I couldn’t believe it. There was no longer any sign of my little wool ties (I discovered later that they evaporated in the machine). The picture you see above is the progress I’ve made at rolling just one hank into balls. Every six inches, I have to untangle the whole mess. It has taken more time to untangle and roll than it will to knit the sweater. I have only 1200 yards of yarn left to untangle.

And the whole thing (to my shame) reminds me of sin. As the yarn maker told me, I was headed down a dangerous path, I chose my own way. I thought I knew more than she about the yarn she had created. I believed the danger of shrinkage was worth the risk of disobeying the maker’s instructions. I ignored the maker.

Sin is like that. Often we know the right thing to do. But some fear, or pain, or frustration, or impatience drives us to ignore our maker’s instructions and do it some other way. Our ideas seem reasonable. They ought to work. But instead, we reap the consequences of disobedience. Sometimes, it takes longer to undo the damage than obeying would have taken in the first place. Just like yarn.

I’ve talked to two different young people this week who are in the midst of choosing their own way, rather than obeying the Maker. Both have driving issues that seem huge to them. The pain is so big, this seems to be the only way to ease the discomfort. Neither of them realizes that they will spend much time untangling the damage their disobedience will cause. How I wish I could convince them to reconsider. Believe me, I’ve tried.

How about you? How do you warn someone away from the consequences of disobedience?

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2 Responses to “A Hot Mess”

  1. Duane j. Young Says:

    If the men I mentor refuse to commit to reading God’s word for at least five minutes EVERYDAY then I will not mentor them. For those who choose God’s word daily God shows up to help them.

    To get someone to want to change their life I must first get them to admit their present life needs changing. They must admit they are tired of the way things are and they are willing to give God five minutes each and everyday. that is the first hurdle .

    Great article.

    • Bette Nordberg Says:

      Wow, DJ, somehow I missed your comment. As for the guys you mentor, they are VERY lucky guys. Your tough love, deep compassion and spirit-led discipling has already (and will continue) to do much for the kingdom. With these believers, I didn’t have that kind of “mentoring” relationship. They are people I love, making very dangerous choices, who refuse to listen to my warnings. That, to me, is the most frustrating thing. I want to scream, “Read the Word, #@$%^& (insert name-calling here).” I understand their pain. I just know how much worse it will be when all their yarn gets tangled up! (after the divorce, when the *&$% hits the fan, when the truth comes out, when the husband realizes he’s been duped, etc) And because I KNOW disobedience myself, I know the yarn will always get tangled! With both of those people, I can continue to pray. And THAT is what I’m doing these days! It’s all I have left to do (and perhaps should be where I began!)

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