By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
I did a Google search for the word uncomplicate—just the word, with nothing following or preceding it—and 101,000-plus related articles and websites popped up. The following topics were included on the first page of results: 28 ways to uncomplicate your relationship; 100 ways to uncomplicate your life; 100 more ways to uncomplicate your life; and (lastly and unrelated) 106 ways to uncomplicate your life.
All the lists were reportedly compiled by life experts (how does one become an expert on uncomplicating life or love, anyway?), yet each list contained contrasting information. By clicking four little links, I viewed 334 ways to uncomplicate life and relationships, all of which had some sort of accompanying explanation.
Truthfully, it all sounded pretty darn complicated to me.
The underlying irony of this search prompted me to think more deeply about the concept of complication. I’ll use myself as an example, here. As an idealist, I am naturally predisposed to spending much time in reflection. I weigh potential consequences before I do anything (er…most of the time, anyway). I think about what I’m doing while I’m doing it. Often, I spend a good deal of time in reflection about what I’ve just done, pondering topics such as: How it could’ve been done differently or what I should do next.
I not only make To-Do lists, I also make strategic lists for how to tackle said To-Do lists. Because I already make lists about lists (am I alone here?), for someone like me, learning 300-plus new rules regarding how to ‘uncomplicate’ life or relationships would likely have sent me into a tailspin. Had I decided to implement these recommendations, I shudder to imagine the vast number of lists that would have ensued.
Psalm 118:8-9 says, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” Simply put, this means no physician except the Great Physician can truly heal your hurts. No instructor can teach you better than God, who is omniscient. No celebrity or musician or public speaker can show you the right path for your unique existence.
The self-acclaimed—or even the legitimately accredited—experts who compiled the aforementioned lists on uncomplicating life and love may have earned their Ph.Ds, MBAs or some other credentials for which there exists an acronym. They are probably wonderful people, too. But at what point do we, as a society, stop looking to other people to solve our problems for us?
Advice, of itself, is not the enemy. In fact, as per Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Comparatively, while timely advice is a life-saver in the right circumstance, we should never seek another person’s advice on a matter before we have taken that issue to God.
I’m just as guilty of soliciting unnecessary advice as anyone else. At one point in my life, my bedside table was laden with multiple self-help books, religious and non-. I used to schedule time in my day to watch religious teachers and motivational speakers on television, just hoping for a pearl of wisdom.
Today, though, I have a new proposal for all of us who are inclined to search the bookstores, the Internet, the television, our address books or even the local church—before we search the Word of God. Matthew 6:34-35 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
We have each been gifted a short time to create the most beautiful reality possible. This is the crazy-beautiful gift of life, and it is filled to the brim with excitement, chaos, wins, losses, goodwill and evil. The Lord knows we are not equipped to handle life alone. He knows that we cannot uncomplicate our own lives. No one can; that’s why He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us.
We need to dispel the lie that someone else is capable of fixing our lives. Ephesians 3:20 says God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we ask or think. At least for me, it’s time to quit vying unsuccessfully to uncomplicate my own life and, instead, seek relief which can only be found at the Throne of Mercy.