I love pasta of all kinds but especially spaghetti. It is particularily delightful when the sauce clings deliciously to every noodle, making it impossible to eat without wiping your mouth after every bite. Deliciousness!!

Spaghetti noodles have a way of intertwining while they cook creating a puzzling mass of pasta goodness on the plate. It is the skilled eater who learns to twirl the noodles on a fork using only the side of the plate or bowl as a foundation to ensure a tight wrap of the pasta before taking it to the mouth.

But then, who hasn’t struggled with the fork getting too full? It seems like every bite is still in some way entangled with the pasta left on the plate. As hard as I try, I have a hard time getting a clean forkful of pasta.

My life feels like that at times. Everything is all interwoven and touching. There is a book entitled, “Guys are Waffles; Girls are Spaghetti,” and it contains many solid examples of that theory. But I contend that much of life is more like spaghetti than waffles. Let me explain.

When I struggle with insecurity or discouragement in one area, it impacts other spaces in my life. It might be how patient I am with my family, how motivated I am to go for a walk or my desire to make good food choices. Coincidentally, when I make headway with the insecurity or discouragement, the other areas are less troubling as well.

Last week, I struggled with some internal dialogue that threatened to undo me. At the same time, I experienced discouragement about other unrelated areas of my life and found it difficult to be motivated to action. What did I do? I reached out to the network of people around me. I spent an hour exposing my tangled, messy thoughts, bringing them into the light of truth. It was in the unraveling I found freedom from both the unhealthy internal dialogue and the despondency I experienced.

4In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. 5And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

Romans 12:4-5

24Discover creative ways to encourage others  and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. 25This is not the time to pull away and neglect  meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.

Hebrews 10:24-25

I am so grateful for community, a place to share the difficulty of life. Next time, I will be the one to lift someone up. Last week, it was my turn to be helped up and pushed in the right direction.

How about you? Do you have someone with whom you share the discouraging moments? Have you ever considered intentional involvement with a mentor, spiritual director or coach? How can you be the encourager for someone else?

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