And … Suddenly We Have a Problem

In recent days, we’ve had one of those unexpected problems no one wants to deal with—an overflowing toilet. And, of course, this fiasco happened on a weekend, so no help from a plumber until Monday. I’ll spare the graphic details but suffice to say sopping up potty overflow is an unwanted and unpleasant job.

Do you sometimes feel your life is in the toilet, or some unwanted element is overflowing into every other area?

Following are suggestions for dealing with the mess:

Expect the Unexpected

Before our plumbing problems, there were a few little hints something might be amiss. However, everything was functioning as it was supposed to, so we didn’t address potential problems.

Are you ignoring something in your life that needs attention? Perhaps it’s a medical issue that won’t resolve, but you keep putting off a visit to the doctor because you don’t want to know the diagnosis or deal with the follow up. Or maybe it’s a hard conversation you continue to delay because emotions are involved and talking will rock the status quo.

Most of us wait until we have no option before we take action. Instead, pay attention to hints that problems are imminent, be aware of God-given prompts, and don’t allow fear to control.

Juggling Multiple Messes

Unfortunately, our overflowing plumbing problems occurred not once, but several times before we determined what water was safe to run and where.

Often, it seems as if we hardly ever get to deal with just one problem at a time. Life can be messy, and frequently, the messes come in rapid succession, piling atop one another, making it feel as if there is no way forward.

Handling messes is best approached as the proverbial question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer: Eat an elephant one bite at a time. Handle multiple messes one step at a time. Try not to become overwhelmed by the enormity and process incrementally.


Our plumbing problem was anxiety-producing. Every time someone ran water upstairs, I felt I had to run downstairs to check the offending toilet. I had nightmares of potty water gushing and even got up during the night when I heard an odd noise to make sure a flood wasn’t happening.

Unexpected life issues are anxiety-producing. We imagine worst-case scenarios. Accepting the situation instead of ignoring it, and then taking steps to alleviate the problem, helps you move beyond anxiety.

Get Professional Help

It didn’t take long to realize our plumbing issues required professional help. We didn’t have the tools or the knowledge to fix the problem, and bottle drain cleaner was like a Band-Aid on a wound that needed surgery.

Once the plumber came and determined the problem, he called in additional help, and several hours later, our situation was resolved.

Maybe you are at a point where you need professional help for a life issue. Don’t wait any longer. With professional help, fear and anxiety are replaced with wisdom and action.

Deal with Dirt

Our plumbing problem was so complicated it required cutting the walkway and digging. A pile of dirt and an installation later, things are back to normal.

Sometimes, in life, you must dig some dirt to fix problems and regain forward motion. It may mean getting your hands dirty and making a bigger mess before you can clean up, but it’s worth the effort.

Enjoy Resolution

You don’t realize how much you depend on things functioning properly until they don’t. Once problems are resolved, don’t forget to give thanks, and enjoy the resolution. God doesn’t want our lives to be a series of messes and turmoil. He is willing to help us work through difficulty and discover resolution. Take steps today to address life situations that prevent you from experiencing peace and hope. Then move ahead with confidence.

“I have told you these things, so that you can have peace because of me. In this world you will have trouble. But be encouraged! I have won the battle over the world” (John 16:33 NIRV).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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  1. Amen. We all will experience trials and problems in life. When those times come, give thanks that we can go to the Father and seek peace. When resolution comes, give thanks to the Father for His unending love and mercy. Great message Candy.

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