“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Slinky With a Soul

As as child, one of my favorite toys was my Slinky. Like a lot of kids, I just loved to set it at the top of our stairs and watch it "slink" its way down. Even more fun, though, (for me, anyway!) was trying to make "stairs" with my own hands. I would spend many contented minutes (or perhaps hours) playing with this "wonderful toy."

As an adult, I decided not long ago to provide my kiddos with the same fun, partly for nostalgia's stake, and partly because it is a relatively inexpensive and neat (i.e. only one piece!) plaything. So, I presented one to my eager daughter and son, being sure to teach them the two ways I had enjoyed playing with it. They took to it quite quickly.

I forgot something, however. Actually, it was more than one thing that I forgot. I didn't remember the frustration that could be caused by, well, misusing this classic toy. And, the cardinal error: I forgot to show my curious, inquisitive children how not to play with it. I neglected to mention that wrapping themselves up in it was not a wise use for a Slinky.

Not surprisingly, as a result, this wonderful toy became...well...not so wonderful.

slinky mess 2

It no longer walks down stairs (alone or in pairs). It is no longer fun. And no matter how hard I try (perhaps the picture above gives you an indication of just how much effort I did put into it), I just can't get it to look like--or work like--it once did. It is, in a word, useless.

You know, sometimes I feel like a slinky. No--not the intact one. More like the discombobulated version, jointly made that way by me and my children. I am moving along, doing things that please my "Divine Owner," then suddenly circumstances get me all tangled up. After a while, I feel like I am of no use to God. No matter how many hands try to straighten me out to make me look like new, I'm a mess--unable to be the person I'm meant to be. And even if I DO get somewhat straightened out (I've heard tales of people who actually HAVE managed to untangle a slinky), I'm all bent out of shape and almost certain to get tangled again.

Yet, I have a Master Craftsman who CAN fix me, and make me good as new. If I will only tap into the power of the Almighty God instead of my own weakness and paltry efforts, my brokenness can be repaired and I can again be a useful, unique creation for my Father. A functioning slinky, with a soul and heart for the Lord's work.


Heavenly Father, when I trust in my own power to get me out of my messes, it never works the way You want it to, if it even works at all. Help me, Lord, to trust in Your unlimited and unending strength and allow you to "untangle" me from the trials that come by. Help me to remember that I am, in fact, useless for You--unless I am getting the power to be useful from You. Thank You, Lord, for repairing my brokenness over and over again, and for making me a new creation. In The Precious Name of Jesus, who died for my imperfections and sins, I pray. Amen.


  1. I'm so glad He doesn't give up on us! We would have no hope if He did!

  2. I LOVE this blog, Jo! I wasn't patient enough to wait to see your picture but I do know a messed up Slinky from experience! Excellent way to tie it to our spiritual life. Great job, as always! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, my dear friend.

  3. I don't think we ever had a slinky last longer than a week. :) Great analogy - thank you Joanne!

  4. Wonderful post. I liked it for a couple of reasons. First, because I was there when the inspiration struck you. Second, because this is EXACTLY where I have been lately. I feel like I used to be this wonderful, put-together Slinky, and now I am just a big tangled up mess because I let me trials get the best of me. Your prayer at the end is my prayer today, and I will carry it with me as I do my best to turn over the tangles to God and let Him fix me up. Thank you for the encouragement, Joanne! It's what you do best. Your annoying optimism brings balance to my annoying pessimism. :)

  5. Perfect analogy Joanne. This happens with my jewelry a lot too! ;) I get all messed up and twisted just like this. So thankful for a God who puts me back in His form as I follow His directions to get out of it. You're a blessing.

  6. Boy, can I relate to this one, JoDear!! Perfect analogy!


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