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The Dilemma Bag for Life’s Problems

Do you sometimes wish for a dilemma bag? A place for stuffing all of life’s problems and hard times?

Some summers ago I participated in Plastic Free July, designed to help us reduce our plastic waste. Especially plastic packaging and single-use items. And though it may seem odd, it made me think of God’s care! “So,” you’re wondering, “what does plastic have to do with that?” (And no, I’ve not gone round the bend!)

The trash dilemma bag

Well, the interesting thing about this pledge was the ‘dilemma bag’, where all the unavoidable plastic got set aside for eventual recycling into useful items. An apt name, surely intended to help participants see plastic as a dilemma, in need of solutions.

Because much plastic is single-use items that end up in landfills. Only some gets recycled into durable things for long-time use. And plastic can only be recycled so many times anyway. Creating a dilemma for us and for the earth.

It was that bag that got me thinking. A dilemma bag for plastic (and other recycling) is a good idea. It can help us see the problem of trashing our earth. And remind us that recycling (though a minimal solution) is really a civic duty. Because then at least some of trash becomes useful items.

Life’s dilemma bag!

Life is a lot like that. Just as various types of trash come into our homes, all kinds of experiences enter our lives. Happy, tender, and joyful moments.

As well as sad, depressing, and desert-like times. Moments when we could use a dilemma bag! A place to stuff our problems and get rid of them. An escape from the confusion and the heaviness. 

But we don’t get a dilemma bag in life. There is no place to dispose of the hard times, the problems. We just have to accept them, deal with them, and carry on.

But God…

No irreverance intended, but in some ways God is like a dilemma bag. He is with us even in the bad times, when it seems life is overflowing with trouble and trash.

And while he may not remove these things, he takes all that seems grievous and harmful – and turns them into beautiful, useful things.

Into lessons that help us grow and change. That test our faith and help us trust him. That teach us compassion for others. That help us choose right living. And that little by little begin to change us into new creations in him.

Only God can take all the trash that comes into our lives and turn it into beautiful useful things for our hearts and souls!

Now I don’t know what dilemma you may be facing. But I do know that if you ask him to, the Lord will take all the trash it tries to bring into your heart (things like despair, depression, doubt, hate, fear, and unforgiveness), and turn it all into something good. Creating streams of new life in what seemed nothing but a desolate desert situation!

Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 WEB

I didn’t do too great at that plastic-free challenge for various reasons. But I’ve kept working on it through the years, and have made progress on diminishing my plastic dilemma. Now, if only I could get better at removing all the trash from my heart right away…

Images: Blue bag by Lucrezia Carmelos. | Bag graphic by sketchify.

By Signora Sheila

I am a wife, mom, nonna, blogger, and missionary in Italy. But really, I'm just an ordinary woman on a journey, trying to slow down enough to hear the still small voice of God and live for all that is truly important in this world.

9 replies on “The Dilemma Bag for Life’s Problems”

Thanks Linda! I love finding faith lessons in our simple, everyday lives. Ever since reading “The Practice of the Presense of God,” by Brother Lawrence – I’ve tried to working at finding God in all times, places, and experiences. I have found it life changing!

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Praise God He can take our trash and turn it all into good! I’m old enough to have accumulated some trash in my life (sometimes generated by someone else and given to me). But such circumstances prove what James wrote centuries ago: the challenges we face produce maturity and strength of character (1:2-4). That’s a worthy conclusion to press toward. (Help me to remember that, Father!)

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