We've all been stuck. The way we think something 'should' be is very different from the way it really is. The distance between the two creates a gap and we have no idea how to get from where we are to where we want to be.
Maybe you're stuck in your marriage, finances, spiritual growth, career, health, or even in raising your kids. These areas are so vast, that we can all relate to being stuck at one time or another. What you do while your stuck will determine whether you stay stuck or you break free.
You can't steer a ship that ain't moving. As long as you don't do anything about your situation you can be sure things will remain the same, or possibly even become worse. You have to do something. The big question is, what? What direction do you take? How do you know if it's the right one?
Before taking a step forward you need to have an understanding of what's really going on. When you approach an accident the first thing you do before calling 911 is assess the situation. You can't assess for too long though, otherwise you could miss a valuable opportunity to save a life. In the same way when assessing where you’re stuck you will have to follow it up with a first step. Doing nothing for weeks, months and sometimes even years could cause your ship to sink. You’ve got to assess, then address!
Ask yourself, "What's my situation? How did I get here?"
These questions can lead you to blame another person. Pointing the finger will only keep you stuck. You need to own your portion of the problem. Were there signs you ignored because you wanted to believe the best in another person? Or you were too afraid to confront the situation earlier? Did you avoid what was really going on in hopes that it’d disappear? Have you fallen into the trap of making impulse decisions without giving it more consideration and praying it through? Questions like these are not intended to blame and condemn. Rather they’re designed to help you become aware so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.
Next ask, "What’s keeping me stuck?"
In Beth Moore’s bible study called “Breaking Free” she shares 5 obstacles that also relate to being stuck.
The first obstacle is unbelief. Deep down do you believe God has a better plan and purpose for your life? What do you think of when you read scripture like:
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
Matthew 21:22 (NIV)
Do you believe it? Or do you instead find yourself saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it?”
Unbelief will keep you stuck every time. If you don’t yet believe ask God to help you to believe. The book of Mark shares a story of a man who brought his son to Jesus. His son was possessed by an evil spirit since his childhood. After trying everything and running out of options, he says to Jesus
"…If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
"If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes."
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Mark 9:22-24 (NIV)
The second obstacle is Pride. Are you always right? Do you feel you can do it better than anyone else or better on your own? Do you try to do it all on your own will before seeking God?
A proud heart precedes destruction, and before honor is humility
Proverbs 18:12 (VOICE)
Pride is one of the enemy’s schemes. The enemy knows how powerful God is. He will use any lie or deception to keep you stuck. His only tactic is lies. When you align yourself and walk in truth he is a defeated foe.
The third obstacle is Idolatry. Are you chasing after things of this world that can only offer temporary satisfaction while deepening the void inside? You can have everything you want and still not be satisfied. God created a holy dissatisfaction in us that only He can fill. Without this dissatisfaction, we’d have no need for Him.
What you idolize becomes your god. Maybe it’s your possessions, home, clothes, image, or success. These things stand between you and your full devotion to Christ and rather than fill you, they will empty you. As the word says:
Set your minds on things that are above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
The fourth obstacle is prayerlessness. Prayer is one way to talk with God and draw near to him. He already knows everything about us including our wants and needs. He is a loving God who will not push us to do anything. He simply waits until he’s asked. Sometimes what we want isn’t what’s best for us because our character isn’t quite developed enough to sustain it. God knows when we’re ready and provides our needs according to His will.
Know this: my God will also fill every need you have according to His glorious riches in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.
Philippians 4:19 (VOICE)
The fifth obstacle is Legalism. In general we like the law. It becomes our way of proving how good we are. However, not a single one of us has ever been able to keep the law. The law can instruct us, yet it cannot inspire us. God doesn’t want us to obey out of fear or from the mindset of, “I do for you so that you can do for me”. You cannot earn his love or his grace. He already gave it at all when he gave his son Jesus up for us.
There is nothing left for us to do but to accept his love and his grace and to fully receive him. Accepting Christ is a response to all that he is done for the sake of relationship with him, and not for what he can do for us.
I can’t dismiss God’s grace, and I won’t. If being right with God depends on how we measure up to the law, then the Anointed’s sacrifice on the cross was the most tragic waste in all of history!
Galatians 2:21 (VOICE)
Wherever you find yourself stuck, above all else, seek God. Ask him:
Where am I struggling with unbelief?
Where has pride consumed me?
What gets in the way of my full devotion to you?
How can I start or deepen my relationship with you in prayer?
How have I tried to earn your love and approval rather than fully receiving all that you've given to me?
Understanding where you’re stuck, and identifying obstacles that have kept you stuck is the first step in moving forward. In our next writing, we will discuss How To Get Unstuck.