Have you ever felt like you were stuck because of a decision that you made? Are you in a job that you hate but unable to leave? You’re in school working on your master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation, and you have writer’s block and are discouraged about the direction of your current chapter. How about this, you’re in a toxic and dysfunctional relationship that you know is not working, but you can’t seem to let it go. Or you’ve broken up with your significant other, and you can’t seem to stop reminiscing on the good times you two shared. You are stuck, unable to move forward, even though your partner has moved on to someone else. Does it feel like life is passing you by, and you are just an onlooker? Studies show that 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routine, and only 3 out of 10 people are happy with their lives.
If I can be honest, I have felt stuck in various aspects of my life in the last two years. At work, I was overworked and under-appreciated. I questioned my confidence while writing my dissertation. I was living in an apartment that I didn’t like, and my relational life was non-existent. I was stuck, and I knew something needed to change, but I wasn’t sure exactly how to do it. It wasn’t until I realized the fear of complacency was holding me captive. I reached a point that change had to happen. I prayed for clarity and for certain things to happen if he wanted me to leave, and sure enough, they happened. I moved back to my home town, and it was the BEST THING FOR ME. Right now, I am living every day by faith. Was I nervous when I decided to leave? Yes. I could not allow any more excuses to hold me captive.
I am reminded of the man at the Pool of Bethesda in John 5. This man was stuck by this pool for 38 years, waiting for an angel to come down, touch the water so he could be the first person to step in and be healed from his infirmity. There was a problem, each time the water was stirred, someone else got in before him. One day, Jesus sees him lying by the pool and asks him if he wanted to be made whole. The man starts giving excuses as to why he couldn’t be made whole instead of saying yes. He was so comfortable being stuck that he initially refused when he was offered the opportunity to change. Jesus then challenges him to change by telling him to pick up his mat and follow him. With no more words, the man made another choice and got up and started walking. There comes the point in our lives that we have to make a decision and move on get ourselves unstuck no matter how comfortable we’ve become. There are greater things for you to accomplish.
So, I ask you, do you want to be unstuck? Or are you willing to be comfortable being stuck in the same place you’ve been in?
Here are five ways to remain unstuck:
1. Name the source of what is keeping you stuck. Take a moment, close your eyes, breathe, and ask yourself, What is keeping me stuck? Sit in the silence and listen for the answer. By naming the emotion that is keeping you stuck will help you identify the event that caused the roadblock in the first place. Ask yourself, “What happened that caused me to feel (the emotion)?”
2. Take your Power Back! You can take your power back by removing all the excuses used to justify why you are stuck. Create positive affirmations that describe what you believe about yourself. The affirmations can be I AM statements, quotes, scriptures, song lyrics, or movie quotes. Place your affirmations strategically around your home, room, cell phone, or computer so that you can recite them to build your confidence and encourage you to move forward.
3. Forgive yourself. To let go of past failures, you must FORGIVE YOURSELF. Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether or they deserve forgiveness or not. The act of forgiveness may be difficult, especially if a person harbors anger towards themselves. I’ve found that anger gives a person a sense of control in a situation wherein they have felt powerless. Some believe that their anger is a form of punishment for their behavior. The benefit of personal forgiveness releases you from any guilt, shame, blame, or condemnation that surrounds your wounded heart.
4. Move on. Once you release yourself from the emotional bondage of disappointment, you can move on by turning your attention to what you CAN DO instead of what you CAN’T DO. Make a list of attainable goals that you will complete now that you are confident and ready to fulfill your dreams. Know that what is coming is better than what’s in your past.
5. Make another choice. You may encounter another temptation to reengage the feelings of hesitation, fear, doubt, and worry and begin questioning if you can do this; instead of giving in to those feelings and getting stuck again, I challenge you to make another choice. Put into action everything you’ve learned, so you pass the test and accomplish the goals you have set for yourself.
I encourage you to create a plan to gain freedom in the areas you feel stuck in. By creating a plan, you can properly execute your ideas by incorporating new practices and principles. You are also giving yourself the grace to try again. When you try again, it indicates that you are courageous and bold to step out on faith. Heb. 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance (or assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen. Lean into your faith when tempted to remain stagnant.
You have so much life to live. There are things on your to-do list and goals to reach on your vision board. Before this moment, you may not have had the urgency to fulfill the dreams but now, get ready to live. You still have books to write, degrees to receive, businesses to start, children to birth, promotions to receive; the sky is the limit. Sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option. Become desperate to fulfill your destiny. You can do it!