Are You Stuck?
I continued along the route I take everyday from work and even though I saw the utility truck enter the tunnel, there were no warning signs to alert us of any delays, so, myself along with many others followed behind. To our dismay, the truck stopped at the other end, being the exit, and got out of his truck and began working on the lights above. There we were…. stuck! We waited for twenty minutes and then a police officer came from behind and had us back out of the tunnel and turn around. Somehow the utility truck made it to the tunnel before the officer got there to block the entrance behind him.
In the scenario above, we were physically stuck inside that tunnel, but chances are, you, like me, understand what it is like to be stuck in life. Some things in life are harder to deal with than others and I can promise you I don’t make light of them. To simply tell another soul to just get over it, would be nothing more than a poor lack of judgement, misunderstanding and immaturity on my part. What I can offer are some insights and promises from God’s word to help you recognize the areas where you may be stuck and to help your grow in your faith in these areas.
Identify Where You Are Stuck
First, before you can move forward in your spiritual growth, you will need to recognize the area of your life that is stuck. It could be that you are harboring unforgiveness for someone who may have wronged you in the past. Maybe you haven’t had an opportunity to grieve the loss of a loved one in an appropriate matter. This happened to me. I was so young when my father passed, I simply pushed all my feelings aside and dug into life and moved ahead full force, but eventually the grief caught up with me. I grew up, but my heart was still that of a little girl missing her father. It could be that your heart has grown bitter over a broken relationship. There are times when we simply need to apologize for our wrong doings to another person to reestablish a healthy relationship. These are just a few examples of areas in our lives where we may become stuck. The list could go on and on. The important thing is that you take some time to evaluate your own heart and if you feel your are stuck, ask God to show you where. He will honor that because God is a God of redemption and healing and building and restoring His relationship with you, and, sometimes others.
When we enter into a relationship with Christ, we embrace a life that is always ushering us forward. It is the only direction to go with Christ. He doesn’t want us to turn back to our old ways, our old lives and bad habits. He calls us to embrace a life that pursues Him, His truth and His ways. In order for us to move forward with Christ, we must learn about Him through His word. He will not leave us where we are. This very fact may be the reason you began to recognize you are stuck. Before God moves us, though, He calls us to a life of righteous and godliness. That means doing life His way. So if we become stuck, He wants us to deal with it with Him.
Five Truths to Help You Become Unstuck
Repentance is the first step in the process of going from stuck to unstuck so you can once again experience spiritual growth. If you have sinned, recognize first and foremost, it is against God and the repenting that needs to take place is to Him alone. Once you have repented, then trust God has honored that and move forward. Listen for God’s direction and ask if there is anything you need to do to make things right, or if there is anyway God wants to use you so others see your restoration and God gets the glory for what He has done in your life. See Matthew 4:17 and Psalm 103:11-12.
Forgiving others or simply forgiving yourself is another place to begin the process of healing and moving forward in your daily walk with Christ. Is there someone you need to forgive? Have you made a commitment to God to do so? If not, then I urge you to be honest with God, because He already knows all anyway and He knows your heart. Be honest about your struggle with forgiveness and ask for His help. Forgiveness starts with making a choice to forgive. It is hard. It must become something you are willing to work on daily, at least for a while until it begins to filtrate your heart and then it will become easier to do. Say it out loud. Write it down daily if need be. Today I am making the conscious choice to forgive____ for _____. Make a commitment not to talk about what was done to you, or in any negative way mention the person you are forgiving. Doing so, just keeps it fresh in your heart and then you will hear everyone’s else’s opinion as to why you shouldn’t forgive them. It prolongs the battle and opens the door for confusion in your heart and mind. If it is someone you are in close relationship with and see them daily, make a choice not to mention it again to them. Write it on a piece of paper and commit it to God and then tear it up and throw it away, so it is gone out of site and out of mind.
Reconciliation is the act of restoring a relationship. To begin again with a fresh start. Jesus came so He could reconcile us with God. He took all our wrongs, (sins) and makes us right in God’s eyes. When we repent, we are reconciled with our heavenly father. Sometimes our lives need to be reconciled with others who have wronged us. Forgiveness and reconciliation go together, however, you can forgive without reconciling, but, you can’t reconcile without forgiving. Forgiving may be easier if that person isn’t here on earth any longer to carry on a relationship with, but for those who are, forgiving means we may need to reconcile as well so we are continuing in an authentic relationship with them. It’s easier said than done. Sometimes it means confessing to them and asking for their forgiveness, if, we are the ones in the wrong. Sometimes it means saying those hard words, I’m sorry, I was wrong. God loves people and He calls us to love others as well. He is all about reconciling relationships for His glory.
Surrendering those areas and those people we will not, or, cannot reconcile with is a big part of letting go so we can grow. I struggle in this area probably more than the others. Once I go through the repenting, and the forgiving, I find I have the desire to reconcile, at times, only to be rejected! Ouch! You may not see it coming, but scripture tells us in Proverbs 21 verse 1 it is God who can change another’s heart. It is a risk, but if God has brought us to the place of forgiving another, it is for our benefit and gain and not their’s. It hurts when we want to restore the relationship, but the other party isn’t willing to forgive and reconcile. At this point, we have nothing left to do, but to surrender them to God and trust in His sovereignty. He sees the big picture and there are most likely reasons we cannot phantom, but, it’s probably for our own protection.
Acceptance means letting go and trusting God has it all figured out. This step takes practice as well. It is a daily thing to accept we are where we are for a reason and only God understands completely. God is sovereign and He has been there since the very beginning and He will be there in the end and scripture tells us in Philippians 1:6 He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Our lives and all that enters in never catches God by surprise. They may catch us off guard and take the very breathe from us, but, God was already there and He is there in our future also.
Simply growing in your faith where you are stuck takes courage and faith. Take heart and believe God is there to help you and He desires for you to move forward with Him. Scripture tells us in John 16:33 ” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
My prayer for you is that you will seek God and allow Him to show you where you are and give you a glimpse of hope for the future He longs for you to have with Him. I pray that you will let go of all that is holding you back and embrace God’s grace for this journey and ask Him to show you the way. He is near and wants you to reach out to Him through faith and trust Him. God Bless.