Growing up, I thought my life would turn into something spectacular. I thought things were going well for me and I was beyond blessed. I had married the man of my dreams – a strong Christian who was the worship leader of the church I went to at the time. But, one day, I woke up, and that life was over. My husband had an affair and decided he no longer wanted to be a part of the family we had created, leaving me with a 15 month old and weeks away from giving birth to our second child. With just the blink of an eye, my world came tumbling down. Before I knew it, I was a divorced single mom with two kids, still in school working on my Bachelor’s, no income of my own, homeless, and no way out. For a while, I was blessed with loving family members who provided my kids and me with a place to live while I finished my degree and adjusted to life as a single mom. But, all too quickly, that came to an end. Despite constant and tiresome effort to find a job, I have had no luck and I was at a loss as to what I was going to do. Nonetheless, I persevered and somehow have managed to survive – even if it is not the life I want or ever intended on having.
I thought that with the new year, and with it, finishing my Master’s degree, that my life would start to turn around for the better. That I would finally find a good job and be able to provide for my kids the way they deserve. However, I feel more stuck now than ever before. I find myself feeling like my life is stagnant, lacking passion and hope, my options in life ceasing to feel limitless. I have hit a brick wall that I cannot seem to find my way around. Soon, I began to notice that this feeling of being stuck was breeding a negative mindset all the way to the depths of my soul thus creating a resistance to life all together. I realized I was feeling stuck because of several false beliefs: thinking I had to be perfect; that it was my responsibility and duty to please everyone else; that I lacked the resources to pursue my dreams; thinking I was forced to remain in the presence of people who are unhealthy for me; that I had to be everything to everyone. But, these things are lies straight from Satan himself. He was filling my heart and mind with these deadly misconceptions thus destroying my life and my ability to move forward. That is when I decided, something has to change.
I had dug myself into the circular groove that I could not find my way out of. When I decided things had to change, I realized there was no sense in digging deeper into the groove I had stuck myself in and instead had to take a completely new approach to change the way I perceived things. Reality was, I had the power to persevere and move forward no matter the obstacles that seemed to be blocking my path. Within me lies the ability to live up to my highest potential and the greatest version of myself. Indeed, I have the strength to follow through and make progress towards my goals in life – and I have this power because, at the end of the day, I have the CHOICE!
First, I had to come to the realization that this feeling of being stuck is JUST a feeling, it is NOT fact, and I must acknowledge and accept the feeling of being stuck. Being stuck is a feeling that comes from within. Therefore, I must examine how I am feeling, what I am thinking, and how I plan to respond. My life is my responsibility. While I cannot always change what is surrounding me on the outside, I do have the power to change my perception of it. The humor of it all, when I changed the way I looked at things, I began seeing changes in the things themselves.
Feeling stuck is also a sign that it is time to make a change. This change may be a change of heart, a change in perspective, and/or a change in habits. Nevertheless, the reality is, what I am currently doing is clearly no longer working. With this awareness, it became clear that feeling stuck also serves a spiritual purpose in my life. Just like with all times of stillness, there is fertile ground available for transformation to take place and therefore feeling stuck is an invitation to grow. It is a time for introspection and reflection that should not be wasted. Just because I do not feel like my life is going anywhere, does not mean God is not at work. So, I decided to not underestimate this time in my life where I feel like things are not moving forward and instead I changed my perception and started viewing this “stuck” feeling as a time in which God is preparing me for growth and change. Even if I do not feel like there is change occurring in my life, the reality is, God is constantly working in my life, which means there are changes being made within me even if I am unaware of them at the time. Thus, what is occurring WITHIN me is just as important, if not more important, than what is happening THROUGH me.
Lastly, and probably the most important realization, I decided I am not as stuck as I think. The truth remains, we are always constantly changing. I do not know a single person who is the exact same as they were six months ago. In some way, some aspect of our lives – our perception, our job, our location, our beliefs, our goals – we have changed. This reality means we are not as stuck as we may feel. Take comfort in the fact that the biggest breakthroughs we experience in our lives often come after a period – long or short – of feeling stuck. This is why feeling stuck for a period of our lives is sometimes necessary. So, embrace it. When things appear to be at their worst, that is probably the ideal time to be at your best. When you cannot take a big step forward, simply take a small one – tip-toe if you have to. Just keep on reminding yourself that you are strong enough to take the next step no matter what size it is and that this step is the only one that matters in the moment.