Feeling stuck is a unique experience for everyone, but it always includes the vague, unsettling realization that the life you are living doesn’t look like what you expected.
This might mean feeling a lack of clarity, hope, motivation, identity, or purpose. Or it might be a frustrating plateau in your personal, professional, or spiritual development.
Though the feeling is different for each person, we will all experience feeling “stuck” as we go through life in our fallen world. Here are four ways to know if you are stuck—and how to find a gospel-centered way to break through those challenging times!
A GROUNDHOG DAY SITUATION
Does your life feel like you are running on a hamster wheel, where each day is eerily similar, and your motivation seems to disappear into the mundane routines you’ve lapsed into? Maybe you feel stuck, much like Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day.
How to get unstuck:
- Spend time evaluating where specifically you are stuck. Is it a relationship, your job, your health, or your faith? Until you can prayerfully identify what needs to change, you will not find the breakthrough your heart desires.
- After you determine what needs to change, write down the list of excuses for why it cannot change. Evaluate your list of excuses to see which of them you can overcome. Small, focused action can bring immediate progress. If your education is holding you back, take a class online to learn a skill. If you cannot make it to the gym, commit to a YouTube fitness program from your living room.
- Finally, you will need to leverage these small, focused actions into a change of your routines. Take a walk at lunch, work from a new location, or grab dinner from a new restaurant for date night. Shaking up your routines will help lend a new perspective. Then pick out simple, actionable ways to move yourself towards forward momentum in the area where you feel stuck. If you start with building small new habits, you will soon find it much easier to stack other habits on top of them, helping you to get things rolling in the right direction.
No matter how stuck you are feeling today, Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 is an important reminder that no season lasts forever. It says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (NIV). Each season will bring unique challenges and opportunities, but you can cling to God’s promises of rhythm and restoration.
THE COMPARISON TRAP
Endless scrolling on social media, peeking over the fence, or otherwise expending effort on “keeping up with the Jones” leads to a lack of contentment. You’ll find your own creativity and discipline wanes as your effort is trapped in the cycle of comparison. Sound familiar? If so, you are stuck in a comparison trap.
How to get unstuck:
- Remember your why. Reconnect with what you love about your career. Reflect on why you married your spouse or what attracted you to your house. This reflection should remind you of your original vision for your life and can help you to break through to what God has next for you.
- Practice biblical self-care rooted in gratitude. God created us and wants us to live purpose-filled lives, but we must accept that we are limited creatures in need of refreshment. Slowing down our pace and practicing gratitude will lead to fresh ideas and inspiration to get unstuck while also helping us to appreciate the good parts of our current situations.
A PERFECTIONIST’S DILEMMA
If you are waiting for the perfect time to make your big move, write your book, or finish your project, you’ll be waiting forever. As Christians, we must come to terms with the fact that perfectionism is often a mask that is hiding our deeper sin issues of pride, desire for acceptance, and fear of rejection. The gospel is an invitation to freedom, enabling us to explore and cultivate the world around us for God’s glory.
How to get unstuck:
- Do something. Now. Instead of waiting for the perfect plan, begin down any path and start to see how God may use your small steps of faith to lead you out of being stuck.
- Break your overwhelming projects into smaller tasks and use the Pomodoro Technique (bursts of focused work time, each lasting twenty-five minutes) to see progress, not perfection.
- Confess your perfectionist tendencies and ask God to reveal your deeper insecurities. Ask him how he might want to heal those insecurities and what truth he might want to offer you instead.
WHEN HOPE FOR THE FUTURE IS LOST
When you find yourself without hope for the future, the present can feel pretty dark. If you feel like your marriage will never get better, you are in a dead-end job, or you’ll never achieve your goals, scripture reminds you that you are not alone—and there is hope! In Psalm 73:26, Asaph, a director of music for King David, cries out, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (NIV).
How to get unstuck:
- Remember that God is in control. Simply by calling on God to help you relinquish control, you’ll begin to see new ways through your current struggle.
- Consider what in your current season God might be using to prepare or transform you.
- Find a coach or mentor to come alongside you. Christ-centered mentors will point you to God’s promise of hope and help you find your next steps.
Jesus came to give us life to the full. By rooting our identity in him, we can discover hope for a future full of possibility. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (NIV) Our prayer is that you can get unstuck to discover all that God has for you.
To take another step in getting “unstuck,” learn the biblical basis for mentoring and how this practice can help you to improve time management, determine work-life boundaries, overcome insecurities, and endure the ups and downs of life.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.