Saturday, February 23, 2013

Help! I’m Stuck

Right now there are decisions that have to be made. They are time sensitive and somewhat complex. My friends that know me well know how difficult this can be for me. My tendency is to withdraw and suffer. If you were around me you probably wouldn’t notice since I have had a lot of experience at refining this skill.

There are all kinds of ways to get stuck.

One thing I have discovered is that stuckness usually affects others. You may be stuck, or others around you may be stuck. But either way you are affected. So what can you learn to do that will help?

  • First, do no harm. Like the Hippocratic Oath of physicians advises, don’t add to the problem by taking rash or foolish actions. Backing out of a dead end street is more difficult than driving into it. Often it is our mouths that react first. Words released cannot be retrieved.

  • Face the problem. Sometimes it’s even hard to admit that there really is a problem. We can’t fix what we won’t acknowledge exists. Or we try to minimize or ignore it. Usually it only gets worse. Try to brainstorm solutions. Focus on possibilities.

  • Ask for help. This is often hard, especially for us guys. We don’t like asking for directions. We don’t like to reveal vulnerabilities. Somehow it triggers shame. But we were not created to do life alone. 

  • Calm yourself. In difficult times we must practice self-soothing. If you are adding to the difficulty by imagining “worst case scenarios” (called awfulizing) it will only serve to keep you frozen.

  • Practice humility. Getting into a power struggle with someone will keep you stuck. It takes more strength to soften than to power up. Be the more mature person in an interpersonal struggle.

  • Press on through. This is often the biggest challenge. Discouragement can set in and make you want to give up when things don’t seem to be going well. Sometimes the darkest hour is right before the dawn.    

Stuck might last for only a little while or may feel like forever. Getting out of debt can be like that. So can grieving significant losses. You may be powerless to change the circumstances, but you can always choose the way you deal with the situation.

Please tell me how you have been stuck and what you did to alleviate the problem.

Deuteronomy 31:8(NIV)
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”


  1. Thanks for this, Dave. It is so practical and helpful! Something I can print out and use:)) )I recently read something from Dave Benner that gives three steps toward surrender. First, as you have said, acknowledge the emotion/problem. Second, welcome it in prayer as a way of validating the feelings, realities and all that God can do thru it. And, finally, letting it go, remembering what we do NOT have control over ,in gratitude to God for His complete, sovereign control over ALL in all and through all. :))) blessings! JudyV

    1. Thanks so much for this, Judy -- reminds me not to stress over things because God IS in control.