There are moments where I just feel stuck. I feel as if I am making no impact in the lives of those around me. As if my day to day job has become monotonous and purposeless. As if my going and coming is meaningless in a flow of “stuck-ness.” Have you ever felt that way before? Have you ever had the feeling that you are frozen or fixed in one place and can’t be moved? If you have, then that my friend is the feeling of stuck–ness.
While I don’t advocate remaining in stuck-ness, I have come to realize that even in seasons where we feel stuck, those moments are neither meaningless or purposeless. Many of us do not realize that our day to day living, monotonous being is impacting the lives around us. While to us our lives may seem simplistic and unappealing, to those watching they are being directly impacted. Think of it this way. Have you ever walked into a store only to be scared by a manikin? The manikin that scared you is the epitome of stuck-ness. They are frozen and forever fixed in the place they were positioned, yet they impacted your life. They scared or alarmed you. Similarly, we may be manikins in this world, yet we are impacting those around us.
While in seasons of stuck-ness what do you do? For the majority of us, we warmly welcome the season and grudgingly envy the lives of those around us. For some of you, you have simply accepted the fact that your life is stuck where it is and you’ve given no effort outside of your daily responsibilities. Can I tell you that your season of stuck-ness is just as important as your season of freedom. What you do in both impacts the lives around you. What you do in each season plays a part of your story. For some of us we’ve been stuck for a couple months to a year trying to find some direction in life. For others we may have been stuck for years or for the majority of our lives. What story will you leave behind?
In the bible the prophet Isaiah writes God saying,
Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.
The reason so many of us remain stuck is because we dwell in the state we are in. We’ve become comfortable with our going and comings not realizing we are making significant impact around us. We are going through life wishing away the current moment when the exact moments we are wishing away is what’s shaping who we are. We call ourselves Christians living a stuck life, internally screaming purposeless living and those around us can plainly see it. We try to hide behind smiles, nice clothes and our career that we are doing well, when in all honesty, we feel stuck. And while in our stuck-ness we do nothing about it. In fact, we encourage those around us that our state of being stuck is quite okay.
Here’s what I am trying to get to. While we will all have seasons that vary from the other, you were not meant to remain frozen in time. You were never designed to live the same year over and over again. While some days, months and maybe years it may be a fight for purposeful living, even in your state of stuck-ness we need not forget that what we do plays a key role in the story we leave behind and the testament we present before the God we serve.
The way you live today is a written portion of the history you leave behind. While we may feel as if our lives are monotonous, mundane, meaningless and maybe even purposeless, those around us see differently. They see a life that’s living and doing. We’d like to pretend we are minikin’s, when really we are simply living human beings frozen in our thoughts and intangible imagination. Your stuck-ness has purpose. What you do in your state of “stuck-ness” determines how long you remain there.
Fear is self-absorption. Ouch! I’m sorry but also not sorry if that offended you. I figured this out a couple of months ago when the days leading to wedding day became fewer each day that went by. Marriage stirred many fears in me like it does in any major life change. Well, if I am honest, change in general stirs fear inside this heart of mine no matter if it’s a big change or not, but that’s besides the point.
I was fearful I would fail. I was fearful of the unknown and I was fearful that this could possibly be the biggest mistake I would ever make in my life. It had nothing to do with my soon to be husband. I was neither doubting or second guessing his character and the knowing our marriage was God-founded. Rather, it had to do with my fears of the unknown. Not knowing can do some real psyche damage to you. We can also fear the unknown because of past hurts resurfacing when said major life changes is approaching. Fears are real. Only they are real not in the physical rather they are real in the unseen areas called our thoughts. We cannot hold fear with our hands. If we could, I would say quite a number of you, like me, would trample on our fears and say “be gone with you.” Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury to trample on our fears in the physical, but what we do have is much greater. Before I get into that, let’s dive into why fear is a form of self-absorption.
What is self-absorption? Simply put, it is the preoccupation with one’s own emotions, interests, or situation. Have you met someone that’s self-absorbed? It’s all about them. Everything is about them. They like to be the center of attention. They thrive knowing all eyes are on them. The world could be falling apart around them, but their “problem” or “victory” is far more important and they are much happier making that known than taking concern for those around them.
That’s not always how self-absorption looks though. For some of us, self-absorption is silent. That’s how self-absorption tends to present itself in me. It’s quiet on the outside and rather loud internally. It’s being consumed by what’s going on in your personal life that all outside conversation and happenings presents itself as white noise. We say we are listening to those around us when in actuality we have been consumed by our own fears that we do not truly hear those around us or can engage in our surroundings. Life is meaningless because our life has been consumed by something “greater”, fear.
Let’s get this straight. Fear isn’t all bad. Fear is what saves many of us from making the wrong move. It helps us not get hurt and saves us from the headache of getting out of trouble. Fear is good in keeping us safe. On the other hand, fear is unhealthy and often times detrimental when it consumes us to the point where we are crippled internally. Common fear triggers that cripple us internally are often found to be future events, imagined events and the unknown. All three, if we are honest with ourselves, are intangible and essentially “made up.” Don’t get me wrong. I have my fair share of fears that feels very real. It can be hard to convince me otherwise, but when I am honest with myself I know that these fears are what I’ve convinced myself are real because I’ve allowed myself to become consumed by the “thought” that my fears are reality.
Why do we do that? Why do we give fear the power to control how we live? Why do we allow the unknown to cripple us? Yeah that’s right, we give it the power. We allow it to consume us. We tell fear they are in control. We say to it, they are the gods. Fear is one of those things that we’ve made ourselves to believe it’s impossible to let go of. We’ve convinced ourselves that they are more powerful than anything else. We’ve convinced ourselves of a lie. And we’ve actively been living in it.
Can I share something with you? One of the greatest disservice you can do to yourself is allow a lie to become your reality.Let that sink in for a moment. What lies have you been believing? What have you allowed to consume you and have become self-absorbed by that you cannot truly live and enjoy life? What lie have you believed that has held you back in life? I will admit, it’s hard to get out of the rut of uncertainty and the known. It’s hard to quit believing something we’ve convinced ourself is truth.
From a biblical perspective, Jesus says to cast all our cares (aka fears) to Him. In other words give it Him. He didn’t say this to mock you. Rather, He knew that some of us would greatly struggle with fears and we would need to hand these over in order to not allow them to become our gods. We know as Christ followers we should have no other gods or idols. Being self-absorbed by our fears we are unconsciously giving it (fear) the throne of kingship and god over our life. We’ve removed Jesus as our sole devotion to something that is unknown and ultimately a lie.
How do you cast your fears and hand them over to Jesus? Practically speaking, by first admitting we’ve allowed fear to become the god of our thoughts and living. And secondly, seeking God through prayer and devotion — daily praying for complete freedom. That you may only believe God’s truth and not the lies of fear.
I don’t want to dismiss that mental health is real and fear can distort our mental wellbeing. In that regard, there are practical steps you can take that can help you shift from fear to faith coupled with seeking Jesus. A big step is asking for help. I am a full believer in seeking godly counseling. Counseling has helped me walk through many seasons of change. You’re not crazy for seeking counseling. If you’re like me, who grew up where Christianity said counseling is for the mentally crazy, please forgive the church and their false teaching. Proverbs 11: 14 states,
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Side note:There are a plethora of biblical references that support counseling. When you have some time, I challenge you to do some digging for yourself.
We need counseling. Each of us do. Whether you know it or not, you currently have someone counseling you. Sadly today, our advice and counseling have been from scrolling through our phones and staring at a television screen. Counseling is important. Who’s counseling is even more important. By seeking counseling doesn’t translate to you being demon possessed or evil. Counseling means you are human. And in our humanity, we need godly counsel.
If you’ve allowed yourself to become self-absorbed by fear, I challenge you to seek Jesus and seek counseling. There’s freedom and liberation in living fearless. You choose to give power to fear or trampling over it and saying to fear, no more. I am rooting for you friend. You can do it. All it takes is you making the first step. Living outside of the lie is difficult, but every step you take becomes increasingly easier as you actively choose truth. Don’t believe me? Try for yourself.
What fear have you believed to be truth? How has this held you back? What are you going to give Jesus today and exchange for freedom?
Psalm 91 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Have you ever hurt yourself before? Maybe you fell and wounded you knees. It may have been someone else that hurt you. A car accident, accident on the play ground or just a fluke thing. Think back on a moment where you physically got hurt. When we get hurt, our immediate response is to fix what is damaged or broken. You break your arm, you get it checked out and placed in a cast in order to not have lasting effects of an unmovable and incapable arm. A part of your body gets cut open, you apply pressure to the wound and get stitches in order to avoid bleeding out and infection. When we are physically hurt, we know the importance of healing and healing properly. When we are hurt emotionally though, we lack the courage and strength to address these types of hurt. A lot of the times it’s not because we don’t know how to gain healing, rather healing emotional pain can be the most painful. I’ve learned that if we don’t heal what hurt us, we will bleed on people who didn’t do the hurting. And eventually, we will remain wounded and crippled.
I can be very stubborn. Especially when it comes to healing. So much so I’d rather keep going injured than taking the time needed to heal. A couple years ago, I sprained my LCL. My knee was swollen and puffed up like a water balloon. Walking was excruciatingly painful and bending my knee was simply not an option. I was told to ice, rest and elevate my injured knee. Most importantly, to take caution in order to prevent re-injury to the ligament during it’s healing.
The doctors order translated to me as, weakness and control. Surly all his orders were not necessary. Today I live to tell the story that they were indeed necessary because had I listened, I would not have the difficulty I face when running long distances or being on my feet for long extended periods of time. My rejection to healing has caused re-injury and pain bleeding into other parts of my leg because of that knee injury. Stubbornness doesn’t pay much other than being a learning lesson to everyone else.
Many of us are bleeding our pain unto others because we’ve failed to seek healing. Our hearts have been punctured by someone that we then walk around bleeding our pain on those who never hurt us. Failure to address and seek healing in emotional pain, only leaves you crippled, injured and more prone to re-injury. A lot of times the reason we hurt so easily is because we’ve been carrying childhood hurt. Carrying childhood hurt has made us wounded adults, bleeding on people. And those same people we are bleeding on, we unfortunately place the pressure on them to clean up the mess we’ve made from bleeding our hurt everywhere. It’s a rippling effect.
Any type of healing can be extremely painful. I’ve experienced the uncomfortableness of physical healing when a cyst was removed from my lower back and the only way to heal properly was to leave a hole in my back and have a nurse dress the wound (that is to clean and apply salt and water to the wound) daily for 3 months or until my the wound no longer remained a wound. The healing process made me sick to my stomach. Let me tell you. Having someone clean a fresh wound daily is no joke. Then to add salt and water to the wound didn’t make it any easier. It felt as if they were scratching my flesh and burning it. Even typing this up is making me sick. The healing was uncomfortable and painful. Had a nurse not cleaned and dressed my wound daily, the wound would have become infected and that infection could have bled into other areas surrounding it.
You see, healing is not simply a means to make something as if it never happened. I have a scar on my lower back that reminds me of two things:
A cyst that crippled my lifestyle for almost a year.
Healing and God’s faithfulness.
The latter of the two is most important. Just because my body has healed, it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten that experience or the pain that went with it. Healing does however, allow us to live freely and in strength. No longer do we walk hunched over in pain, but we can walk confidently and boldly. We are not prone to re-injury when healed, rather when a similar pain comes around, we have the right tools to help us address the hurt, “dress” the hurt and gain healing.
If you find yourself bleeding your hurt on someone that didn’t hurt you, it’s time to apply pressure to the wound for the bleeding to stop and then dress the wound with salt and water. While I wish we can do this with emotional hurt, what we can do is apply pressure to the wound by unpacking the hurt you’ve been carrying around. Like a cup filled with infirmity, we need to empty out every feeling you’ve ever held towards whatever it is that hurt you. Lay it all out in the open. Cry and scream at the top of your lungs if need be. Once you’ve gotten rid of all the infection, you can then start dressing the wound with salt and water of God’s word. Whether you believe Jesus is real or not, try it for yourself. Find scripture verses about hurt and pain and read those daily. Alongside that, you may need to ask someone for forgiveness, ask yourself for forgiveness and clean areas in your life that you’ve allowed yourself to bleed on. Like physical healing, this doesn’t just happen in one day. This requires daily practice. It may take quite some time to fully heal, but once you’ve healed, then that’s when you can live out your healing.
Many of us are walking around bleeding our pain on others. We fail to address the wounds we have and have been living for years a crippled life. Our attitude is crippled, our language is crippled and the way we look at life has been crippled. Failure to heal opens the doors for re-injury and immobility of areas in our lives we’ve neglected. I want to challenge you to seek healing. It may be something from childhood, or it may be something more recent. It may be something you did to yourself that you’re ashamed of and never addressed or walked through. Don’t keep living in pain from unaddressed hurt. You may not realize it, but you are bleeding your hurt on people around you that never did the hurt. I challenge you today to address the wound, dress the wound and walk in freedom. It’s up to you!
Are you bleeding your hurt on people who never did the hurt? If so, how can you make steps towards healing today?