I heard a woman on a call-in radio show the other day. She began to share her story before asking a question, as most callers do. One claim after another stated how everything was happening to her. How people wouldn’t call her back. How the church wouldn’t acquiesce to her expectations and do Bible studies when she wanted them. How when she needed help, people wouldn’t reach out to her and she didn’t think it was right for her to have to call them.
She sounded stuck. Helpless. A victim of circumstances and her world.
While her statements may seem extreme to some of us, could it be we have had similar thoughts running through our minds too?
“If only they…”
“Well, she/he should have…”
“I can’t because of this, that, and the other thing.”
“There’s nothing I can do.”
YOU CAN BEGIN
It’s hard to know where to begin when we’re feeling stuck, because we often believe we can’t begin at all. We don't believe we have anything within us to begin again. What we do have, which makes it possible for us to take action, comes from God. With God we are more than conquerors.
Christ followers are not victims of life but victors with His life indwelt in us.
When we try to use up our resources without God, we will wear out, wear down, and dry out.
When we seek His ways, His plan, and His timing, we get what we need from the source. Living water flows freely and it never runs empty.
Maybe the first step to getting unstuck is to be reminded that we can. We can begin. Somewhere. Even the smallest of steps helps to get the gears of momentum moving so real change can take place.
Too often we hear the enemy telling us that the step we want to take is too small, insignificant, and not worth it. Telling us we shouldn’t bother and maybe our idea is ridiculous. This woman sounded like someone who had replayed these lies over and over for decades. Maybe you have too?
When we feel resistance to do the things which are healthy, and that resistance is accompanied by thoughts which make us feel shame, condemnation, and guilt, it’s likely coming from the enemy.
We need to stand up and oppose the tactics of the enemy and his lies about what we can and can’t do.
Face the one who feeds your fears with the God who sustains your faith. Faith which comes from hearing his word and believing it to be true.
CHOOSE TO ACTIVATE YOUR FAITH
When I’ve spent days, weeks, and even years crying over the things which had happened in my life, I prayed for rescue. I knew God was my protector. I knew he could deliver and defend. I knew he was capable of saving me from the pain.
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:1-2
What I didn’t know was that God’s way of helping would look far different than what I expected.
Any time we place our expectations for change based on what we presume God should do, rather than waiting, watching, and trusting what He intends to do, we become disappointed. This disappointment fuels discouragement, which fuels our stuckness.
What I wanted most was for God to make things stop happening to me because I thought I couldn’t handle anymore. I was falling apart internally which eventually exhibited itself externally. At various points in my life the evidence was seen through self-harm, an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression.
I’d cry out, “God, can’t you please just make this stop? Make the pain go away? Make this situation change? Just stop!”
In my desperation I found myself waiting on God to act when God had other plans. He was asking me to act based on what he’d already given me. When I leaned in close enough to hear what the Spirit was speaking to my heart, I heard this, “I’ve already given you what you need.”
Bit by bit, I’ve taken steps which required trusting in what God had empowered in me already.
Some of these steps sounded like speaking up when I needed to, being quiet when I longed to be anything but, and trying new things which exposed more vulnerability while requiring greater trust.
What do you believe about what God can do? What do you believe about the power of God to equip you? About the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead you?
What we believe impacts how we live. We might think we believe something, but our actions tell a different story. Our lives may not bear the fruit of these beliefs because we haven't taken active steps of faith.
Activating our faith happens when God's word speaks to our hearts, we choose to believe it, then we act in ways which line up with what we say we believe. Not in a way that coerces God to act on our behalf, but in a way that says we trust what God is doing no matter what.
God’s way of rescue and deliverance is often completely different than what we want or expect. Rather than plucking us out of trials and hard circumstances, we are often allowed to walk through them so that our faith can be tested, activated, and grown.
Even when those steps are so small they feel unimportant, they are incremental movements towards the heart of God. As faith activates, those who think they were helpless learn where their help comes from and how powerful His help is.
Activated faith says, "Even when I can't, God can. I'm going to live like I believe it."