Have you ever been stuck? You want to break free and make progress, but a helpless feeling pervades. Still, part of you knows there has to be an option to get unstuck. What a miserable place: feeling suspended, unable to maneuver, paralyzed to come up with a plan. Yet, in your heart, and with God’s help, you suspect you are able to get unstuck – somehow! You just don’t know how.
Realities of Being Stuck
Getting In Is Easier Than Getting Out
Getting locked into stuck patterns happens so easily. Going with the flow, riding the wave, thinking – “I’ve got this,” being blind-sided, fear of man, trying to please everyone, working too hard, even ignoring better decisions. Those (and more) can feed getting stuck. It’s so much easier to get stuck than unstuck.
For this one reason (easier to get in than out), it’s helpful to work on the front-end for success. Front-end work gives better success rates and prevents slipping into unhealthy patterns that keep people stuck. When a person is not working hard on the front-end, the door to get stuck is already open.
It’s Hard To Break Free
What do you do if you missed the front-end work, and now you are on the back-end? Stuck! When unhealthy patterns form in your life, it’s hard to admit. It’s even harder to break free. The path with least resistance is easier. So, what do you do?
Your life is a garden. Just as a plot of ground needs to be prepped for seeds or young plants, your life soil must be prepped to receive new habits or “young patterns.” It’s hard to break new ground that’s hardened. A well-travelled path needs a good tilling to break it up. This is exactly what you need to start to get unstuck.
So, three good questions to help you get started getting unstuck:
- What do you need to break up?
- Why not ask God to soften any hard paths in your life?
- What’s keeping you from partnering with God in His efforts to break up hard areas?
God wants to plant good seeds and new young patterns in your life. Ready to receive them?
How To Break Hard Areas
To break up hard, unyielding ground, even a powerful tiller “bounces” off at first. It takes some pretty radical action on the soil:
- Sharp tiller blades carve up hard expanses into big clumps.
- Big clumps are crushed into smaller clods.
- Clods are pulverized again and again until nothing is left but loose soil.
- New soil needs raking, fertilizing, mixing nutrients.
- Preparing soil means pulling weeds. It’s tedious, hard labor.
You have an enemy who wants to keep your life a hard path. He wants to keep you stuck. So, he works against your efforts. However, God wants you to be free, effective, and productive. The Bible says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.” (Gal. 5:1)
If you are willing to be broken – no longer denying or procrastinating – certain good things will happen inside you. A healthier person begins to emerge. Then you can plant new habits and patterns in your life.
Starter Points to Get Unstuck
Before you can engage the 7 steps (below) that get you unstuck, you need to commit to these starter points:
- The right mind-set. This means being alert and focused. Think well. Live well. Be well.
- A humble and honest heart sets you up for forward action.
- Choose a positive, can-do perspective. It really helps.
- Feed healthy patterns by committing to work hard and trust God.
- Remember, God loves you deeply. Your value is not in question.
- Write out your goals, action steps, even failures – and better ideas for next time. Fail forward.
- Enlist a trusted friend to walk with you, pray for you, encourage you. But don’t expect them to do your part.
- Pray sincerely. God honestly wants to help you get unstuck.
- Claim Scripture promises. Memorize for instant access. Meditate (picture practical application).
- Stomp your foot and determine to obey God’s lead. Partner with God. You can do this!
7 Steps That Get You Unstuck
There is no magic formula or secret fix to get unstuck. However, there are things you can do to turn a corner and gain successes. Here are 7 steps that help you take responsibility to get unstuck. Every one of these 7 steps must be done by prayer and relying on God’s power to give you strength. But He’s not going to do it for you. Your partnership with Him is critical to getting unstuck.
Here is the short list we will explore in depth next:
- Exercise courage.
- Be alert and focused.
- Engage your brain and make healthy decisions.
- Put energy into commitment.
- Don’t be self-focused.
- Total buy-in.
- Be still and calm to get free.
We talked about front-end work keeping you from getting stuck. But if you are already stuck, you still engage in front-end work. Believe it or not, front-end work prevents you from stuck, gets you out of stuck, and keeps you unstuck. Plus, by committing to front-end work, you form the habit of that approach for the future.
Here are the 7 steps explored in more depth.
Admit up front “this is where I am.” And – “this is going to be challenging.” Then choose courage. Please believe in the value of your life and God’s love for you. Courage means resolve to make good decisions and carrying out action steps – no matter how you feel. No matter what others say.
Courage is a front-end work toward success.
Be Alert and Focused
Cultivate awareness to what you are thinking each moment. Be alert to deeper patterns, excuses, justifications, etc. Go “toe-to-toe” with yourself, and call yourself out on these. Be hard on yourself in the right way, not the wrong way.
Focus on breaking up hard ground so you can have pliable soil in your life garden. Think solutions. Options. Possibilities. Prepare to be mentally and emotionally tired at the end of the day.
Alertness and focus form front-end work of channeling your choices and energy.
Engage Your Brain and Make Healthy Decisions
Force your mind to engage. Remember what you are doing and why. Confusion and fear don’t come from God. (2 Tim.1:7) Get stubborn about good stuff. Be hard on yourself in the right way. Examples: don’t let yourself slump into lazy habits. Refuse to listen to discouragement. Crush procrastination. Don’t give your ear to the usual justifications. Instead, use your brain to solve problems and make better decisions.
Making your brain work is the front-end work of an effective plan to get unstuck.
Put Energy Into Commitment
Once your brain is on board, get your body signed up. No matter how you feel, take “all of you” in the direction of your goals. This takes resolve. Set aside feelings that munch on your courage and determination. Put reminders on your device. Memorize and meditate on Scripture to help. Journal. Put creative energy into these commitments you are making.
Investing energy into commitment is front-end work to get unstuck.
Don’t Be Self-Focused
Sure, you need to get yourself in the game. But self-focus causes momentum to die. Instead, focus on what you are working to accomplish. Drill into well-thought action steps and the planting of new patterns. You’ve got to be involved. Your garden doesn’t get planted on its own. Your life matters for something bigger than you. Life is big, rich, and full. Remember there is good all around you. Step out of you, and don’t give in to self-absorption.
Refusing to be self-focused is the front-end work of living in the big picture.
You need total buy-in. Get all of you signed up! Better to fail trying than to fail to try. Failing forward is normal! There’s not a person on the globe who doesn’t fail. When you throw data from failure into your plan to get unstuck, you can learn a TON about yourself and about succeeding. Instead of trying to be perfect – just go forward! You must be resolved to get unstuck. Stomp your foot if you have to. Just do it.
Adopting total buy-in is the front-end work of resolve.
Be Calm And Quiet to Get Free
Being calm and quiet is a choice. It takes time to break free and get unstuck. It will seem like a fight at first. But that’s just you wrestling your will into place. Follow-through with steady perseverance. Soon you will notice strength and peace taking root and rising up. I would simply say – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6) Here’s an easy-to-remember unstuck Scripture – “I calm and quiet my soul.” (Ps. 131:2a)
Being calm and quiet is the front-end work to live in freedom.
You can get unstuck!
- He loves you.
- God knows how to help.
- He has the power to do it.
- His support is for you.
- Trust God and commit to starter points with resolve.
- Carry out the above 7 action steps to get unstuck.
- Don’t give up.
God values your freedom Do you? Enough to do the front-end work of getting and staying unstuck?
You Can Do This! Partner With God!