Monday, June 29, 2009

On feeling stuck...

Last night Paul and I came home from Sunday Evening Bible Study and spent the next couple of hours discussing feeling stuck - well, me feeling stuck. Those weren't the words I used exactly, but that's the jist of it. I feel as if in my quest for sanctification and Christlikeness, I've reached a stalemate. I have certain attitudes that cause me no end of trouble. I pray, I read Scripture, I rebuke them, I replace them with proper attitudes. But back they come. It's like that wacky arcade game where the bug heads pop up and you're supposed to wack them with mallets before they duck back down. But this game is not fun, and if I miss the nasty bugs people around me get hurt. This is why I found such great comfort in the quote I posted in my previous blog entry:

“The longer I live the less optimistic I am that I will end without sin and the more grateful I become for the blood of Christ imputed to me. As I grow older I do not feel myself becoming gloriously holy but I find myself feeling great love for the gospel.”

- John Piper
It's good to be reminded you're not alone in your struggles. That even a man as notable in our day as John Piper, struggles just like we do. Sometimes we seem to one another like we've got our acts together, and granted, at any one time or another, one or the other of us will have things more together than someone else - at least in one area of our lives or another. And, of course, we want our acts together. We want to be Christ-like - to be perfect as He is perfect. And that day WILL come. It will come when we see Him face to face. The problem comes, when we get to thinking we've arrived, that we've attained perfection or something close to it in the here and now, or when we leave others with the impression that we have. None of us has reached sinless perfection in any single area of our lives! Not one of us. Not one single area of our lives. We need to remember that and be honest about it, for our own sakes and the sake of those around us.

Now, back to feeling stuck. Perhaps you too are feeling stuck in some area of your walk with Jesus. Don't pretend you're not stuck. Don't plow on as if you were really making progress when you're not. Stop and look to Jesus.

Here are some words of encouragement I found in my reading this morning, once again from Messy Spirituality, by Michael Yaconelli:
"...getting stuck is the prerequisite to getting unstuck.

Getting stuck is a great moment, a summons, a call from within, the glorious music of disaffection and dissatisfaction with our place in life. We get stuck when we want to change but can't, when we want to stop destructive behavior but don't, when the tug-o-war between God's will and ours stands still and we can't move. We're stuck going nowhere, unable to get beyond a particular point.

Getting stuck can be the best thing that could happen to us, because it forces us to stop. It halts the momentum of our lives. We have no choice but to notice what is around us, and we end up searching for Jesus. When we're stuck, we're much more likely to pay attention to our hunger for God and the longings and yearnings we have stifled. Sometimes being stuck is the low point and we say, 'Okay, I give up.' We cannot grow without first giving up and letting go. Getting stuck forces us to see the futility of our situation and to put life in perspective so that we can move on."

6 comments:

RB said...

Getting stuck is so common to the human experience. It happens to me when I am trying to lose weight. I get to a certain point, then my weight plateaus and I have to do something different to make more progress. I have found a similar principle at work in my walk with God. I get stuck, and like you said, I have to stop. I spend some time sitting quietly before the Lord and just listen for His voice, For me, the "getting stuck" is usually an indicator that He wants to take me in a different direction in some area in my life and He has to get my attention, because I am such a creature of habit that I don't change directions without an interruption of my routine. My challenge to you, dear sister, is to turn down the volume of your life and listen for the whisper of God...

David Porter (Boomer in the Pew) said...

Laurie,

As best I can, I am chained to Christ with only a one foot chain. As I have walked around my inner self, with the light of Christ, it is horrifying what attempts to lurk in the shadows.

"No God, no lurkers, shine the light on it. Expose me, melt me, conform me to thy will."

There are a couple areas in all of our lives that we are inclined to. Some drinking, some wild women, some the love of money, some gossip, and some just plain ole' anger.

These deep rooted ones are painful. Kinda like a root canal with no drugs.

Sadly, I also understand that I am never going to completely have victory this side of heaven. Some of these pests are going to lurk around me the rest of my natural days.

Major bummer! Major BUMMER!

So, we encourage each other, we pray for each other, we stay tied to Christ, we seek his continual forgiveness, and we wait. We wait for that glorious day, when this will be no more.

No more evil thoughts, no more evil people around us, no move evil spirits to poke at us. Simply, securely, and forever perfectly glorified in the presence of Christ...forever!

Wow!

Hey lady, I've got a chain, can I help you get unstuck?

Laurie M. said...

I can use all the help I can get - especially prayers. Thanks brothers.

Andy C said...

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

One of my favorite verses to remind myself I am a work in progress, and an imperfect one at that. Part of the reason I am taking a break from my blogging is to make sure I stay connected to Him by a very short lead. I cannot be on my own, I cannot do it without Him, and I will stumble each and every day.

jeri said...

I love the prayer in Psalm 119:36-38: "Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain. Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways; establish your word to your servant, as that which produces the reverence of you." I bring that request often before Him; we need revived in his ways, often, and only He can do it.

I love the picture with your post!

I owe you an email.

Lynn Cross said...

Usually the way I get unstuck, is to fall flat on my face and then once again be reminded it is not at all about me. It also isn't too much about my sanctification. It's all about loving and following HIm. Love and prayers. Lynn