Feeling Stuck? Breathe! Embrace Hope & Vitality!
How would you describe what it feels like to be stuck? We’ve all been there at different points in our lives for a variety of reasons, but what words would you connect to that feeling? Perhaps you felt like you were…
- Empty of get-up-and-go.
- Navigating through a fog.
- Lacking wind in your sails.
- Going nowhere fast.
- Utterly at a loss as to what to do next.
- Just going through the motions – on autopilot.
- Discontent – no desire.
- Bored – apathetic.
However you would capture the feeling of being stuck, there’s one thing we probably agree on: it’s not a happy fun feeling!
I find it helpful to create “word pictures” to describe my feelings. Word pictures have way of vividly expressing what simple words strong together don’t capture. One of the word pictures that describes the feeling of being stuck for me is the one that Ezekiel paints in Ezekiel 37:1-14. In that passage, God takes Ezekiel on a little field trip to The Valley of Dry Bones. As Ezekiel gazes out at the valley he prophesies that that God will one day resurrect the dry bones.
While this passage is a dramatic picture of Israel – a dead Israel – I think there are some valuable insights for you and me too!
The Finality of the Situation
These bones scattered across the valley were not just dead, they had been dead for some time – they were VERY dry bones! Hope was long gone!
Not to be graphic, but a body decomposing to the point of sun-bleached bones takes time. These bones were utterly void of life; hopeless. Dead, fully dead!
But here’s what’s amazing: at God’s command, Ezekiel spoke to the bones and they began to rattle and connect. Flesh began to cover the bons. Now, to me, that’s crazy! What an incredible event to witness!
It didn’t take months and years and decades for those bones to become flesh covered again, it happened suddenly, instantly at God’s request!
God seems to work that way. We see it in the sudden way God spoke the world into existence. People were suddenly healed at Jesus’ command. Saul was suddenly transformed when he encountered Jesus and became Paul. I could go on and on with examples.
You might feel like nothing is changing in your situation right now, like nothing is happening, but God loves to show up suddenly! That’s why over and over again in scripture we are told to wait! That doesn’t mean sitting back and doing nothing, it means being faithful to what He’s given you to do and who He’s created you to be, AND trusting Him to do His part. No steeping in and forcing something to happen. No striving or giving up, but waiting!
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:14 (ESV)
The Lack of Breath – Life!
Even though these bones began to look human again, they were still dead. They lacked breath. They needed God’s Spirit to give them life.
Ezekiel speaks to the bones again summoning breath from the four corners and the flesh-covered bones came to life. Wow! I don’t know about you, but that ignites hope for me!
God never intended us to half-heartily do life. No, Jesus came so that we could have abundant life and live life to the full! What does living life to the full mean? Not that you would be thrust into a life of success, material blessing, and ease. It means that you would fully walk in all that God has for YOU!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:20 (ESV)
What’s even more exciting, is that Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit (The Breath of God) after He returned to His Father in heaven! As believers, we have a life-giving Advocate!
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26 (NIV)
The Holistic Nature of Humans
As humans, we need our bones to be connected, the sinew and skin to cover our bones, and breath, otherwise we are still dead. Our bodies work in an amazing and holistic way.
Similarly, you and I are whole when the various aspects of our lives are in working order. That’s when hope abounds!
Leave that Stuck Feeling Behind!
Feeling stuck and hopeless? Here’s something worth pondering…
1. That Hopeless Feeling
Failure, under-performing, not meeting your perfectionist ideals – those kinds of experiences often trigger that hopeless feeling.
Facing incredible challenges in your life – circumstances that you‘ve not been able to resolve or overcome? Hopelessness follows.
Or maybe whatever you’re going through feels like a forever thing; something permanent that you just can’t seem to get past.
Relational funk – that certainly has the potential to trigger that hopeless feeling and then leak out into other areas of your life.
Whatever leaves you feeling hopeless keeps you stuck! That’s powerful!
2. Needing God’s Spirit
Intellectually you might know you need God, but are you really fully dependent on Him? Are your actions telling a different story?
Without Him you are like the breathless skin covered bones.
Sadly, trying to do life on your own often leads to some unnecessary frustrating challenges that only reinforces feeling stuck.
3. Honoring Your Whole Person!
Are you operating as if your personal life and your professional life are two separate entities? The truth is that whatever you do personally impacts your professional life and vice versa! You really are an interconnected person – a whole person!
Have you ever considered how your…
- Confidence is impacted by being out of shape and not feeling great?
- Work, business, or ministry is hindered by the lack of learning and growing in your life?
- Habit of skipping time alone with God impacts your productivity?
- Being relationally disconnected from family and friends impacts your work?
- Striving at work and not taking time to relax and engage in activities you enjoy is stifling your creativity and taking a toll on your health?
- Lack of dealing with your emotions is making you edgy and hurting your relationships?
- Overspending is contributing to your stress, creating conflicts, and preventing you from pursuing your dreams?
- Constant working is wearing you out and turning you into a one-dimensional person?
- Trying to please everyone has caused you to forget who you are
You Are A Connected Being
Struggling in one area of your life, has a bearing on other areas of your life because you are a holistic being. When the bones reassembled in The Valley of Dry Bones, they were put back together properly – not with three legs connected to one knee. When you live life in a way that doesn’t honor all of you, it tough to feel whole!
It’s tempting to overexert yourself in unhealthy ways out of fear. Managing all of you and keeping life in balance is the result of knowing your priorities and trusting God to help you. Trying to force something to happen is at the expense of something else – neglecting important aspects of YOU. There’s only so much of you to go around!
Honoring all of you is so much easier when you know at your very core that God loves you no matter what – truly adores YOU! That frees you up and allows you to trust Him to be at work on your behalf.
No one wants to experience that “dry bones,” stuck feeling!
The good news – there’s hope! Let God breathe new life into the dead places in your life and take steps to honor the interconnected person He created you to be. Then you’ll be able to pursue the unique purpose that He created you for. When you pursue that purpose, hope, and vitality will be yours!
Oh! May the God of green (life) hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! Romans 15:13 (MSG)
What would it be like to experience hope and vitality in your life?