By: Gail Armatys, Heartsong Life Purpose Coach
What image pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘stuck’? What I see in my mind’s eye involves mud, tires, and a lot of spinning. Oh, and Vinny.
Did you see the 1992 comedy ‘My Cousin Vinny’? Vinny Gambini is an unlicensed lawyer from New York pretending to be a licensed lawyer in Alabama in order to help his cousin who has been accused of murder.
The bigger story, however, is about relationships and one very unique testimony directly applicable to our ‘stuckness’.
In the movie, Vinny’s fiancé, Mona Lisa Vito, (made you smile) acts as an auto mechanic expert testifying in defense of Vinny’s cousin.
This is the testimony heard by the jury:
Mona Lisa Vito: The car that made these two, equal-length tire marks had posi-traction. You can’t make those marks without posi-traction, which was not available on the ’64 Buick Skylark!
Vinny Gambini: And why not? What is posi-traction?
Mona Lisa Vito: It’s a limited slip differential that distributes power equally to both the right and left tires. The ’64 Skylark had a regular differential, which, anyone who’s been stuck in the mud in Alabama knows, you step on the gas, one tire spins, the other tire does nothing.”
Everyone on the jury nods…maybe you are nodding, too.
Stuck is as Stuck Does
We may not understand much about posi-traction or a slip differential, but we do know being stuck. Car, truck, horse or person. It doesn’t matter. Stuck is as stuck does – or in this case – doesn’t do.
Thankfully, my car has never been stuck, but I sure have. Stuck in a certain place, time, and situation in my life where my mind and feet felt like they were anchored – weighed down. The idea of moving forward was fettered. Trapped. Definitely not growing.
I know now what I didn’t know then. Or maybe I knew but didn’t dig deep enough to acknowledge that this stuckness… well, it was caused by fear: fear of rejection, failure, success, disapproval, making a wrong choice. Where was my faith? And then I remembered what the Lord had to say, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Wow! Now, that’s a promise. The only one in the universe that can’t lie made that promise to you and me. Do I accept it or reject it? Good question.
Not only does fear cause confusion and bring dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment, it brings it’s ugly cousins, worry and anxiety with it and settles in.
Here is what the great philosopher, Mark Twain, and our great God have to say about the cousins. I know, you never thought you’d see those two in the same sentence. Wise, hope-filled counsel, nonetheless!
So what’s a girl (guy) to do? Glad you asked! Here are some tools to guide you and help you get unstuck.
6 Tools to Help Get UnStuck
- Remember we are called to ‘go’ throughout the gospels. One scripture in particular sticks out in my mind.
“Go into all of the world and preach the gospel.” Jesus/Mark 16:15
I am, you are, to move forward…not stay in the same spot learning the same lessons and doing the same things over and over again. Remember the spinning tire?
- Develop a language of self-encouragement. Hey, there might not be any body around that is willing to encourage you. So, you do it! Pay attention to how you talk to and about yourself. Your words are powerful…silent or out loud. Speak life into your life!
- Acknowledge and name your fears. Uncover them. Light exposes and shrinks the darkness. Now you can begin to see what you have to do. The next steps become visible. When you remove fear from its hiding place, you can begin moving in a positive direction. Then, to confuse you, there is this…
“Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up.” Veronica Roth/Divergent
I like this statement. It turns fear into opportunity. However, this is true only if you are willing to acknowledge and bring your fear to light.
- Clarify. Ask yourself the ‘what ifs’. This gives you some traction. Ask yourself things such as: What if that thing I’m afraid of actually happens? What if it doesn’t work out? What if it does? What if people don’t like what I’m doing? What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if I don’t try? What if….?
Answering the ‘what ifs’ provides us with concrete answers and a way to think through real outcomes and responses. Remember, most fears are much more about our imaginings than our reality. When you recognize this, fear loses its power. I think Mr. Twain would agree. (God, too. )
- Make a choice. Do you take courage and move on? Do you choose comfort and the sense of safety? Do you stick with old habits, thoughts, and actions? Stay on the easy path? Or, move forward?
- Pray. Pray that your eyes be opened for God’s direction. Pray for wisdom, knowledge, and direction. Pray for strength in recognizing and overcoming fears and old habits, and pray for increased faith. Pray.
Now, let’s get some traction and go.
1. Utilize the tools listed above. Write down your answers to #3 & #4. This will help you make a choice, #6.
Lord, we know you and your love are bigger than any of our fears. Forgive us for allowing these fears to keep us stuck. We know that you are with us and as we surrender to you, our hearts are lifted and we see opportunity – not doubt. Lead us to choose faith over fear and walk with wisdom and courage on the path you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Listen to Your HeartSong Here!
Whom Shall I Fear/Chris Tomlin
Live the song written on your heart.