Last year in my area of Michigan we had record setting levels of snow. We had tons of snow all winter. I live in the country surrounded by flat fields and it was windy most of the winter. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what this leads to, we had horrible snow drifts building up in our road all winter long. So, not only did we have lots of snow falling, but then it blew off of the fields and into our road.
While driving I got stuck in the snow in the middle of our road 3 times last year. That’s right, stuck in snow drifts right in the middle of the road. I was stuck to the point that I couldn’t get out by myself. Twice I had neighbors help me out and once during a snow storm late at night a tow truck actually stopped and pulled me out just to be nice and then drove away (I think it was a HUGE blessing from God).
One thing I can tell you about being stuck in the snow is it is frustrating and feels hopeless. Each time I got stuck my heart sank into my stomach. Two of the times it was late at night. One of the times my husband was home with our 3 sleeping girls and couldn’t help me without waking them up or leaving them home (which wasn’t a realistic option even though I was at the end of our road). One of the times was so bad that my husband and I actually had to call the road commission after 10:30 pm to clear the roads because cars and trucks could not drive down our road and we had a babysitter at our house.
I would get out of the car and try to clear snow away and then try again to move the car to no avail. After multiple times of trying this and several times of falling on my butt in the snow I would start to want to give up. I would call Dustin, usually in tears, begging for help and advice. I wanted him to fix it for me because I had no clue how to get out by myself.
But the truth was, giving up wasn’t a real option. I needed to get unstuck. I couldn’t just leave my car in the middle of the road and stay there in the freezing cold. I needed to get unstuck and get home (or to the school to pick up my daughter). And each time I eventually, with help, did get out of my snowy rut and keep moving (sometimes I had to back track and find another way around).
This is a lot like life. It is easy to get stuck in life. But unlike leaving my car stuck in the snow, it is possible to go through all of life staying stuck and never getting out. You can choose to not deal with the things you need to deal with or not make the changes you need to make and live your whole life stuck, making little to no progress. It is possible to live all of life unhappy and unfulfilled.
But just because it is possible, doesn’t mean you should do it. Life was meant to be lived. Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). We were not mean to live a miserable stuck life. When my car was stuck it was obvious to people who saw me. They knew what the problem was and how to help. I couldn’t lie about being stuck because it was obvious to all that I wasn’t going anywhere.
In life it is easy to hide our problems from others. And if we don’t address our problems or start to make changes ourselves then no one else is going to be able to help us either.
There are a million different reasons or excuses that people have and use for why they are stuck at a point in their life, or why they aren’t trying something new or following their dreams.
I think that most of the excuses that people use can break down to the following groups and I, at one point or another, have (or do) struggle with all of them.
Fear – This is a big one. It can be fear of one thing or fear of lots of things. I have struggled with fear a lot in my life and one thing that I have learned about it is that I don’t always notice that it is the problem. Sometimes I have a hard time processing through all that I am feeling to see that fear is the root cause of the issue.
Lack of Education – It is easy to use this as an excuse. I personally only completed a few semesters in college. There are many people in this world that are more educated then I am. It’s easy to think that the fact that I don’t have a degree or a vocabulary full of large and technical terms that I might not be able to succeed.
Lack of Money – I know from personal experience what lack of money or an abundance of debt can do to you. It can make things you want to try more difficult to achieve and it can cause lots of stress and anxiety. It can make daily life a drain. You can become a slave to debt.
Laziness/Procrastination – I can’t think of one person I know who hasn’t struggled with this one at some point or another in life. Sometimes following your dream or making a big life change seems too hard or like too much work.
Listening to Other People – When you want to make a change in your life just about everyone you talk to will have an opinion about it. Most people have their own excuses for why they aren’t following their dream so they don’t think that you can follow yours. Keeping others down is a safety net because if someone else tries and succeeds it just points out that they could be doing more as well.
Depending on Others – I’m not saying that you should live life completely independent from others, but you need to be careful of how much you let others affect you. If you are depending on another person to move you along in life and make you happy then you might be happy sometimes, but you will never stay happy. Other people cannot do this for you.
Past Failures – I have many personal failures in my past. There is a long list of things that I wish I could go back and change in my life, wrongs that I could correct. But every time I start to focus on my failures from the past it keeps me from succeeding today.
Past Hurts – Life is hard and can be full of hurts. Whether you have had a million little hurts or a few big ones it is easy to let the pain that others have caused you to get you stuck in your tracks. The more you focus on your hurt the deeper you sink into it. I learned from personal experience that forgiving and choosing not to focus on the hurt is the only real way to move out of it. Sometimes this is hard to do on our own, but with Christ, we have the strength to make this choice. And it is a choice.
Lack of planning or goal setting – I have met a lot of people who want things to be different in their life, but haven’t done a single thing to try to change it. They might want a different job or to live in a different state or to be out of debt, but they have never made a plan to reach their goal. They sit and hope and wish and dream about what it would be like, but they never start to take action.
Do you struggle with any of these excuses or have you overcome these in the past? Have you gotten out of a rut in your life or are you stuck in one right now?
Stick around, over the course of the next few weeks I will post on each of these sticking points in greater detail and how we can overcome them. I have come a long way in my life, and while I am not where I would like to be yet, I am a lot better than I was before or as Joyce Meyer says “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I use to be.”
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