“Oh, help!” said Pooh. “I’d better go back.”
“Oh, bother!” said Pooh. “I shall have to go on.”
“I can’t do either!” said Pooh. “Oh, help and bother!”
Stuckness is a fact of life. From time to time we all find ourselves in a situation where going forwards or backwards both seem impossible.
And -oh that frustration!- as the tyres spin endlessly in the mud, without connecting. The engine revs, the pedal goes down and you go nowhere. It’s like a parable about becoming set in your ways, bound by your perspectives and stuck in your thinking.
What do you do?
First, accept the moment. Since you can’t do anything else for the minute, use it to stop and think.
That picture of Pooh in the rabbit hole might be you stuck in a wrong relationship, a bad habit, a difficult choice, or a tricky circumstance.
But first, think about it. Robert Pirsig once said that his favorite quote from a Manufacturer’s instruction manual was:
“Assembly of Japanese bicycle require great peace of mind”
Whilst teasing a little at the expense of a lost-in-translation moment, Pirsig makes the point that it’s much easier it is to perform a task if your mind is clear of “clutter”.
You know those voices you hear in your head, sometimes doubting, sometimes encouraging but rarely shutting up? They can get in the way of pure enjoyment of life and the important business of going forward.
So I accept my stuckness for a moment, and I’m going to use it as a time for decluttering. I may ponder just how I got into this rut, and just where exactly I’m heading, but for now, I need to be still.
Most of the things that stop us aren’t things that we can’t do, but things we refuse to learn.
For example, pride might prevent us from asking for help. Like refusing to ask for directions and getting more and more lost…. So
Second, move into faith. Faith is a principle of life and it’s a crucial game-changer. Shannon Alder said “Fear is the glue that keeps you stuck. Faith is the solvent that sets you free.”
Fear can keep you bogged down, thinking you’ll never be free of this situation, that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel for you. But the Bible says “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13)
A way out! This isn’t a cul de sac. There’s an exit and God will provide it.You’re going to make it! And that’s faith talking.
The Bible is the word of God. It is God’s word to people like us, everyday people who get stuck. Paul describes it like this: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a]may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16,17) It’s useful to take these words into our minds because they act like a solvent, clearing away the clog of stuckness.
This morning I’m reading Joshua 3, ready to preach it this Sunday. Have a look and you’ll see how the people of Israel, under Joshua’s leadership, were able to move into faith from a position of potential stuckness.
And I want to take on some of those words for the folks that I know today who are stuck, and speak them out in faith that we might move forward together.
‘When you see the ark … you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. …
Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’