How to Unstuck Yourself

Meg Locara-Alarcon

April 30, 2021

I never expected that for a year of my life, I would be stuck in quarantine. If you’re like me, I’ve held on to any semblance of the normal I am used to. I constantly look back to the fun that I’m familiar with: going out with friends or watching a movie at a cinema. More than a year has passed and things have not gone back to normal. There’s a sinking feeling in my heart telling me, “Things are different now.”

Regardless of our personality and our ability to adjust to change, we cannot deny the fact that what we have gone through in the past year was extremely difficult. Nevertheless, you’ll see people online posting about their plans and aspirations, moving forward with their life, and adapting to change as if it’s just another day. But what if you feel stuck?

It’s like people are walking through life, and yet you aren’t moving because you got trapped in quicksand. Your feet slowly swallowed up by the ground, and struggling only quickens the sinking process. You feel the pressure of the sand in your toes, not letting you go even when you want to get out.

The scene looks familiar because that’s what most of us feel right now. We feel like we are in an imaginary quicksand, but its effects to our well-being are too real to neglect. Just like anyone who feels trapped in this difficult situation, we want to break free.

How do we unstuck ourselves from a “quicksand” situation?

Stay Calm

Don’t panic. Stay calm. Whenever you feel that sinking feeling, don’t be overwhelmed. We make the most impulsive decisions when we’re in a panic. We need to learn to steady our hearts, to take deep breaths, and to remain calm so that we can assess our situation and come up with the best possible solution.

Take a moment and evaluate your life right now. What is causing you to stay stuck? A wrong decision? Unforgiveness? A regret? A bad habit? Take the time to face and assess them calmly. Panicking won’t help you, and avoiding the problem won’t either. Acknowledging what’s causing your being stuck will help you face it. But you don’t have to solve the problem right away.

Staying calm is easier said than done. It does not mean that it will solve your being stuck in an instant. What it does is that it puts us in a better condition to make a decision. Imagine fixing tangled cords. You need to start untangling it somewhere, and the process may take time. You need to stay calm and be patient as you fix them.

Lay Back and Float

In order to break free from the hold of a quicksand, rescuers would advise that you try to lay on your back once you find yourself inside one. By laying on your back, you’re releasing yourself from the pressure of the sand on your feet and ultimately, releasing yourself from its grip. In other words, learn to unload or cast your weight somewhere else.

There are probably mindsets and ideas that you’ve held on to that have burdened your heart for a long time. You’ve held on to them for too long that even when things are changing or getting better, it is difficult for you to enjoy or you keep yourself “afloat.”

Regardless of how you do it—travel and coffee with friends turned to online watch parties and endless zoom calls—you need to start learning new ways of unloading your life of unnecessary burdens. Because the truth is things will always change. We need to keep on discovering new ways to cast our weight elsewhere or unload our burdens so that we could grow in appreciation of what’s happening in our lives.

Unloading your soul may look like having more time with your family or starting a new project. Consider studying a language in your spare time. One way to unstuck ourselves is to shift or cast our weight elsewhere to keep us afloat.

Grab onto Something

When you’re sinking, the most instinctive thing you can do is to grab onto something. We usually look for something stable and one that provides a good grip. We hold on to it as strongly as we can and try to pull ourselves out of whatever we’re stuck in—because whatever we’re holding on to gives us hope that we can get out of this.

Hal Lindsey says: 

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air . . . but only for one second without hope.”

To have no hope is to have nothing to look forward to, either for tomorrow or the future. Having no hope in this life paralyzes us and dims our vision to see a bright future. Though no one can perfectly see what the future holds, our sense of hope strengthens our grip amid our present difficulties.

I’ve personally placed all my hope and trust in Christ. I hold on to His word: “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). The future is full of uncertainties and I don’t want to be paralyzed by what is unknown. Rather, I am holding on to God who I know is good and I can trust His plans for me, that this “quicksand” is not my “graveyard.”

How about you? Where is your hope anchored on?

I watched this video of a man stuck in a quicksand and it took three men to get him unstuck and back on his feet. It wasn’t easy but sometimes, when we’re so deep into the mud, we need those extra hands to pull ourselves out.

Hope works in a similar way. While hope is something that springs inside us, sometimes we need help from others to draw it out of us. Because no matter how strong we hold on, there’s always a point where we would feel weak and let go. When you’re tired, ask for help so that you can get back on your feet faster.

Surround yourself with people who are willing to get down and dirty to get you out of the quicksand. We need people who got our backs and our hands. We need people who would not just push us forward but also pull us upward when we get stuck in life’s “quicksand.”

Wash the Sand Off

After getting out of the mud and getting back on your feet, don’t forget to wash the sand off from your body. Too much sand on your clothes can slow down your movement even if you were already out of the quicksand. 

In the same way, wash off the stubborn and sticky sands of a bad past, a mistake, a regret, or a sinful act. You don’t have to hold on to that time you were stuck. You already have valuable lessons gained from your “quicksand” experience. Remember what you’ve learned and what made you feel stuck. 

Never forget that the sand is no longer a part of you in the first place. God has washed away the dirt of our past sins and mistakes through Jesus Christ. And this is why, when we find ourselves in a “quicksand” experience, that confidence gives us the strength to move forward, knowing that God is with us every single moment. 

You have a great journey ahead!

Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us . . .

Hebrews 12:1




The Author

Meg Locara-Alarcon

Meg is a campus missionary from Victory Malate. She values keeping a posture of learning in every situation she faces. She loves history and believes that understanding history is important in shaping the next generation.