April 28, 2021
One of the things that make us anxious nowadays is the thought that we are not making any progress.
Perhaps you are already getting tired of your social media newsfeeds and the monotonous events happening in your home. It seems like the world you know before the pandemic hit has been shrunk to the size of your gadget.
The routine of going through the motions of completing your class modules or surviving online classes week after week no longer brings the satisfaction of getting closer to your desired career or vocation.
Or you might be one of those who finished your undergraduate course in the height of the pandemic, and you are still trying to land a job.
It’s as if all the strength you exerted did not move your life an inch closer to where you feel you should be.
The ordinariness of daily circumstances does not seem to give you any good reason to get up and do something that is meaningful because the whole story does not make any sense. The recurring stricter community quarantines make the feeling worse.
There is this feeling of wanting to get out of where you are because you believe that it is not where you’re supposed to be, but a part of you hinders you from getting up and doing something. Your conclusion: “I am not moving forward. I’m tired of being stuck.” And the question follows, “Can I endure through this?”
Here are some questions that we hope can help you break through the wall:
1. What is it that I desire when I want to move forward? This is a question that helps us identify the bottom line of all our striving. The desire to move forward in life is something that we need to lay bare in God’s presence. Is that desire to get out of the status quo energized by pursuing God’s plans and purposes or just an anxious striving in the midst of confusing circumstances?
2. What imagined story do my choices in life reveal? Author and pastor Eugene Peterson said, “Reality is story-shaped. The world is story-shaped. Our lives are story-shaped.” Our choices reveal a story that runs in our hearts and in that story, we rehearse our character. In our behaviors, we could act like a victim, survivor, hero, advocate, etc. Have you identified the plot of the story with which you have been living your life?
3. Does my imagined life story agree with the story of the gospel? The story of the gospel is about God, who made His dwelling among humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross was meant to condemn and destroy sin, which prevents us from being the kind of person God intended us to be in His kingdom. Jesus Christ did not avoid suffering to bring about a restoration that we long for deep in our hearts.
And in the work of redemption, didn’t Jesus stay in the grave for three days? I cannot imagine any worse degree of being stuck than as a corpse inside a tomb. It is a dead end in all stories, except the gospel. His state of being in a seemingly monotonous condition was a stage for the beginning of a new creation. Jesus’ resurrection removes the stigma of any losses we experience in our lives.
This story does not make us abandoned hopeless victims or triumphant heroes, but sharers of the divine life in Christ and empowered individuals to participate in the transformation of the world.
1. Grieve for your imagined story.
“Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God and embrace the life you have.”
All of us reach a point of disappointment and frustration in our lives. This is probably true most especially in this season, when what we hoped for or imagined for our lives is far from reality. God knows and understands. That’s why the Bible is full of lamenting and weeping. Cry out to God your dashed hopes, your frustrations, your anger.
2. Recall who God is and how He loves His children.
And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all You have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
Psalm 77:10–11 (NLT)
When we read the laments in the Bible, we always see a turning point not when there is a change in the circumstances, but a change in focus. After we acknowledge our dashed hopes and grieve over them, we can choose to remain in our sorrow or run to God and seek His face. Before the pandemic, we could choose to sweep grief aside by seeking entertainment outside. However, being stuck at home, bored with our usual entertainment, forces us to face our feelings and deal with them. But God is gracious and good to open us to the joy of His presence, if we only choose to set our eyes on Him. Remember His goodness in the gospel. Remember His miracles in your life. Remember His power in creation. Take a walk outside and look at nature and the skies, if you can.
3. Yield to His will and obey Him.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Remembering God’s power and goodness strengthens our trust in Him. It allows us to be able to submit to His will despite frustrations and disappointments. When we yield to Him, we have the opportunity to listen to what He wants us to do in the midst of our circumstances. It may be that He wants us to grow our intimacy with Him and with our family this season. It may be that He wants to grow our character—to persevere, to endure, and to be patient. Whatever it is, He is committed to grow you to be more Christlike, and that’s more than enough assurance that you can choose to not remain stagnant. You are not as stuck as the enemy wants you to believe.
Always remember that even if you feel stuck, God will meet you and He will give you the grace to endure hardships. As long as we always remember what He has done for us and know that He sees us in our disappointments, we can hold onto Him no matter what.