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Stuck on Stop

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    It’s hot down here in Texas. Of course, I wouldn’t expect it any other way than hot this time of year. The heat mingled with the smells of pool chlorine, of sweaty clothes, and of rapidly deteriorating garbage awaken deeply buried memories from summers past. But one recent memory struck me as an awfully good image of where we often find ourselves under stress — stuck!

    Stuck and afraid to move!

    Stuck and not wanting to move!

    Stuck and knowing that moving is going to be painful!

    The image I have in mind is of me wearing shorts in the August heat, and then sitting on the vinyl seats of a car. Not only does it burn your legs when you sit down, but the sweat almost instantly bonds with the vinyl seat covers. Once attached to this petroleum by-product on seat covers, we don’t want to get up because it’s like removing a huge, stuck, piece of tape. It’s going to go “shwickkkkkkk” and hurt like crazy when we get up as the vinyl reluctantly lets go of our perfectly adhered skin. It’s just easier to sit there. So that’s what we do, waiting for the courage to get up and go.

    Problem is, when under stress and stuck, or when sweaty and sitting on vinyl, we become paralyzed by our fear of discomfort because we know discomfort is coming! The even greater problem is that the longer we just sit there, the harder it gets to move and the more it’s going to hurt when we do! So how do we extricate ourselves from these stuck situations? How do we get the motivation to move when we know it’s going to cause us pain?

How do we get the motivation to move when we know it’s going to cause us pain?
    Like most important things in life, the answer is really pretty basic, it’s the carrying out of the plan that takes courage. So let me offer you a simple strategy for those times that you get stuck in life and feel immobilized to address the pressing problems in your life.

    First, find something simple and basic that is a command in God’s Word and go do it. Don’t debate about it. Don’t overly weigh it. Just do it. You want to break the logjam of inertia and get your life moving. Doing something you know is right, that pleases God, gives you some momentum and confidence, and breaks the stranglehold that inactivity has on you. If you will intentionally obey a command of God, it helps break some of the logjam out of the way. (Let me give you a couple of quick examples: welcome someone at church you don’t know, pray for a list of sick, pray for missionaries of missions efforts, send a note of encouragement to someone who is in need of it, etc.)

    Second, do two productive things that you would normally do on a normal day — things like putting away the dishes, making your bed, going for a walk, brushing your teeth, mowing the yard, etc. Make sure your life hasn’t lost its center by calling yourself to action, not reaction and fear. The more we are inactive and the more we neglect the basic routines, the harder it is to do anything else because we feel so badly about ourselves.

    Finally, prayerfully tackle what you dread. Get it done and get it behind you. You may need some heavenly reminders like Romans 8:18, 28-29 to reassure you that you are not alone. You probably need to share your concern with someone you can trust who will pray for you. The biggest issue, however, is to quit waiting. Dragging out starting allows you fear to cloud your eyes to the truth and helps the evil one keep you stuck on stopped. Make a commitment to not let Satan deter you further development as God’s child and someone for whom he has great plans.

    August is hot and sticky in Texas. But the only thing hotter and stickier than a car in the sweltering sun is staying in that car! Why don’t you ask Jesus to help you get started at getting unstuck and moving, instead of staying frustrated, hot, and stuck on stopped.

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About the Author...
Phil Ware is minister of the Word at Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin, Texas. For the past 4 years, he has also been co-editor of HEARTLIGHT Magazine. For more details, click here.

Title: "Stuck on Stop"
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: July 31, 2000



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