The “Anatomy of Stuckness”
Table of Contents Introduction......................................................................................................................................... 1. Why am I Stuck?...……............................................................................................................... 1.1. Definition of Being “Stuck”....................................................................................................... 1.2. Biblical Examples of Being Stuck.............................................................................................. 2. Why Does God Allow This?…................................................................................................... Conclusion..........................................................................................................................................
You know that you have been designed to be like a race car or an off-road 4 x 4 monster. You have been created and empowered to fulfill an amazing task of being able to drive at pulsating speeds or to totally dominate a rugged terrain but instead, you have a flat! This is a frustrating picture of being stuck. Being “stuck” in a horrible situation, a bad relationship or a dead-end career are things that each of us can identify with. Maybe you have been called to one of the “fivefold” ministries which the Apostle Paul talks about in Ephesians 4:11-13 but you find yourself banging on a tightly shut door. Perhaps you feel trapped in a quagmire of motionless repetition with no hope of an exciting new dawn on the immediate horizon. However, there is an incredible purpose to discovering something exhilarating in a season of seemingly perpetual stagnation. In this concise article, we are going to take a closer look at the “framework” of finding oneself stuck in life or ministry and some of the reasons behind it.
We will need to answer two imperative and defining questions if we are to discover a way forward: Why am I stuck? Why does God allow this? Once these questions have been understood and adequately answered, you will be able to build a satisfying pathway forward in the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Bible calls this the “highway of holiness” or the “roadway of the redeemed” (Isa 35:8-10).
1. Why am I stuck?
1.1. We are all running in a spiritual race.
Every Christian that has faithfully committed their lives to Jesus Christ is actively partaking in a spiritual race (the highway of holiness) which has monumental repercussions for the individual in eternity. The Apostle Paul penned these divinely inspired words for our personal understanding, individual benefit, and intentional daily application, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:24-27, NLT).
This is the rallying cry of the Apostle to each unique person that has been made alive in Christ (Eph 2:5). Each of us needs to unequivocally comprehend that we are all partakers in a divine race, however, sadly not everybody will win! Regardless of circumstances and situations, not everybody is victorious in life. This is just a brutal fact of reality. History books are full of tragically failed lives. However, those that are conscientious toward their call, diligent, and given to the power of the leading of the Holy Spirit will make victorious headway in this spiritual race. This race is not about salvation but about inheritance. In order to compete in this race, the starting point is salvation in Jesus’ finished work (Jn 10:9). To compete successfully in this race, one must be disciplined, schooled, and be given over to the daily leading of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14).
The first step in discovering “Why am I stuck?” is to acknowledge that you are in a lifelong spiritual race that ends at the ‘Judgement Seat of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:9-11). Secondly, this race can only be successfully completed in the grace, wisdom, and power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 1:16; Pr 1:7; 2 Cor 4:17). Sometimes, the most humbling experience is to acknowledge that you have been running in your own strength and have not been depending on the Lord’s imperative leadership. The greatest purpose in life is to discover God’s vision for your life and to run like one who is determined to win in Him.
Many today in the “Body of Christ” are committed to running the marathon of their lives but just seem to be unerringly motionless in their supernatural journey. Maybe you find yourself stuck in a bad relationship, bogged down in a toxic environment, relegated to a dead-end job, or even chained to a church that is going nowhere. Many are also being overcome by our three mortal enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. If this remotely describes your life: You are stuck! God is trying to get your attention. It is high time that you make some decisive changes in your holistic outlook on life.
1.2. Definition of Being “Stuck”
The definition of “stuck” is to cling to something. Finding yourself fixed in a particular position unable to move. This accurately describes many Christians that have stopped running their race. Another definition of stuck is being jammed in a situation or place due to obstruction. Stuck is also defined as unable to progress with an assigned task or unable to find a solution or answer to something. Finding yourself in a specified place or situation that is typically tedious or unpleasant also points to being stuck. It’s very important to note that you can become stuck as an individual, a family, or a collective community. This is indicative of many Christians’ lives. The second thing we need to discern in the “Anatomy of Stuckness” is to find out who is at fault!
There are only three options:
It’s important to note that these three categories often overlap and intertwine.
1.3. Biblical Examples of Being Stuck
There are countless biblical stories where God has instigated someone becoming “stuck” or better said “allowed” a person to become momentarily stationary in life. This is done on purpose for our overwhelming benefit (see Rom 8:28). Abraham and Sarah were promised a “son” which would be the capstone of their ministry (Gen 12:1). God made them wait twenty-five years before bringing His word to pass. In between the promise coming to pass in their lives God taught them many life-changing lessons. It was no cakewalk for this “chosen couple”. Perhaps, God has got you in a season of learning some very important Kingdom lessons regarding His promises.
David had been prophetically anointed to be the future King of Israel by the prophet Samuel (1 Sam 16:13). David then had to endure fifteen insane years of obscurity (yes, you read it correctly—fifteen years) before he could finally ascend the divinely appointed throne of Israel. God had many things to teach David in his season of “stuckness”. Never doubt the avenue in which God chooses to build His Kingdom into your life. It took fourteen years from the time of Paul’s radical conversion to Christ in Acts nine to him being sent out by the Holy Spirit as the church-planting Apostle that God used to turn the known world upside down in Acts thirteen. Sometimes the call of God can be frustrating, however, God uses the “Anatomy of Stuckness” to get you to where you need to be. Scripture teaches that Jesus created the universe (Jn 1:10). Yes, Jesus created the world for His pleasure and glory, however, God Himself has become “stuck” and has been painstakingly sorting this mess out for almost 6000 years. If God has you in a place of “stuckness”, don’t sweat it. He has an amazing plan for your life.
Moses got himself stuck in the back-side of a desert for forty years because he tried to bring about God’s plan in his own strength (Ex 2:11-15). The reality of many people becoming stuck in an endless wilderness experience is unfortunately down to themselves and the choices they are constantly making. Moses was thrust into insignificance because God needed some alone time with him in order to bring him into his divine destiny. God has no problem throwing you into a modern 21st-century desert for a while. Don’t be the cause of your own spiritual stagnation.
The story of Joseph is nothing short of phenomenal. I am convinced that Joseph was the cause of his own suffering (Gen 37:1-11). He was cocky, arrogant, and boastful about the things God had shown him. He genuinely thought he was a cut above the rest. Provoked to jealously, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery for thirteen years. God allowed all of this to happen in order for Joseph to learn some incredible Kingdom lessons. In the end, it turns out alright and Joseph speaks these words, “19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:19-20, NLT). God used Joseph’s “stuckness” to transform Joseph himself, to save an entire nation and ultimately bring forth the Messiah that would be the long-awaited Saviour of the world.
There is a third option that has the capacity to cause the “Anatomy of Stuckness” which is ultimately rooted in unbelief, fear, and selfishness. You personally can be the reason someone else experiences a season of “stuckness”! There is the amazing or rather heart-breaking story of Joshua and Caleb found in the book of Numbers. These two men had chosen to believe the promise of God and were willing to possess the land that flowed with “milk and honey”; however, their destiny was abruptly halted by the unfaithfulness of the other ten spies that made up God’s scouting party (Num 13-14). The poison of their unbelief seeped into the entire nation of Israel. This is what the Apostle Paul had to say about this tragic event, “I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. 2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. 3 All of them ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 These things happened as a warning to us” (1 Cor 10:1-6, NLT). This story tells us that Joshua and Caleb’s purpose was postponed for forty years. This is a severe warning that our attitudes and actions toward God can affect and hinder the destinies of others
In the grand scheme of things, it does not really matter if God, you, or someone else is behind your “stuckness” because God is the author and finisher of your faith (Heb 12:2). The outcome of your life is ultimately in His omniscient hands. However, the burning question remains: Why?
2. Why Does God Allow This?
I could expound on a few good biblical answers that would satisfy the mature Christian mind but I want to rather focus on one concise portion of scripture that will give us a glimpse into our “all-knowing” Fathers’ heart regarding the “spiritual anatomy of stuckness”. Everything that happens in our lives has been allowed for a very specific Kingdom reason. It is through this attitude I would like to bring forth God’s spiritual application and reasoning behind an individual experiencing a prolonged season of so-called perceived stagnation.
The Israelites of the Old Testament were facing the “anatomy of stuckness” and were becoming more frustrated and hostile toward God. Are you feeling frustrated with God today? If the answer is “overwhelmingly” yes, I trust that by reading further your logical frustration will give way to unmovable assurance that God has got you in the process of necessary refining. Moses shares these most spiritually discerned words with a struggling group of bewildered people in Deuteronomy 8:2-5 for their educational benefit, “2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.”
This amazing portion of scripture has been designed by God to reveal to us six vitally important things about His strategy behind the “anatomy of stuckness”:
1. To humble you.
2. To show you what is in your heart.
3. To see if you will keep the vision He has for your life.
4. To teach you to totally depend on His goodness (Jesus).
5. To teach you regarding Kingdom provision.
6. To teach you Kingdom discipline.
These are the six spiritual motives behind God’s reasoning for you finding yourself in a place of perceived stagnation. I will not expound on each point but suffice to say is that until you have successfully navigated through each of the six points you will stay perpetually stuck. God loves you too much for Him to allow you to remain the way you are. He will orchestrate a modern-day wilderness for you so that you will learn these six imperative lessons. God wants to use you to transform the world but He can’t until you have been personally transformed.
Allow God to show you what it means to be biblically humbled, to reveal to you what is truly the driving force behind your decisions, refocus on His vision for your life, learn to rely only upon His goodness, learn to live in divine Kingdom sustenance and embrace the sometimes-difficult correcting of your King. Once you have navigated through these six points in the Holy Spirit a promised land of milk and honey will supernaturally appear.
Each of us finds ourselves from time to time scratching our heads in the bewilderment of frustration. Discerning the will of God in a wilderness season is most trying and ultimately exhausting if we do not understand God’s reasoning for us being placed there in the first place. The “Anatomy of Stuckness” can be seriously debilitating if these two imperative questions are not asked: Why am I stuck? Why does God allow this? Once answered and the correct biblical application has been pragmatically built into your life you will discover the “highway of the redeemed”. Don't worry, God is in the process of fixing your flat!