Hey there, friend. Have you ever been stuck, just completely stuck, in your life? You don't know what to do. You don't know where to go. You don't even know what you want, which obviously makes it hard to take an action.
That's where I've been lately with my online course. Stuck. And honestly, that's really weird for me. I generally never get this stuck for this long. So right now, I'm looking for some answers.
That's why today I'm going to tell you about my process when I'm stuck, and explain how I depend on my faith to get me through these times.
Then I'm going to leave you with a couple of questions to ask yourself so you can start thinking about your process and how you handle things when you're stuck or frustrated or discouraged.
You know I'm a practicing Christian, and for me that means a lot more than just going to church on Sundays. For me, that means I have a daily, ongoing relationship with God.
I consult him every day. I read the Bible. I pray. I meditate. I journal. And all these things aren't just to learn more about me. They're also to learn more about Him and what He wants for me.
When I'm stuck, my process is to pray and ask God for clarity and direction. I percolate on things. I think about them. I wait for an answer, and then I get moving -- confidently -- because I know I'm going in the right direction.
I generally throw in an exercise or two similar to the ones that I give you every week on this podcast. If I stumble across something and it feels right, I poke around at it. I look at it from different angles, and then I wait some more.
At some point I have my answer, and then I say "Eureka!," just like they do in the cartoons. (Yeah, I say it. So there.) Then I start moving and when I move, I move forward very quickly.
But this time it's been different. This time, things have felt a little off and the length of the waiting period has been much more extensive than usual. I've been thinking I need to launch this online course now but when I pray about it, I keep getting "Wait" or "Not yet."
That frustrates me. I get ticked off with all of these delays. I want to go now, but God is telling me to wait just a little longer. So on one level, I feel like I'm struggling, like I should have an answer by now.
But on a different level, on a higher level, I know I'm exactly where I need to be, right now in this moment. That's one of the beautiful things about having a direct relationship with God and talking to Him regularly.
When someone says, "Hey, I heard God's voice," or "God spoke to me," some folks scoff or think you're a little "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs."
But here's the reality: The more you chat with Him, the more easily you recognize His voice.
I once heard this described like this:
Let's say you and I meet, then I call you on the phone once a week for an entire month.
Week 1: I'm say, "Hi, this is Michelle Zavala. We met at dinner on Thursday. Since you were new in town, I gave you the names of a couple of restaurants to try." You'll probably respond, "Oh, yes, I remember. How are you?" And then we'll start talking.
Week 2: The next week I call you and say, "Hey, this is Michelle Zavala. How are you doing?" And you know who it is because you remember me.
Week 3: I'll call you and say, "Hey, this is Michelle," and we'll start talking immediately because we're getting used to each other. We're getting more comfortable in our conversations.
Week 4: This time, when you answer the phone I'll simply say, "Hi." You immediately recognize my voice and know who I am. We start talking right away, excited to catch up with each other.
It's the same way with God.
When you talk with Him regularly, you start recognizing His voice more easily. There's no hesitancy. There's no delay on your part. Just like in the example, when you pick up the phone and you hear "hi," that's all you need. You know who it is.
So for me, when I ask for answers and I hear "Wait," I wait. I know it's not time yet. Generally, it's not even time for me to understand why I'm waiting. I take great comfort in knowing I'm doing my part, even if it's just asking and waiting and asking and waiting.
Doing my part gives me great peace. It calms me down. It stops me from all the doing. I don't feel like I have to keep doing and doing, or that I need to implement my "I've-got-to-fix-things" mentality.
Does any of this sound familiar?
When I was young and dumb, I always thought taking action, being in motion and being busy meant productivity and moving forward. I kept thinking, "I've got to fix things." Or in my case, I kept thinking, "I've got to force things to make them happen or it will all fall apart."
But now that I'm older and wiser, I've realized that's just stressful and exhausting. It's not just bad for your physical body, but also bad for your mental, emotional and spiritual health too, right?
So that's my process. What about you? Here are a couple of questions to help you figure out your process before you find yourself feeling stuck.
What do you do when you feel stuck? When you're seeking wisdom? When you're not sure what direction to go? When you need the clarity so you can get moving? When you're not even sure what to do next?
I want to encourage you to figure this out now, before you're right in the middle of all the ick, the drama and the trauma. When your mind is racing and you can't think straight because you're so frustrated or disillusioned or discouraged by your circumstances. What steps do you take?
Better yet, what steps can you take to help you manage your emotions so you don't get completely derailed?
Mine is pretty much the same for everything, but I do tweak it as I go. Depending on the situation, you may have a completely different way of handling things.
Maybe you exercise to blow off some steam. Maybe you eat or drink. Maybe you overeat or overdrink. Maybe you talk with trusted friends to help you get clear on things. Maybe you talk to God like I do.
Whatever it is, why not take a moment to think about it? When you think about it, you'll naturally begin creating a plan in your head. That's what we human beings do. We start organizing, putting thoughts together and putting the pieces of the puzzle together. It's a very natural process.
You'll ask yourself questions like: What calms me down? What gives me peace? What's my process for staying out of overwhelm? Write it down.
I had to write this down a number of years ago because when I would get frustrated or overwhelmed, I seemed to spiral out of control so quickly. I had to see what the steps were. I had to see what was going to work best for me. Once it was on paper, everything felt better. Writing it down will help you, too, as you determine your process and what works best for you.
Those are two questions to start thinking about so you can be prepared next time things aren't going your way. And leaning on your faith can play a huge role in helping you experience peace again. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.