Do you ever just feel stuck?
These days I'm feeling like that. Just stuck. I've been here before, and always before I've been able to just shake it off. I'm sure I'll shake it off this time, too, but it sure is taking a lot longer this time.
It's partly due to the big change in our living situation over the past year and a half, when my widowed mom came to live with us. That was a big, big blessing that caused necessary big, big adjustments in our daily schedule. I had been so spoiled with having large blocks of uninterrupted time when I could ponder, play and create, but now I find myself constantly tweaking my schedule to sneak in an hour here and there for creative solitude. Family and relationships are important and take priority, but work can't be neglected either. It's that continuing, age-old balance in life between our being and our doing.
And I'm not alone ... it's something all of us struggle with at home and at our jobs.
When we find ourselves in the stuck places, we find comfort and encouragement in hearing that others have gotten stuck, too. Because they made it through and got unstuck, we decide we'll make it through, too. It's the way our lives have been designed, and through the struggle we learn, grow and improve in all areas of our lives, both relationally and professionally.
I can usually get unstuck quickly enough by just getting alone with God, talking and listening to Him through prayer and reading His Word. That's truly the only way to reconnect with the Source of life and joy. When I reconnect with that joy, motivation returns and all my creativity begins to flow again. I know that, but sometimes I'm not so smart, and I have to confess that lately I've allowed myself to get my eyes off Him and onto the world around me instead. That's not good, because this world is opposed to Him, and instead of life and joy, following this world only leads to despair and, ultimately, death.
When I'm watching the world, I see some good and uplifting things going on, but mostly I see turmoil and unrest. People and politicians drawing lines and taking sides, populations rioting, individuals pursuing their own agendas, families coming undone, the very young and the vulnerable not being valued and protected. When the Light gets pushed out, only darkness is left, and the darkness is growing.
While we need to be aware of what's happening in our world, we need to be bringing His Light to the world, and finding ways to reach and serve. But when you wander too far from the Light and get too close to the darkness, merely being stuck can devolve into full-blown despair.
Fortunately for me, God doesn't let me wander off too far until He comes looking for me . . . that's why I love Him so! Even when I screw up and forget Him, He never lets go of me! He got my attention and jarred my memory by having me run across the following quote from William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series:
Last year, I had a life-changing experience at 90 years old.
I went to space, after decades of playing an iconic science-fiction character who was exploring the universe. I thought I would experience a deep connection with the immensity around us, a deep call for exploration. I was absolutely wrong. The strongest feeling, that dominated everything else by far, was the deepest grief that I had ever experienced.
I understood, in the clearest possible way, that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death. I didn’t see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, of adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting so starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing home planet.
This was an immensely powerful awakening for me. It filled me with sadness. I realized that we had spent decades, if not centuries, being obsessed with looking away, with looking outside. I did my share in popularizing the idea that space was the final frontier. But I had to get to space to understand that Earth is and will stay our only home. And that we have been ravaging it, relentlessly, making it uninhabitable. — William Shatner, 2022
In the fall of 2021, a group of folks, including Shatner, were launched into space, making Shatner the oldest living astronaut at age 90. As a die-hard Trekkie, I thought that was about the coolest thing I'd ever witnessed, and I wrote a blog about it in January 2022.
Though I didn't write about it in my blog, I remember anxiously anticipating what Mr. Shatner's reaction to the experience would be, and being totally taken aback when he shared his thoughts about it with the world.
So while I'm working through my "stuck" season, allow me this month to share what I gleaned from his reaction . . . perhaps it will be helpful for you if you're going through a "stuck" season, too.