Recently I was talking to someone who is very dear to me, and she asked me a question. She shared that she had been “stuck” for many years and asked me, “Have you ever really felt stuck?” Initially my answer was yes. After I took some time to really think about her question, I realized that I had not ever experienced a time when I was so “stuck” that I felt paralyzed. I’ve never been in so deep over my head, that I didn’t even know how to take the first step to save my life. This is not to say that I won’t ever be stuck, because it can happen to any of us with out warning. Though I haven’t been there, and that is only by the grace of God, I’ve witnessed many of my loved ones being “stuck in the mud”, and have felt powerless against the forces that restrain them in that place.
I’ve seen drug abuse strip families apart. I’ve seen broken relationships strip self-worth to pieces; I’ve seen childhood baggage recycle the bondage of hopelessness and stagnancy. I’ve seen people stuck in dead end jobs/relationships because they don’t believe there is anything else. I’ve seen people stuck within their own prison of self doubt and drudgery. There are so many different scenarios that can leave people feeling stuck, and many times staying “stuck” is safer than making a move into the uncertain territory of change. We’ve all felt stuck at some point in our lives, but what is it that keeps people stuck in a place of depression or dysfunction year after year.
I really don’t know the answer to that question. One major factor I believe is FEAR! Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear that there actually isn’t something better. Fear that you are undeserving of happiness. Fear that a better place is nonexistent. Fear is paralyzing, and until we overcome our fears, whatever they may be, we will stay stuck in the limiting world we have created for ourselves. Sometimes all that is needed is a baby step. Sometimes that first step is acknowledging our role and responsibility for being “stuck”, and then forgiving ourselves for “everything”. The first step is probably the hardest, and many baby steps may precede it. The one thing that I have learned is that no one will take a first step or baby steps until they are ready, and more importantly you can’t take it for them. They must find the strength within to take it for themselves.
If you know someone who is stuck and you really want to help them, sometimes the best thing to do is have compassion and empathy, and squash any forms of judgment. Be patient with them and love them unconditionally. Sometimes we get frustrated with those we love, because we may see a path for them that they don’t see for themselves. The tricky thing about that is, we are not God, and we don’t know what is best for anyone else. Every person has to travel that road of discovery for themselves, but when they ask for a hand, you can always be ready to offer one or two. Until then, the best and only thing to do is to pray for God’s plan to be revealed. I know first hand that the power of prayer can move mountains!
Combating Mental Health
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