Growing up in Africa, Sundays meant long, bumpy trips off the beaten path to get to church. During the rainy season, heaps of red clay and dirt roads would turn into miles of thick, muddy paths. On one particular Sunday, our car got stuck in the mud. We were out in the middle of nowhere, and our car would not budge. We began to pray. My dad tried to push it out all by himself, but the mud was so thick, and our car was so deep, that it was no use. Suddenly, children started running toward our car. We had no idea where they came from, but they kept coming. Dozens of them. With gigantic grins and bare, dirty feet, they gathered around us and started to help push. Little by little, the car slowly inched its way out of the mud until we were free and clear.
There are a couple of things I have learned from this experience that have helped me navigate through those times when I feel stuck in the “mud of life”:
1. Pray. Getting “unstuck” should always begin with prayer. I realize my better judgement can be skewed by my emotions, so rather than try to figure it all out or sit and stress over the situation, I have learned to go to God in prayer first.
“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed…” 2 Kings 19:14,15
2. Get out of the car and change perspective. When I am stuck in the mud, all I can see, feel, hear, and touch is my stuckness. Getting out of the car allows me to pull away and look at the mud from a different perspective. A new vantage point can also help me see some practical changes that I may need to make that will help pull me out of the mud.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
3. Seek support from trusted friends. There is nothing worse than pushing out of the mud alone. In fact, you probably won’t get very far with that method. Seek out loyal friends, invite them into your life, and allow them to help you through the process. Working your way out of the mud will be far more successful with the support, encouragement, and strength from a true friend.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
The mud you’re in doesn’t own your life. If you’re stuck because of poor choices, stop agonizing over it, repent, and then move on. If you’re stuck simply because of the circumstances in your life right now, don’t fret. God is in complete control. Rainy seasons don’t last forever, and God never intends to keep us stuck when we are willing to follow him.
Keep pushing on.