I was running late to somewhere. Who knows where. But I remember I’d sat at a stoplight for a full 10 minutes before I realized I was going to be late. The stoplights had malfunctioned at the worst time of day in the worst intersection in town. And there I sat – cross-traffic whizzing by as their light was apparently stuck on green while mine was glaring red. People honked. And swore. And played on their cell phones. The traffic jam was now jamming up two city blocks. I called the police non-emergency number to report the issue. 5 minutes later, the city truck pulled up and I was on my way. Late, but en route.
I was talking with a friend from high school this week. Our conversation reminded me of the scenario above. “Melissa,” she said, “I feel stuck. My life just isn’t turning out like I’d hoped. I mean, I love my house, my husband, our kids – I just wish I had a different career and lived in a different location. I feel like I’m late to what I really want to do in life.”
Have you ever just felt stuck? As I’ve listened lately, I’ve heard varying versions of this friend’s story. I have felt this way lately too. I’ve been waiting for something, have realized it isn’t likely going to go the way I’ve dreamed it would, and have just been sitting here for a while, honking, screaming ugly, frustrated thoughts, playing on my phone, hoping the light will change from red to green.
Anybody? Just me?
So what, then, do we do to get unstuck?
Well I may be old school, as the kids say, but my best advice would include taking a lesson from Pooh Bear, and the friend I mentioned earlier, and call on some friends to help us out.
Pooh Bear’s ordeal was, in fact, his own fault. He’d eaten too much honey and found himself stuck in Rabbit’s front door. One by one his friends come by, but it’s not until they all formed a chain and pulled together that Pooh went flying across the Hundred Acre Wood.
At the stoplight, the situation didn’t get fixed until I called for help.
This is your sign. This is me giving you official permission to call for help. In fact, make sure you call a whole team for help.
I have a few really close friends that I know I can count on when I’m stuck. Sometimes I just need to talk it out. Usually one or all will remind me to count my blessings or pray or just stop doing or thinking (fill in the blank), or to change something or other that I hadn’t thought of because I can’t see my situation clearly from my own perspective.
It really is okay to ask for help. Sometimes our real friends see we’re stuck and are actually hoping we’ll ask. Real friends will come at 2am, or when you need to move, or, like mine this week, when you just need an impromptu dinner after work because one of you is going through something hard and just needs to talk.
It’s frustrating to feel like everyone else I know is in the cross-traffic with never-ending green lights while I’m stuck on a side-street.
It helps to intentionally surround yourself with good friends.
Find out who your friends are.
Silly Old Bear.