Sometimes I Feel Stuck!

Authors call it writer’s block.

Athletes call it a slump. 

Economists call it stagnation. 

Pastors call it burnout. 

Swimmers call it treading water. 

Off-roaders call it spinning their wheels. 

Retailers call it sluggishness. 

Scientists call it inertia. 

Retirees call it the “every day is Saturday” syndrome. 

Sailors call it the doldrums.

But I have good news. This is not God’s intention for your life. 

The Bible says, “He who has begun a good work in you will compete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

You see, our mighty God has a plan for your life, and He doesn’t intend to stop in mid-design! 

So, if you are feeling stuck in life or in your relationship with Jesus — this is not God’s plan for you and your life

The One who composed the songs of the birds, fashioned the orbits of the planets, formed the cycles of history, and plotted the pathways of the great whales — that One has a unique, exciting, and every changing design for your life. 

And, nothing is more important than fulfilling it.

At certain points in life, you’ll feel incapacitated and stuck, unable to gain forward momentum. 

Some of the greatest characters in the Bible were immobilized for a time:

      • Moses was stuck on the backside of the desert for years, unaware of God’s future for him (Exodus 3:1)
      • Naomi was trapped in Moab after the deaths of her husband and sons (Ruth 1:5)
      • Elijah was stuck in the wilderness, feeling sorry for himself after his failure to bring about the revival he’d hoped for Israel (1 Kings 19:10)
      • Ezekiel was stranded in Babylon at age thirty, frustrated he couldn’t enter his priestly service in Jerusalem at the temple (Ezekiel 1:1)
      • Peter was caught in a dark, depressive cycle on the Saturday before Easter ( Matthew 26:75)
      • Thomas was cast into faithless despondency when he missed the Saviour’s appearance on Easter Sunday (John 20:24)
      • Paul was stuck in Troas where a great door of evangelism was open for him, but he had no peace of mind because of anxiety about problems in the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 2:12-13)
      • The apostle John was exiled on the Island of Patmos, lonely and unable to continue his ministry — or so he thought (Revelation 1:9)

But wait! God has a design for every situation and every person. 

Look at that list again. 

By God’s grace, each of these people managed to get themselves unstuck and they went forward, onto their greatest days of usefulness for the Lord.

You were created for an ever-fruitful, flourishing, thriving life. 

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). 

The Bible says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11 NIV).

In 1 Corinthians 15:58 the apostle Paul proclaimed, “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

You can’t be stuck and live abundantly at the same time. 

You can’t be despondent while keeping your spiritual fervour in God’s service. 

You can’t be immobilized and give yourself fully to the work of the Lord.

So, how do you get free of the sandbar and back to sailing in open water? 

The first of a number of suggestions that will help you to do just that. 

1> Consider What’s Best

Start be accepting that everything is not equally important. 

Let me repeat that: everything in your life is not equally important.

Almost every adult struggles with this today. 

We become so distracted by molehills that we can’t charge up the mountain.

In February 2020, Dan Cain of Twinsburg, Ohio, came home to find postal workers hauling seventy-nine large bins of letters to his house. In one day he received 55,000 letters, all of them the same. They were duplicate letters from a student loan company. Somehow the company made an error in its mailing system, inundating Cain with enough mail to last a lifetime.

Now think of this. What if somewhere among those fifty-five thousand letters was a vital communication — a small package mixed among the bins? 

What if it was a letter from God? 

What if a small copy of the Bible, the message of hope and heaven, was jumbled among the letters in those seventy-nine bins of mail?

He, most likely, would have missed it among the clutter!

Your cluttered world bombards you with thousands of bits of data every day. 

No wonder you’re distracted! 


It’s easy for the most important things to be lost. 

That’s why you must acknowledge that not everything is a priority. 

Not every activity is vital. 

Not every situation is eternal.

In His parable of the sower, Jesus said, “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).

Can you relate to that? I can. 

The Lord has sown the seed of His Word into our hearts, but it’s not as productive or fruitful as He wants. 

Somehow His work in and through us is chocked by “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.”

Often times our inability to get unstuck and move forward is due to a lack of priorities — we fail to even consider that some things are more important than others. 

Without understanding the nature of priorities, you can’t sort through the cares of this world, but you can become paralyzed by burdens, business, and busyness. 

In trying to do everything you end up doing nothing. 

This “paralysis by analysis” can devastate your morale and your emotional health.

In a book called Essentialism, the author writes:

The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. 

Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. 

Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. 

Somehow we would now be able to have multiple “first” things. 

Priority became priorities

People and companies routinely try to do just that. 

One leader told me of his experience in a company that talked of “Pri-1, Pri-2, Pri-3, Pri-4, and Pri-5.” 

This gave the impression of many things being the priority but actually nothing was.

Understanding that not all things are equally important is an essential part of getting unstuck in daily life and moving forward. 

Priorities keep you focused and help you to accomplish what really matters

Because the best way to move forward in your life journey is to remove the clutter and then focus on what is of prime importance. 

We need to learn to major on the majors. 

2> Clarify What’s Best

Once you consider what’s best and set your priorities you are well on your way to being unstuck. 

Once you’ve understood the significance of priorities, the next step to getting unstuck is actually to determine the most important things in your life. 

To do that you need the clarity to know what’s best.

 So, step two to getting unstuck and away from feeling overwhelmed is to clarify what’s best.”

To do this you should start be asking what’s most important to God. 

And ask, What isn’t important to God? 

This will help you to determine what you need to focus on in your life right now and what you can start deleting. 

And, of course, deleting some things in your life will help to reclaim the calm that you have lost and then remove that feeling of being overwhelmed.

To regain forward movement in your journey of life and remove that feeling of life overwhelming you, evaluate (clarify) your activities — Clarify what’s best at this time in your life

Delete things of less importance to keep things of greater worth. 

I can’t give you an itemized list of what should be important to you. 

Each of us is unique and so each of us has different things we are dealing with that need to be eliminated and other aspects of our busy life that need more attention and greater effort. 

However, in Mark, Chapter 12, Jesus gives us three principles that should be central to everyone’s life. 

Mark 12:28-34 “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

In that passage, a Jewish temple scribe approached Jesus asking advice on how to organize life.

How to set priorities.

How to live a full life without feeling overwhelmed.

His specific question was, “Which is the first commandment of all?” 

The Great Commandment! The one above all others. The ultimate priority. 

In effect, the scribe was asking Jesus, “What is truly important in life? From God’s perspective, what one thing is indispensable?” “What should my priority be?”

Clarify what’s best!

This scribe came from a Jewish tradition boasting a multitude of commands and obligations. 

Jewish rabbis divided the Old Testament commandments into positive and negative laws and into major and minor laws. 

According to the calculations, the Old Testament contained 613 commandments. Of those, 248 tell us to do something positive and 365 prohibit us from doing something negative. 

This scribe was asking Jesus which of these 613 commandments was most important from God’s perspective.

Jesus answered without hesitation: 

“The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

What an answer! 

Jesus boiled down the contents of the entire Old Testament into one overarching, overwhelming priority: love. 

And He ascribed to that priority three applications. 

All three to be priorities in a life well-lived and unstuck. 

Without understanding this, it’s impossible to move forward and live life without feeling overwhelmed. 

Love — as God defines love — is life’s ultimate priority.

Clarify what’s best

2A> The priority of loving God … Highest priority

First is the priority of loving God. 

Quoting from Deuteronomy 6, Jesus said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

More than anything else, this is what we’re made for — a passionate, practical embracing of God with all His attributes, all His virtues, all His grace, embracing Him with an overflowing heart of burning devotion and passionate enjoyment that affects everything else we think, do and say.

But what does it mean to love God?

In his book, Do I Love God?, professor Rod Culbertson says the greatest question is: “Do you have emotions and passion for, and devotion to, the one living and true God, as well as a settled commitment that He is the Lord of your life and everything to you?”

Culbertson also asks, “What keeps you from loving God with a devoted, heartfelt love? Work, play, leisure, family, poor time management, technology, laziness, sin, or personal failure? The excuses and reasons are numerous and somehow allow us to ignore or underdeveloped our relationship with God, the most important relationship in life. So, I conclude with one more question: Are you growing in your love for God?”

Elizabeth Elliot likewise said, “I have one desire now — to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord putting all my energy and strength into it.”

That is the first of three things we need to consider as we clarify what’s best.


So, we have seen that we need to continue our journey with Jesus as we live our daily life. 

And, often we tend to get stuck and simply exist and not really live. 

And, in the midst of being stuck we feel totally overwhelmed by all the things that need our attention. 

Some of the solution to feeling overwhelmed include:

1> Consider what’s best – priorities – Not everything is equal in importance

2> Clarify what’s best – Love must always be first and best

a> The priority of loving God

The Scripture we are looking at:

“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

As we clarify what’s best we need to look at The priority of loving people.

Jesus continued, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

Within the same priority of love there’s a second application. 

We’re to love our neighbours – and we have almost 8 billion of them! 

We can’t know or personally care for each of them, but the Lord knows exactly how to lead us to those we need to serve.

With a biblical mindset we must come to realize that God has put us here for His purposes, to carry out His mission, whatever that might be and however He might lead us.

Loving others is sharing the compassion of Christ with the people around you.

The Bible states, “”Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law … Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8, 10). 

And the apostle Paul wrote, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14).

In all calamities and tragedies, we’ve had choices to make (like in the recent Covid-19 pandemic) 

And the first choice should always be to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. 

To give to others. 

The Bible states it is more blessed to give than to receive

And loving your neighbour is not something you feel … it’s something you do!

For as James 2:8 says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ you do well.”

But keeping priorities correctly aligned is a daily challenge. 

The first step is knowing what’s at the top of your list. 

Once that’s settled, other things fall into place more naturally. 

What comes first is clear — love — for God, for others, and then for ourselves.

1> Consider what’s best – priorities – Not everything is equal in importance

2> Clarify what’s best – Love must always be first and best

a> The priority of loving God

b> The priority of loving others

The priority of loving ourselves…

Notice again how Jesus stated this command: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31). 

That means it’s okay to love ourselves. 

In fact, we are commanded to love ourselves!

Of course, we have to be careful at this point, because the devil always attempts to turn self-love into selfishness, ego, low and high esteem, conceit, haughtiness, self-importance, and all the other elements that make up sinful narcissism. 

I’m not recommending any of those things.

On the other hand, the apostle Paul said, “Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the flock” (Acts 20:28).

Let me paraphrase here: take heed to yourselves and to everyone else assigned by God to your care.

If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. 

If you become fatigued and irritable, you can’t uplift others. 

If you don’t pay attention to your diet and exercise, you’ll lose the strength you need to fulfill God’s will.

You have a God-given responsibility to take care of yourself. 

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. 

Your personality is the means by which God touches others. 

If you get in a rut you’ll pull others down into it with you. 

But when you have your priority — love — in its right place, and you understand these three applications, things have a way of falling into place and that feeling of being overwhelmed begins to permanently fade. 

So maybe we can conclude this part and say: “Put God ahead of everything else and He will take care of all the rest.”

Sometimes our lives need to be cleaned out. 

A lot of our activities and attitudes should be jettisoned. 

Other interests need to be tucked away in an orderly place on our calendars. 

It’s only possible to know what’s worth keeping when you have the clarity to know what’s best (#1) and when you understand the priority of love (#2).


So to get unstuck and begin moving, once again, into God’s plan and purpose for your life we have seen…

1> Consider what’s best 

2> Clarify what’s best

a> The priority of loving God

b> The priority of loving others

c> The priority of loving yourself

Let’s look at #3 – “Choose What’s Best.”

Once you have clarified what is God’s best in your life (step 2), the next thing you need to do is actually choose these priorities. 

You need to make intentional, planned decisions that elevate what is best and remove what is merely good. 

Doing so will require courage.

As Moses was dying, he told his successor, Joshua, 

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8).

It takes zero courage to stay in a rut. 

It takes grit and spunk to rouse yourself to climb out and move forward. 

So, to get out of your rut – whatever it might be – have the courage to do something new. 

Whatever God leads you to do, move forward, grow, change, adjust, learn, conquer. 

Once you establish your priorities, find the courage to say “no” to some things and “yes” to others. 

There are two areas where this kind of courage to make life changes are required. 

a> Courage to embrace your limitations

First, embrace your limitations. 

Do you have any of those? — Of course you do! — We all do! 

Beware of living in denial. 

To change and adjust so as to move forward in your journey with Jesus you have to be realistic. 

To overcome that feeling of being overwhelmed by life you will need to embrace your limitations. 

Progress comes by embracing your God-given limits. 

Yes, they are God-given because He created you.

Some limits have to do with your age or stage in life. 

Some of your limitations have to do with the gifts God has given you or the location where He’s placed you. 

Perhaps you battle a handicap or a chronic illness, or you’re a caregiver for someone who does. 

Maybe you have a dysfunctional family member, or you live in a dangerous area. 

You might be on a fixed income or you couldn’t afford to go to college, or your job is being phased out. 

Whatever they are, accept your limitations; don’t use them as an excuse for not doing what God assigns you.

Even the Lord Jesus Christ had limitations. 

As almighty God, of course, He had no limitations. He was and is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. 

Not even the entire universe can contain Him. His power, might, grace, holiness, and justice are limitless, boundless, and measureless. 

But when the Son of God entered the human race in Bethlehem, He was confined within the animal’s feeding trough. 

He grew up in a small hillside town. 

He did no recorded miracles for the first thirty years of His life and He lived in submission His parents.

When Jesus began His ministry, He didn’t fly around like an angel from one preaching assignment to another. 

He didn’t even have a horse or donkey, except on one known occasion. 

He said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20).

Jesus’ area of ministry was limited to a little strip of land along the Mediterranean, and He never visited the great cities of His day: Athens, Rome, Milan, Alexandria, Carthage. 

He had a limited education, a limited income, and a limited time for His work — only about three years. 

Oh, and His nation wasn’t free; it was occupied by Roman soldiers.  

The limitless Son of God was financially, geographically, chronologically, politically, and physically limited. 

And then His limitations became far more stringent. 

On the cross, He became so limited by the nails in His hands and feet. 

He was unable to wipe the blood from His eyes or scatter the flies from His face.

Yes His limitations worked for the advantage of the whole world. Imagine that! 

Limitations should never become excuses for staying where you are. 

Your priorities are determined by the gifts God has given you, your stage in life, and your personal shortcomings. 

Doesn’t the Bible say something about God’s strength being made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)?

So have the courage to embrace your limitations and move forward so as to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed by life. 

Remember: We are talking about having a life worth living, getting out of ruts we have accepted as normal for our life when they are anything but ‘normal. 

And, how to get rid of that feeling that life is overwhelming. 

b> Courage to eliminate your distractions

To get out of your rut and stop feeling overwhelmed by life you need the courage to eliminate distractions by saying “no” to bad things and even saying “no” to some good things. 

You only want to say “yes” to the best things.

Warren Buffett (one of the riches men in the world) has learned he can’t focus on too many things at once. 

He advices making a list of the top twenty-five things you want to accomplish in the next few years. 

From that list, pick the five that are most important to you. 

Now you have two lists. Buffett suggests you “avoid at all cost” the longer one, for those items may well prevent the big things from happening.

To overcome obstacles, that feeling of being overwhelmed by demands and expectations, and to move forward into the fullness of your life, you have to discover the beauty of the word “no.” 

The practice of a graceful “no” takes courage, but it is certainly liberating.

Here is something that I have learned in my 50+ years of pastoring … If you don’t set priorities in your own life, someone else will.

In her book Learning How to Say No When You Usually Say Yes, Maritza Manresa advises her readers that it’s all right to say no to lesser things to have room for the best things. 

Most of us say yes more than we should because we are taught to be available or because we don’t want to disappoint others or challenge authority. 

Maybe we feel guilty, or we don’t want to damage a relationship. 

As a result, we’re constantly overcommitted, and the greater things are left behind. 

Manresa suggests several ways to say no. The first is simply: “No!” 

That’s a complete sentence. 

But if you want to be gentler about it, try statements like:

      • I’m sorry, but I simply can’t at this time
      • I have a personal policy…
      • It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to, but if anything changes I’ll let you know
      • It looks like I’m going to have to pass this time
      • I just can’t fit it into my schedule 
      • That is such a good cause but I am already supporting other good causes
      • No, thank you

Is this hard for you? It is for me too. 

But we must have the courage to eliminate distractions if we’re going to live the life God intended and no longer feel overwhelmed by life on a daily basis.

Jesus often said “no” to others so that He could say “yes” to His Father. 

In Matthew 16, the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus, asking Him for a sign. He said no. 

He gave them a blunt little sermon instead and left them and went away (Matthew 16:1-4). 

In Mark 1:38, Peter asked Jesus to return to Capernaum, where everyone wanted to hear Him. 

But Jesus said, “Let  us go into the next towns, that I may preach also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”

We can’t do everything, but we can always do our Father’s will. 

We can fulfill His design for our days.

So, learn to say ‘no’ and mean it. 

Stick to your ‘no.’ 

Let your no be no! 

That takes courage but you can do it. 

We can live an abundant and joyful life overcoming the feeling of being overwhelmed by the expectations and demands of life  and other people if we will simply:

1> Consider what’s best 

2> Clarify what’s best

a> The priority of loving God

b> The priority of loving others

c> The priority of loving yourself

3>  “Choose What’s Best.”

a> Courage to embrace your limitations

b> Courage to eliminate your distractions

Last but not least as we look at overcoming that feeling of living in a rut and being overwhelmed by all the demands of life …

4> Commit to What’s Best

When you get stuck, find some traction to get you out of the rut and moving forward in life once again. 

God doesn’t want you to live life feeling overwhelmed by the demands and expectations that come at you every day in your life. 

God does not want you spinning your wheels. 

Once you get moving, you need clarity to know what direction to move in, and Jesus provided that by telling you to love God, love those around you, and love yourself. 

Armed with that clarity, you need the courage to say “no” to some things so you can say yes to the best things. 

And finally you need the consistency to practice what’s best. Proverbs 23:17 says, “But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day”.

Paul said that we are to be, “His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).

When you do what we have been sharing about you’ll place yourself in the paths God has promised to bless. 

Even when things appear discouraging, keep pressing ahead — stay committed — trusting God to make a way. 

Stay committed to what’s best, for the Lord takes things from there and works wonders. 

It is not always easy but it is always good.