Monday, July 28, 2014


This post was originally written in 2006 - when Collin was 16 months old. He's 9 now. (How time flies.) In the context of my spiritual walk today, I really really need to listen to Mark from 2006.

Collin has discovered the joy of putting small objects into slightly larger holes. Yes, it's that time the developmental progress of a young boy when everything is a puzzle waiting to be solved. So, yesterday afternoon, I found myself attempting to extricate an empty Mini M&M's container from one of his toys with a shish-kebab skewer. (For the record: no, I did not succeed.)

I've had a similar experience with my computer this last week. I returned home from vacation (which we enjoyed immensely) last Monday to find my e-mail box flooded with spam. And I when I say "flooded", I am in no danger of exaggeration. At one point, I had over 2500 new messages. (Evidently my mailbox on the network server was stuck - that's right, somehow a virtual piece of mail managed to get stuck in the virtual pipeline and cause a virtual overflow into my life.)

"Stuck" is a utility-fielder, word-wise.

OK, I'll take a short break to define "utility fielder" for those of you who don't live, breath & eat ESPN... a utility fielder is someone who can play multiple positions. We now return you to our regularly scheduled column.

We use the word "stuck" to refer to crushing football hits ("He stuck right under the chinstrap"), to register our disgust ("This chewing gum is stuck to my shoe"), and to commend someone who's stood up for what they believe ("They stuck to their guns"). We also use "stuck" to complain about our employment situation ("I'm stuck in this dead-end job"), grumble about the way our brain works ("I've got that stupid 'Macarena' song stuck in my head"), and describe what happened to our car when we drove through the mud puddle ("I'm stuck... call a tow truck").

And some of us live like we're just stuck...
And you are such a foolTo worry like you doI know it's toughAnd you can never get enoughOf what you don't really need nowMy, oh my You've got to get yourself togetherYou've got stuck in a momentAnd you can't get out of it Don't say that later will be betterNow you're stuck in a momentAnd you can't get out of it 
And if the night runs overAnd if the day won't lastAnd if our way should falterAlong the stony pass
It's just a momentThis time will pass     U2, "Stuck in a Moment"
Every time that song plays on my CD player, I'm reminded once again how easy it is to live as if I'm mired in the mistakes of my past. Each choice I make to focus on the muck & mud only serves to dig me deeper into worry & fear - which almost always leads to a frenetic search for ways to get myself distracted from the panic.

Thankfully, God speaks forcefully into our "stuck-ness" with the crowbar of His truth:
I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which
God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.     Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Wherever you've been, whatever you've done, what kind of mess you've left behind... it's time to stop living as if that one moment (or string of moments) is the definition of your life. You are not stuck - it just feels that way.

Homework for today: ask God for help in seeing your life through His eyes. When we see things this way, the prayer "Help me get unstuck" is accompanied by the clarity of vison & spirit in order to drive our lives back onto solid ground. OTOH, if all we want is for our Cosmic AAA Tow Truck to come & pull us out of the mud we've created, we'll miss seeing God at work in a thousand different ways.

There's a difference between seeing people/situations like God sees them and simply waiting around for Him to "work." Guess which one is more conducive to being stuck?


Gameguythinks said...

It would be hypocritical of me to offer spiritual advice, but I do hope you find clarity of vision, my friend.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Thanks, Jeff... your friendship is (whether you know it or not) a gift from God.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

That goes for John & Joe as well. :-)