Have you ever had one of those moments where you randomly pause and think you’re not where you thought you would have been by now and this isn’t how you pictured your life would be?
Perhaps, in your mind, that relationship was supposed to be it and you would’ve been married by now.
Or you would’ve finished that degree already.
Or had the perfect job. Or be running your own business. Or the house would have been already built or purchased and you were shopping for Christmas decor.
Or maybe you would have had kids of your own driving you happy crazy…
And the list can go on and on.
You aren’t sure what your next move should be; you’ve tried what you could and it feels like you’re sloshing around in mud.
That’s exactly where I found myself over a year ago.
On the surface, everything appeared fine and I certainly had a lot to be grateful for. I had a good job, a roof over my head, my health.
But there was a growing feeling of restlessness that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I kept feeling like there’s supposed to be more.
In fact, I knew there WAS more, but I felt like I didn’t have the power or tools needed to get there.
I also felt like I had been waiting forever for certain things to manifest in my life…but to no avail. I was tired of the waiting season and equally tired of feeling like I was stuck there forever.
I’ll give you some context…
I had moved back home in 2014 after living in London for 5 years and had the family home filled with boxes of stuff I had bought for my own home.
I had developed a deeper love for crafting, home decor and do-it-yourself projects while in London and was eager to get my own place to start decorating it. I planned to start a blog when I bought my home so I could document the decorating and DIY projects along the way.
I spent a few years actively house-hunting but my search had not yielded any fruit. So, I had to “settle” for continuing to live at home with the majority of things neatly packed away in boxes.
As I opened boxes every now and again, I found myself having to throw away some of the items that sat waiting to be used. Bottles of paint were filled with mould, some items disintegrated in my hands, other items were now trash.
But still, I waited.
I felt increasingly frustrated as the years went by.
And as I approached my 3rd year of being back home, I felt incredibly stuck.
On another, more personal level, I thought I would’ve been married by now, possibly with kids. Having been single – literally – for about 13 years, I’d gotten to the stage where I would question if God had forgotten me, if something was wrong with me and if this waiting season would ever end.
There were also too many other self-defeating thoughts to list here. I would see friends and family move from short or long-term relationships to marriage and wonder if Idris Elba got lost on his way to me. Like seriously.
Around mid-2017, it occurred to me that I was spending my life waiting for the perfect scenario.
Waiting for the house, waiting for the right moment, waiting for that relationship…. waiting.
And because those things weren’t materialising in the time I thought they would, it seemed as if I was stuck in the quicksand of life.
I realised then that I’d be crazy to continue to spend my life “waiting” for all the things I thought I needed for fulfilment and true happiness.
As I began to reflect on my circumstances, I realised as well that my feeling of being stuck hinged on the fact that:
- I viewed myself as a victim of my circumstances
- I was crippled by FEAR masked as “waiting on God”
- I felt powerless
Can you relate? Yes?
Well, the good news is that there are some steps you can take to shake that feeling!
6 things to do when you feel stuck in life
1. Recognise that you have far more power over your life than you think
Yes, you do. Beautiful girl (or guy!), you can do anything! We are all equipped with so much talent, skills and potential waiting to be put to good use.
Very often, when we refer to “waiting on God”, we look at it from a passive point of view. That if we take any action, it may seem as if we don’t trust Him. And we sit waiting for “the Universe” to hand us a blessing, packaged and ready to enjoy.
But the reality is, we’ve already been given what we need to maximize and fulfil our purpose – whatever that is – in our current season. And many of the very things we desire are already within arms’ reach; they’re just packaged as challenges instead of blessings.
2. Do THAT thing
I think most people have at least one thing they would like to do but think they don’t have the time or the resources for such. Maybe like me, you’ve been wanting to start a blog. Or you’ve been looking to start your own business, start school or a class or some sort. Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel. Take a moment and think about what that thing is for you.
You may be thinking “Well I don’t have money for that” or “I’m too old now” or too *insert relevant adjective*.
I encourage you to think again. If you really spend time breaking down that major goal into small actionable steps, I’m sure you would realise there is at least one thing you can start today in pursuit of that goal.
3. Realise that you need LESS than you think you do to start
While this is relative and dependent on the circumstances, very often when we say “I don’t have this or that”, it’s really an excuse, often based on fear.
Again, I’ll use the blog as an example. As I mentioned, I was waiting until I had “a proper space” to take photos and store my equipment. Then I started looking at photography setups on Pinterest and I realised I already had all the space I needed to start.
I take most photos for the blog on the end of my bed and in a corner of my room. So there’s still no studio or major space but it was actually not necessary for me to start.
I was reminded of this as well when I saw a video by Sadia of Pick Up Limes, who mentions how she started her blog and YouTube channel which is now quite popular.
She highlighted the fact that she started with what she had. She used kitchens belonging to family and friends to film her food videos and she stored all her food props and dishes in her bedroom because there was nowhere else in their apartment to put them.
And do you know what? Having less actually forces you to be more creative with your existing resources. A win-win.
4. Take time to learn about yourself
You hear this all the time. I even found it annoying and a little cliched at one point, being single for so long, but it’s absolutely true.
This one can be difficult because we can either be our own worst critics or oblivious to some of our self-destructive thoughts and habits. Or even both.
Like my boxes full of stuff, I realised that there were many issues I had to unpack and areas of my life where I needed to heal before entering a relationship. (Maybe Idris knew this all along lol ;)).
As I started to unpack – my thought patterns, belief system, my tendencies – I realised that on the one hand, I wasn’t as bad as I had convinced myself to believe. On the other hand, I was able to recognise some habits (I won’t bore you with details lol) that I needed to address before venturing into a relationship.
Over the past year, I’ve learnt so much about myself, my likes, dislikes etc. I started being more unapologetically me. I’ve finally accepted myself in ways that seemed so unreachable in the past and the journey continues.
Likewise, you need to recognise that you are unique and your quirks make you who you are. Sometimes, a season of waiting is exactly what is needed to force us to turn our lens inward and focus on our own personal growth and development.
The process may even uncover passions of yours that were buried which possibly hold the key for you moving forward!
5. Be grateful for the things you do have.
In another post, I mentioned the positive effect having an attitude of gratitude had on my life.
Begin to reflect on the positive things happening in your life and there’s always something to be grateful for. It causes a shift and you’ll find that ideas come and you are able to see things, even your resources from a different perspective.
Also, being grateful in the now for the little things helps you to enjoy the journey more. As such, you won’t feel like your ultimate goal or vision is unreachable or taking too long to materialise.
6. Be intentional about your present
Sometimes, we can become so fixed on what lies ahead that we completely neglect our present.
Being intentional for me is about making everything align with your goal and constantly reminding yourself of what that goal is. It means being purposeful about how you spend your time and resources and creating a life of meaning.
We all go through seasons of waiting or periods where we may feel stuck in life. And often those seasons may be the very thing that sets us on a path of self-discovery and growth.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Are there any other steps that worked for you? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!