I have plenty of stories to tell you about me getting lost because it ALWAYS happens. So, here I go. My most recent adventure: I got lost in midtown Manhattan while on an errand to pick up a package for the company I intern at. I had already visited all the other locations I was supposed to go to and was relieved to be approaching my final destination and more importantly, I was relieved to be headed back to Brooklyn to escape the sweltering heat.
But, of course, as life goes, nothing is ever as planned. There are always twists and turns and bumps in the road. Yet, life is still so beautiful and worth living. One thing I absolutely hate (and I don’t use that word often) is feeling stuck. I’m a bit claustrophobic so being anywhere with too many people and no exit in sight makes me very uncomfortable. Honestly, for anyone, being somewhere you can’t seem to get out of is distressing.
Today, I was not only lost, I was stuck and it was very distressing. I got to the general area in midtown where I needed to be but I couldn’t find the specific location. I was frustrated. I found myself going around and around in circles and walking further and further away from my destination as each minute went by. My GPS was no help, it only confused me more. I was stuck for so long because I didn’t take the right actions to get out of the painful cycle of aimless wandering I was in. I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did, whether in life or in NYC. So, here are three practical tips for getting un-stuck when you’re in a confusing situation.
Stop and assess the situation
I was lost but I kept on walking. What I really needed to do was find somewhere to sit down so that I could take in my surroundings and assess what was really going on. I was so close to where I needed to be but somehow I ended up going in circles. I should have been looking closely at street signs and landmarks, anything to get an idea of what direction I should have been headed in. We often get so close to the thing we’re praying for or the change we want to see in our lives but yet we end up missing it over and over again.
Even as I was writing this, an outside force came to try to get me to give up. I’m going to be transparent with you because I want you to know I’m not perfect, no one is. I forcefully slammed my laptop shut on the table in complete frustration and decided I would stop writing. I was angry because as I was writing peacefully, I was told to stop because suddenly my quiet typing was disruptive. Of course, the moment I let my anger show, the accuser of the brethren came swiftly to make me feel as though I was not good enough to write something like this to you. Although I felt defeated for a moment, I sat down and assessed my situation. After doing so, it became so much clearer to me, and I got up, said “not today, Satan” and started writing again.
Ask for directions because you can’t do it on your own
The other thing that I did completely wrong in Midtown yesterday was this: I refused to ask for directions. I thought my GPS was more than enough to get me where I need to be. Let’s compare my GPS to our minds. And be honest, we think that our mere human knowledge is enough to get us out of confusing situations. It’s not! You need to ask for directions from someone else. Point blank. The gospel of “I can do it myself, I don’t need nobody else” does not apply in the Kingdom of God. We edify each other. If you feel stuck in one situation or the other, talk to someone who can help you. God has placed people in our lives to help us. Let’s let them.
Breathe, don’t panic
This last point is the most simple, yet we almost always forget to do it. Breathe, don’t panic. Yes, you feel stuck and you don’t know when you’re going to stop going in circles but panicking never helps anything, it only makes it worse. Relax and breathe. When you’re anxious, it’s so much harder to see clearly. If you feel stuck, it’s not the end of the world. You’re going to make it to your destination somehow. You know why? Because God is with you and He takes care of you. So, no need to panic.