I clicked the wipers up to full speed as the rain intensified. It was pounding the windshield now as I drove down the highway. With all the rain and mist blowing at me and the wipers on full blast, I could hardly see the tail-lights of the tractor-trailer in front of me. I was still moving along at a good pace, but the visibility had bottomed out when the truck pulled in front of me. My shoulders tensed and I gripped the steering wheel just a bit tighter. I continued down the road behind the truck for another few minutes. Still no change. It was raining so hard that I couldn’t see clearly enough whether or not I had room to pass the truck, or even space to change lanes. Even though we were still moving, we were stuck, and I couldn’t see a way around.
What do you do when you feel stuck, and life is getting intense?
After several intense minutes behind the semi-truck I saw an opportunity. It was still pouring rain and I was straining to see the back of the truck, but there was finally a gap in the traffic to my right. I hit the blinker and eased my truck into the righthand lane. When I shifted lanes it all became clear. Literally. The wipers started screeching across the glass, searching for water to glide on. In an instant the driving rain turned into a light drizzle. The mist was gone. The wind subsided. I relaxed my grip and breathed out.
When I was behind the truck the whole world looked different. There was a storm raging. It was ugly and intense. But when I shifted lanes into the open air I realized that what I had been experiencing wasn’t reality. It wasn’t really raining that hard. The intensity of the rain and poor visibility was the result of what I had been following. My position behind the truck had created a false reality. It changed the way I was experiencing the journey. What I was following had affected how I saw my reality.
The same can be said for your journey. We all have a destination. You were created ON purpose, WITH a purpose. And your life is a journey to discover and live that purpose out each day.
But what happens when what you are experiencing in life doesn’t look at all like the things you’ve hoped for? What happens when you’ve done everything the best way you know how and things still don’t seem to be working out? What happens when you feel stuck? You know you’re still moving forward, but you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere? Maybe you need to change lanes. Maybe it’s time for a shift.
Make a shift
So many times in my life when things weren’t adding up the way I had planned I wanted to find a reason why. It will always be easier to blame your tough seasons on circumstances outside of your control. It’s in our nature. We want to believe that the reason we don’t feel like our effort is paying off is because something or someone has blocked our path. But every time that I have been in this position - stuck and frustrated -especially when I was in this position because of things or people that I couldn’t control, I have realized that I needed to make a shift.
Making a shift is usually a subtle move, but one that can have big impact in your life. Just like changing lanes on the highway, it’s a small adjustment that can correct your course. If you feel stuck, or consumed and frustrated by life, here is a shift you can make:
Ask yourself this question: “What can I change about me that will change my whole situation?”
Often when we are stuck in life we end up staying stuck because we are waiting for something else to change. The reality is, we are the ones that probably need to change something. After all, the things that are frustrating you, or the reason you feel stuck are probably things you don’t have any control over. But what you do have control over is how you see the situation, or how you respond to the frustration. The easiest variable for you to change in any situation is YOU. How can you learn from your experience? How can you grow into a better person through your circumstance? How can you make a change, in you, that changes everything you see in front of you?
Take a moment and ask that question in the context of your current struggle. Decide what you can change and commit to making the shift. When you start to make the shift you will realize that things might not have been as bad as they seemed. Maybe you were just stuck for a moment, and it never was raining as hard as you thought.
The hope you are looking for is only a step away. No matter whether you find yourself frustrated by life’s circumstances or just feel stuck, seemingly without a way out, there is hope. I promise. All you need is a shift. Sometimes that’s all it takes to see clearly again.