When we came to a stop, my first instinct was to reassure my wife and kids that we were fine and needed to remain calm.
I got out and surveyed the situation:
Were we able to drive on the tire to the next exit? No.
Was the rim bent? No.
Was there a spare tire? Yes.
Was I confident enough in my abilities as a mechanic to change it? No.
So I had the facts, but no power to change them!
What was I to do? I called the experts at AAA, and they sent someone to help me get back on the road.
The mechanic showed up, asked some questions, helped me see some things I hadn't otherwise seen, and showed me how to properly change a tire - if I were ever to find myself in that situation again.
Sitting there on the edge of the interstate called to mind how many people, from all walks of life, are feeling stuck today. It's like they're sitting on the roadside of life. And while they're sitting there, other people are speeding by on the way to their own particular destinations.
If you find yourself stuck today, I offer this sequence of actions to help you in your pursuit to get "unstuck."
1) Get Desire
You must want to get going again. This seems too basic to point out, but some people are so caught in the clutches of self-pity that they don't actually want to go anywhere. The reason, I suspect, lies in the fact that if they changed then a central piece of their identity would be altered and they would have to learn to live by a different script. Because it's much easier to do nothing, the first thing you need if you're going to change is desire.
2) Get a Grip
Even though you don't feel like yourself, you should remind yourself and others that the present situation is not the final word. Fortunately, as Mark Beeson (Senior Pastor of Granger Community Church) points out, life is more like a movie than a photograph. He says, "You can take a picture with a camera, and it freezes that moment forever....But life is not like that. You must remember: Life is not a snapshot. Life is a movie....The camera is still rolling." This moment does not define who you will be for the rest of your life.
3) Get the Facts
Interrogate the situation by asking questions. For instance, What happened? How did you end up in this predicament? What is keeping you from moving forward? Do you have the necessary tools and/or skills to fix the problem?
4) Get Help
There is something powerful about a common experience. In 2 Corinthians 1:4 we're reminded, "[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (NLT). But it can be hard to find out who's had what experiences. The temptation is to hide and say, "I'm fine," even if we're not. This requires transparency and vulnerability. If we conceal all our experiences and true feelings behind "Sunday Smiles," then no one will be able to fill the role of a helper (passing along wisdom gained from experiences) or the role of the one being helped (being assisted by someone who has a common experience). Without honesty, everyone loses out.
5) Get Going
At some point you have to step on the accelerator. When you do, you'll gain the necessary traction to get back on your way. And it's a beautiful thing when the cycle comes full-circle. You, having once been stuck, will be able to help someone else get "unstuck" because you've been there too!
Who can you call/email today to ask for or offer help?