My three-year-old has been obsessed with going to his room and dressing himself multiple times a day. Recently, I heard a bloodcurdling scream in our living room. I ran to Will as he yelled, “I can’t ge-t-t-it. It’s stu-u-u-ck!” He couldn’t pull the zipper up on his shorts – it was stuck on the fabric. Tears streamed down his eyes.
“Mommy can help you. This isn’t as bad as you think,” I said.
I zipped up his shorts and dried his tears. He ran off to play trains and I was thankful for a drama-free resolve that didn’t include blood or else I would’ve passed out.
In our own lives, what is it about being stuck that makes us feel like we’re screaming inside? Maybe you’ve found yourself sitting on the sidelines waiting to get in the game. You’re not progressing like you want to in parenting your defiant children, career success, marital health, in-law issues, finances, weight loss, and more. You’re simply unsure of what to do next.
I don’t know about you but when I’m not seeing the completion of a process, I feel like a failure and that I’m not doing enough. Is it even okay to be in the in-between?
After publishing my first book, I’m continually asking God what is next? I’m cautious about what big project I jump into next and how it might impact my family and sanity with young children. I’m sometimes fearful of tackling the unknown and something altogether new.
Lately, I’m remembering the mantra my mom often tells me from one of her favorite authors and spiritual mentors, the late Elisabeth Elliott: Do the Next Thing. To which I translate: Do something. Just show up. Don’t stress about a future that isn’t here yet. Be obedient to God’s word and to prayer. Be present and available in the tasks he has before you right now. Don’t detest those baby steps.
“Doing the next thing” is an action that means moving forward. So, I’m writing the next article, pursuing publishing contacts, growing my relationships with author friends, and continuing to write for my local paper and other websites. I’m surprising weary moms with my book in a goodie box (my favorite part!).
God is working in the still spots and He isn’t aloof to my desires. He’s here. He’s more concerned about my contentment and trust in him than the outcomes I want.
This season of “stuck” for you? It won’t last forever just as the overcast April rains soon bring us clear blue skies. Maybe your next thing will be to seek the support of a trusted friend, join that financial peace class, schedule to meet with a counselor, begin writing that book burning wildly in your heart, quit your 9-5 job and create a business from scratch, download a good fitness app to keep on track, or pursue healing with your spouse.
As I was there to help my son’s zipper situation and calm his tantrum so he could get on with playing, God will come to your aid in just the right time and lift you up in the perfect way He sees fit.
Blessings to you,
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mama to 4. She is the author of the new devotional for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.
I love the imagery of the stuck zipper. Praying for your next step.