With all of life’s ups and downs, have you ever felt stuck? I’m not talking about a little stuck, I’m talking about feeling like you’re trapped in quicksand stuck. Stuck is pretty much how I spent my whole 2019. Life wasn’t horrible, but it sure wasn’t great. I’m not even sure how to accurately describe the feeling of stagnation in my mind, body and spirit. I honestly couldn’t pinpoint an area in my life where I felt progress. I wasn’t where I thought I’d be in any area of life. I was in a job that I wasn’t crazy about. I had some chronic pain in my body that’s progressively healing, but my active lifestyle has been on hold. My finances left me frustrated. My thoughts circled the same mountain for months. I do a great job at coaching other people on how to get unstuck and yet when it came to my own life, I had the hardest time of figuring anything out. Isn’t that usually the case? It’s far easier to help someone else than it is to help ourselves. I tend to want a perfect solution that leads to a perfect outcome that’s wrapped in a perfect bow. Toward the end of the year, I just got fed up with being stuck. The Lord gave me some ways out, as He kindly does. And then He graciously encouraged me that progress will always win out over perfection. God is not interested in perfection. His heart is for us to constantly grow and become like Him. His Holy Spirit gently reminded me of a couple of truths I easily forget.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2 (NASB)The Lord is in the fruit-bearing business. Everything we do and say produces some sort of fruit. Often, when we don’t see fruit, we panic and worry. It is in those times that He prunes us. He could be breaking some toxic thoughts or establishing new habits. He could be teaching us to rely solely on Him as our source. He could be stripping away pride and self-reliance. He prunes us because He loves us. He prunes us because He is a good Father. He always has our best in mind. Sometimes His best comes in the form of stuck. All we need to do is stay connected to the vine and the vinedresser will do what He does best — nourish and strengthen branches that produce much fruit.
We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (CSB)I’ve always loved the part of this verse that says from glory to glory. It reminds me that there is one glory and then another and then another still. But it doesn’t end there. Until Jesus returns, there will always be new levels of glory that can be experienced. This glory is never about us. It is about us gazing at Christ Jesus and becoming more like Him with each passing day. This transformation isn’t designed to happen overnight. It is designed to be a relationship and a journey with Him. It is designed to happen in the intimacy of the secret place with the Lord. One thing I learned coming out of a season of feeling stuck is that whether we see movement, it’s happening. God is always on the move. He is always at work for His glory and for our good. May we learn to trust Him in seasons of feeling stuck and standing still. May we be grateful for slow and steady progress toward who He is calling us to be and what He is calling us to do.