Have you ever felt stuck emotionally? It feels like no matter what you do, you can’t make things work. You feel sad, alone, and frustrated with no way out. Like painting the floor in a room starting at the doorway and working toward the corner. It may have seemed to make sense when you started but when you find yourself in the corner with nowhere to go, you may recognize the error of your ways. You can either wait there until the paint dries or walk over it and have to paint it all over again.
Been there. Naturally, there are times when difficulties arise and knowing what to do, and how and when to do it can be challenging and we can’t seem to find our way out of a problem. That’s life and that’s when reaching out for help is so important. We’re not meant to always go it alone.
But quite often the real problem may not be the actual problem that we’re facing but that we may find that we’ve unwittingly painted ourselves into emotional corners and gotten stuck.
So, how can you do that?
Step One: Decide you will not be happy unless…
Let’s face it, we decide when to be happy and what to be happy about. Make a firm decision not to be happy unless x, y, or z occurs. Do not accept anything else. Be sure to be very specific and focus on the many factors you cannot control. That’s half the fun and challenge.
“I will not be happy unless it’s sunny on my wedding day.”
“I will not forgive him unless he admits he was totally wrong.”
For variation, you can try saying:
“I will only be happy if…I get the job that I applied for.”
“I will only be happy if…the guy at the office asks me out”
“I will only be happy if…I get my PhD before I’m 25.”
Step Two: Pray only for what you want. Do not seek God’s will.
We’re told in scripture to persist in asking for what we want, so shouldn’t we be steadfast and keep insisting no matter what? After all, how will God know we’re serious?
Never seek His will. That would imply that you’re willing to settle. Don’t let God think that or He may pull a fast one on you. After all, you must know what’s best for you.
Do not even entertain the possibility that God may have a better plan for you or that He knows what will make you truly happy. That’s just crazy talk. Just pray for what you want over and over and over again. Ignore any indications that it may not be the best plan for you. Just keep insisting.
Step Three: Focus only on what you want
Keep that which you want front and center in your mind at all times. Do not sway from thinking about it. Let it consume you. Don’t entertain any other possibilities. Don’t allow others to distract you by talking about themselves. Ignore others and world events and stay focused. You don’t want a minute to go by not thinking about what you want, lest you realize you may not really enjoy it after all. Do not let such thoughts cross your mind. Remind yourself daily that you don’t have it and add in a little brooding and complaining.
That’s it. It’s so simple to do. That’s probably why so many people do it so often.
Obviously, I’m being sarcastic. The reality though is that most people don’t realize what they’re doing so they keep at it. And when it doesn’t work, they double down and do it even more.
Does this describe you or someone you know? I know I’ve fit that description in the past too.
So, what should you do to avoid getting stuck? Here are some suggestions:
Consider who God is and who you are
God is your Creator. You are His beloved child. Think about that—His beloved child. What good father doesn’t want to give good gifts to his children? What father doesn’t delight in surprising his children with special gifts? And what good father would give his children lesser things that may actually harm them in the long run? Practice trusting Him. Yes, practice it. It may take some time, but with prayer you can get there.
Decide to be happy no matter what
Happiness truly is a decision. God may deny us when something is not good, but very often He delays answering until we’re better ready to receive His gifts or until the gift is ready to give. You have the choice to decide to be happy until your prayer is answered or until your heart is changed. Ask for the grace of detachment so you can be happy no matter what.
Ask God for His will
This can be scary. It was for me for many years. I had something on my heart and would fear asking, lest God had something else in mind. But God never forces our will. If He has something in mind that’s different from what you want, He will gradually change your heart and desires to come into conformity with his. Ask Him to give you the grace and openness to what His perfect will is for you.
Find happy distractions
While you wait, find other things that you can enjoy to keep from becoming sullen and hopeless. A hobby, a new business endeavor, join a gym—whatever. Remember, you may be suffering, but likely there are people in your life also struggling and perhaps suffering even more than you. Resolve to be a blessing to them. It may be visiting a neighbor who is homebound, calling a friend who is lonely or playing a game with your kids or family members. God’s timing is perfect. Make the most of your time while you wait on His blessings.
Remember, prayer is a two-way street, not a slot machine. Draw close to Jesus and Our Lady with detachment and you’ll be free.
God bless you!
- Ep. 211 Navigating Family Stress at the Holidays - November 22, 2023
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- Ep. 210 What To Do When Your Feelings Don’t Seem to Make Sense - November 15, 2023
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