6 Steps in Getting ‘Unstuck” and Why Counseling?
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of seeing an amazing Christian counselor. There are many things in my life that sometimes keep me from moving forward and growing and that have caused me to be ‘stuck’. Through counseling, I have been able to better process and take great steps in moving forward and gaining in personal growth. We all have blind spots. Areas in our life that tend to hold us back, cause us to be stuck, or keep us from being the best version of ourselves. And so, I encourage anyone who thinks they may need help, to get the help of a professional counselor. I think it's an amazing thing to be able to admit that you need help, to have the desire to improve yourself, and to seek wise biblically based counseling.
First, How do I find a good counselor?
Having talked about counseling with several of my friends, this is a common question that is asked. Here are a few tips:
- Get Word of Mouth Referrals- I would say, start with referrals and specifically referrals from your church. These referrals have been checked out and utilized. You want someone who has had a good relationship with their counselor, who has a good idea of their style, and who can speak from experience. Also, ask a friend! This is the best kind of referral!
- Google for Your specific needs: For example, if you are needing help with grief, depression, parenting, marriage, blended family needs etc. There are a lot of lay counselors and life coaches out there. Not to discredit them in anyway, but there is a risk that is taken when counselors don’t have all the credentials and training that licensed counselors have. A licensed counselor by the state must carry liability insurance to maintain the necessary continuing education to practice.
Reasons why getting professional help is a Good idea:
Constant Worrying: Maybe you are feeling stuck because you constantly worry about what might happen. The worrying is preoccupying your thoughts and as a result, you hesitate to move forward.
Bad Habits : Maybe you are feeling stuck because you consistently indulge in unproductive habits. These habits could be watching endless hours of television, mindlessly surfing the internet and a many other things that are robbing you of thriving in your everyday.
Constant Disappointment- Maybe you are feeling stuck as a result of the constant disappointment you have suffered. You expected so much more of yourself (and others), but things didn’t go your way. You made mistakes and failed. As a result, you’re disappointed and somewhat disheartened with how things have turned out, and this keeps you stuck in the same place with very little forward movement. It’s important that we learn from our mistakes and find out new ways of doing things so that we can move forward in a better direction.
Limited Hope for Future- Maybe you are feeling stuck because you have limited hope for the future. All these disappointments have made you feel helpless, and this helplessness is now manifesting in your life as stagnation. Your thoughts are on all the things that could go wrong, ‘the glass is always half empty’ sort of thinking. You find yourself stuck in self-pity and it's eating your lunch! If only you saw things in a different light. If only you could expand your perspective, then maybe, just maybe you might see that there is a flicker of hope at the end of the tunnel that signals a way of the dark.
Blurry Vision of Future- Maybe you are feeling stuck because you have a blurry vision of your future. In fact, you have very little direction in life. You set no goals, you don’t have a purpose for living, and as a result, nothing seems to happen in your life. There’s essentially nothing in life that gets you excited — at least nothing that you’re consistently working on. You have no active passions, and as a result, there’s nothing in your life that provides you with the enthusiasm you need to take positive action.
Unwilling to Take Responsibility- Maybe you are feeling stuck because you are unwilling to take responsibility for your decisions and actions. This is a BIG one! You constantly make excuses, blaming others is how you cope and confront your problems. Then, you find yourself complaining all day about how everyone is against you and life is just unfair.
Physically and Mentally Drained- Another Big one! Maybe you are feeling stuck because you’re physically and mentally drained as a result of ongoing stress and everything seems overwhelming. These emotions have taken over your life and as a result, you absolutely have no energy to pursue anything meaningful and rewarding. You find yourself always reacting in negative emotion verses responding with thoughtfulness and grace.
- Lack of Focus- This one is definitely the #1 symptom that I struggle with! Maybe you are feeling stuck because you lack focus. You lack focus because there's so much going on in your life at the moment that you’re simply unable to focus on your highest priority activities, or because you haven’t taken the time to clarify what it is you really want out of life. You have absolutely no priorities, and without priorities, you have no direction, and without direction, you just keep spinning in a circle. Proverbs 29:18 says,``Without vision, the people perish’ or in other words, they die. Oh no! We must have focus in our lives.
- Insecurity- Maybe you are feeling stuck because you lack confidence and suffer from insecurity. You don’t believe in yourself or in your abilities to make things happen. Insecurity can very well be rooted in various fears that have taken a hold of you. You’re unable to take the necessary actions because you fear that you are not capable of reaching your desired expectations. All this makes you rather indecisive, and as a result, you make some forward movement, but then crawl right back into your comfort zone.
Lack of Inspiration-Just maybe you are feeling stuck because you simply lack inspiration. Yes, you might very well have things that you are absolutely passionate about. However, these passions are weak because they don’t inspire you to pursue them with passion. It’s like driving an old rusty car. Yes it moves forward, but it could break down at any moment. Unless you discover new ways to find the inspiration you seek, then, unfortunately, your car will always be old and rusty, and you will remain stuck in a place you rather not be.
6 Steps to Getting You “Unstuck”
Below are a few steps you can take to help you if you need to get unstuck in life.
- Forgive- Let go of old hurts. This is easier said than done, but it is possible. (Matt 6:14-15)
- Accept Reality- “It is what it is’. Life is unfair. It always has been and it will always be.
- Release Expectations on Others. If you don't release certain expectations, it sets you up for disappointment.
- Choose Not to be Offended. Release others quickly with Grace!
- Thoughts must match the Word. Our battlefield is in our mind, and so we must renew it daily!
- Change what You can and give the rest to God. Trust God with your stress and burdens. He is Big enough to handle them!
I hope you find peace in knowing that you are never alone in their daily struggle. We all face difficulties and challenges in our lives that we need help getting through. Of course, Jesus is our first Counselor and Comforter, and I hope that you will go to Him first with your struggle. However, I couldn’t be more of an advocate for professional, bible-based counseling. Do your research, get a great referral, and try one out that is tailored to your specific needs.
If you are in the Grapevine, Texas area, I highly recommend Cheryl Rutherford with Grace Perspectives Counseling LLC. She has worked with me for a few years now and is actually the one who shared with me the ‘6 Steps of Getting Unstuck’. I thought they were so helpful and so true, that I had to share.