Stuck

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It’s 20 below and there’s a goat in the back of our SUV.

And it’s snowing.

And we’ve pulled over on a snowbanked shoulder of another sparsely-traveled road in rural Alaska.

Did I mention the goat? In the back of our SUV?

There’s a saying in Alaska that there are two kinds of drivers: 1) the one who’s in the ditch and 2) the one who’s going to be in the ditch. We are helping the former. The culprits of this mishap continue to stand in the middle of the road, casually licking salt from the pavement – two moose. They were rather busy at the moment that the car came around the curve and had no intention of moving. Hence, a driver finds himself in the ditch and we are trying to help dig him out. We, meaning my husband. I’m still in the the SUV with the kids. And the goat.

Why you might ask is there a goat in our SUV? Simple – because we are driving 145 miles to drop her off at a farm in the hopes that she will one day give us goat’s milk. Yes, these are the things we do in rural Alaska because it’s winter, and it’s entertainment. You’ve heard of cabin fever, right?

Looking back at this day in 2007, I remember feeling frustrated with our morning. We’d gotten the goat into a kennel and put her in the back of our SUV; we’d wrangled our young children into the car with snacks and books and CD’s and Dramamine for the 4-hour drive; we’d loaded ourselves along with the required emergency bag of blankets, snow gear, a shovel, fix-the-car things. I was tired before we started.

Sometimes I feel like I’m only able to do what must be done for that one day, ticking off an endless to-do list, certain that I’m really not making a difference. I want to move mountains! But I feel stymied, just like I did that day on the snowbanked road. I want to move forward to the next thing, fulfill my purpose, catch a vision, but I find myself stuck.

Stuck– to remain in a static position; fail to progress

Here’s the thing: God is right there in the midst of our stuck places; our little kids, long drives, tiresome job, to-do list covered stuck places. In fact, it is often in our most persistent stuck places that He shows up to lead us on to the next thing. The stuck place is a place for listening and learning and leaning. Don’t waste it! Recognize it.

 

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Being stuck requires us to use sensitive ears and inquisitive eyes, perceiving how He might lead if we listen well and are willing to follow. Unsticking is one of His specialties and I believe He takes pleasure in leading us out of our mundane confinement, to a vision that we cannot conceive in and of ourselves.

So we listen and watch. Following His lead, we dip into the pools of faith, then float the rivers of possibility, finally sailing the oceans of God-offered opportunity. He is pleased when we commit to following however and wherever He takes us. He loves to unstick us.

Feeling stuck? Be still. Observe. Contemplate. Take note. Then allow Him to dig you out of that snowbank, tow you back onto the road, propel you forward in new vision and purpose.

Even if there is a goat in your SUV.

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Today is a good day!

~Natalie

First published on The Arctic Travelogue

https://arctictravelogue.com/2016/06/08/stuck/

Drive On – There’s a Rest Stop Soon

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Life is a journey. We’re all on one, trying to get from Point A to Point B, in the most efficient way possible. And as with all journeys, we’ll experience a few unexpected stops along the way. An empty tank of gas. A flat tire. A bout with car sickness. We may run out of cheese crackers or Dramamine or forget the highway bingo game.

Do you sometimes feel like you’ll never arrive, like the destination you’ve set your sights on always hovers just beyond your reach? A job change, a growing family, a better relationship, a fresh start . . .

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Sometimes when my perfectly laid out, as-the-crow-flies plan falls apart and I find my GPS Route B irrelevant, I just want to quit; to abandon the whole trip, right there in the middle of the highway with no rest stop in sight.

I expect my perfect plan to work out . . . well, perfectly – because I took the time beforehand to iron out all the wrinkles. Shouldn’t I be able to move smoothly towards my destination?

Maybe. But like wearing linen on a long, hot car ride, the reappearing wrinkles are inevitable for all of us.

Even so, press forward! Drive on because the destination isn’t the only thing that matters. The journey matters, too. The long road with its potholes and switchbacks, the things that shape our character, make us resilient and adventurous. There will be time to rest and regroup, and then we must move on again.

God uses perseverance as our instructor, and she’s an unpredictable navigator who insists on bypasses and detours, just so we’ll have rich experiences to carry through life.

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This journey is yours to own; the destination yours to conquer. Embrace every bit of your travel time – the stops, the starts, the layovers.

And then the air conditioning on the fritz and the whining in the back seat and the unexpected construction delays will serve you well.

Drive on.

Don’t give up.

There’s a rest stop soon.

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Today is a good day!

~Natalie