Do not be so afraid. Do not be so frustrated. Sometimes the most progress is being made when everything seems to be standing still.
I’ve been alone in the middle of a large crowd for a long time. I’ve been stuck in the same spot, feeling lonely while simultaneously being surrounded by people.
At a standstill, I have been feeling as if I am not making significant forward progress, at least according to my own timetable. I’m not moving backwards, but I have felt lately that I am simply stuck in the same tired place, doing the same tired things. I’m yearning to get to the goals I have in mind, yet they seem so far away, no matter how fast I run towards them. I suppose I have been running in place for a while. No more.
Maybe it’s time to slow down. To breathe. To be still. To be honest. To stop over thinking, overdoing, overreacting. To let go.
To let go of a timetable, to let go of preconceived notions of how things are supposed to be, or how they are supposed to work out. To let go of my own ideas of how things are going to happen. It’s time to let go and be still, and just be. Just be the best me and keep moving forward.
I’ve long ago waved to the past, I’ve said my good-byes, and have had my eyes fixed on the path ahead of me. Walking steadily down a road taking me to where I was meant to be, a place I can almost see, just over the next hill.
This future is mesmerizing. Beautiful. Safe. Sunny and warm. It’s inviting, and it speaks of contentment. There’s just one tiny problem. I can’t seem to get there. Yet.
So I walk along, at a strong and determined pace. I keep telling myself that it’s only a few more steps. I no longer veer from this forward path on crazy little side journeys. There aren’t any more bipolar detours. There are no longer any alcoholic forks in the road to choose from, but yet I still haven’t quite arrived at the place that’s meant for me. I’m stuck. Stranded in the middle of this road, and alone in a swarm of people who don’t see me floundering, who don’t even know how to acknowledge my struggling.
For the longest time I have been frustrated. My heart is full of battles that I speak to no one about, that I keep locked away inside, lest I upset anyone with my unhappiness.
Why? When you spend your life trying to please others, trying to make others smile, working your hardest to make life easier for somebody else, you learn to lock away any evidence of unhappiness, and any shred of anger, sadness, fear and bitterness. It’s a talent, this locking away of pain, an incredible art of painting over a cloudy and dark canvas with bright and cheerful colors. People like me create wonderful masterpieces that are worth absolutely nothing, because they are a fraudulent copy. Not authentic. Not real. It’s time to start creating genuine works of art.
In fact, the real you locks these feelings away so well that you almost forget they’re still inside of you. You forget about the darkness. You walk your path, you smile and wave at the people you pass, until something bad happens. It happens.
As your traveling, determined to find your own happiness, you may see something, you might hear something, shoot, you may even just smell something, and then you feel something. It’s the trigger.
You feel an explosion inside. All those bad feelings you tucked away and hid from the rest of the world? They come rushing forward and out of you like a flood, and it’s all you can do not to be swept away. With all your might you try to keep your head above the water as you try not to drown.
It bubbles up out of you like some strange science experiment gone wrong, a chemical interaction gone awry. All those feelings you locked away? Well, they were festering down deep inside your heart, spreading, multiplying, and infecting you with their poison. Now all those toxic feelings are out of control, and what started as a small disappointment, or a tiny insult, or a hurt that you’ve been hanging on to, has now erupted into a catalyst of hostility. You’re like some sort of super virus, and you start infecting those around you with bitterness and misery.
So there you are, stuck in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the road leading you forward, with your thumb waving in the wind as everybody just passes you by. Nobody wants to pick you up, an angry, hostile, negative passenger, and you can’t really blame them. Nobody wants to truly see past your mask, not one person wants to witness the pain or the hurting. We live in this world of out of sight, out of mind, and you are just a dwindling silhouette in somebody else’s rearview mirror. A stranded, lonely hitchhiker.
You glance over your shoulder. You look towards what’s behind you. Maybe it’s alcohol. Maybe it’s a drug, or gambling, or any sort of addiction. Perhaps you just need something to soothe this inner turmoil until you get a grip on your feelings. Maybe it’s resentment. Maybe you need to just nurture an old hurt, relive it for a moment in your mind, or maybe you just feel the need to hurt somebody back. Maybe that will make it all feel better. Maybe that will finally soothe that monster you’ve been hiding. That hideous beast that has been growing inside of you after years of locking it away and pretending it didn’t exist. That creature that you never show anybody, because it is so damn ugly, and nobody wants to see your ugly, nobody could love that ugly. Could they?
So you look back, pondering everything that’s hurt you, every single unfair and cruel occurrence, and before you know it, you’re going nowhere really, really fast. Your feet may be moving ahead, but your making little, if any progress.
Do you know why some of us feel so stuck sometimes? We’re stuck because we have trouble letting go. We hold on to pain like a long lost friend, and we invite this suffering into our homes, our heart, and the deepest parts of our minds. We feed it, we nurture it, we give it a warm and inviting place to stay. It’s nobody’s fault but our own. There’s nobody else to blame, we are our own worst enemies.
When you are trying to move forward to bigger and better things, the last thing you need to do is keep looking back. If you find yourself like me, and your looking behind you, stop. You need both feet to travel forward, because you can’t be in two different places at once. You can not have one foot stuck in the past, and one foot in the future. It just doesn’t work that way.
You have three options. You can move backwards, and keep doing the same things over and over again until you really lose your mind. Or you can try to move forward while essentially living in the past, and stay stuck. Or you can pull those feet from the sinking ground of yesterday, and step into the now with determination, perseverance and every ounce of strength God gives you. You can move forward. You can get to your best future.
Step forward. Grab somebody’s willing and helpful hand if you need to. Jump if you have to, but get those feet out of the mud that’s left over from the past storms. That mud is tricky. It sticks to you, it dirties you, and it tries to suck you down. Don’t sink in the past. Step on to solid ground, the land of right here, right now, right this minute.
The Future Starts Now
I don’t care what you did, 5 years ago. What you did 5 months ago. I don’t care what you did 5 seconds ago. Let it go. Your future starts now, with one tiny step, one right decision, and with the grace of God. The grace that says to you, I forgive you, so get up. Get moving. Let go. You aren’t stuck anymore. You are here and now, so let’s get going to where you are supposed to be.
You’ve heard it before, to let go and let God. So let Him. The past is over when you let it go, stop doing the same things, and stop looking behind you. The past is over when you decide to forgive. It’s up to you. So quit looking back.
It will be hard. I know. Every little hurt will make you want to look behind you, but you have to fight that urge. Keep your eyes on the prize, whatever that may be for you, and walk the lighted path that God has for you. Stay out of the shadows, steer clear of the puddles, and if you slip? Get back up. Immediately. Don’t you dare go back.
I have been praying for solutions to a lot of things for a long time, and as I finish this, I am aware that what I have been praying for is happening all around me, in steps, in small movements, in the stillness, even when I think no progress is being made.
Always in a hurry, I need to slow down, to be still sometimes. To pause where I am for a few moments and cherish what I have. I have a past that is gone, and I need to stop looking back. I have a now that is full of learning and anticipation. I have a future that is amazing, because the one and only person who will never hurt me, never betray me, never lie to me, has told me so. He has promised me. He has told me to be still. He has told me to forgive others, and that includes myself. He has promised me healing, a future, a hope. He has told me when to wait and when to move, and sometimes He tells me to do both, because sometimes when we are waiting, when nothing seems to be happening, that is when everything is moving, and everything is being prepared. I am learning, I am hoping, and I am getting there. One step at a time. And so are you.
Some miracles take time. You yourself took many lifetimes to make, everything had to line up just perfectly to get to the point of making you. Every single seemingly unimportant step that took to get to you, that your parents took, and that their parents took, and so forth, all just to make you. You are a miracle of millions upon millions of steps, some wrong, some right, some slow, some fast, and some seemingly unimportant. You being you is a miracle.
So while we are walking, step after step, let’s just be still sometimes. Let’s let God do his work through us, and for us.
Sometimes it is when nothing seems to be happening, that everything is really happening. All of those seemingly insignificant steps can turn into our very own miracles. Just because you can’t see it right now, doesn’t mean it isn’t unfolding. Relax. Breathe. Be still. Then step ahead, keep going, and let God do His work. He is the King of creating something out of nothing. So smile, trust, and just watch Him work.
It Is Happening
It’s already happening, even if you can’t see it, right here, right now. Out of the past, in the now, one step at a time, into the good future that was meant for you.
Let go. Be still. Walk the good walk. Talk the good talk. You’ll get there, I know it. God promises, and He never breaks a promise.
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The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.