What do you do when you get stuck?

I’ve gotten a bit stuck. I started my diet in February and over a few months lost two stone. Then around June I plateaued. I’ve had weeks when I lost a couple of pounds, but then the following week or so I’d put them back on. I’d be careful for a while, but then gain any loss back whilst on holiday. It was all going so well, a nice little bit each week that didn’t leave me feeling like I was going without but didn’t encourage binges. But now I’m stuck.

What do you do when you get stuck? What do you do when your diet stops working for you? What about when your work stops nurturing you, your spiritual life gets boring, your relationship feels tepid? How do you get out of the rut, how do you make a change?

I can’t say I’ve learned what to do in every situation, but over the years I’ve learned what not to do. You don’t give up and go back to the way you were eating before you lost the weight. You put the weight back on, and then some. You don’t change job, you don’t change church, you don’t leave your partner. I’ve found that when I’ve done that then the cycle has started all over again and at some point I’ve found myself right back to where I am now – stuck – wondering what to do next.

I think there are some questions to be asked. Does being where I am now serve me in some way? Does my weight somehow define me? After all, I do identify as a bear!

And when I’ve been stuck in other areas of life. Is there a pattern in my work life that brings me to the same place every time? Do I underestimate myself? – Is it time to go deeper in my faith but I feel safe paddling in the shallow end? Is God calling me deeper and I feel scared? – Is there a pattern in my relationships that brings me to the same place every time? Do I really understand what love is or am I carrying some unrealistic expectation?

Do I think it’s something out of my control, because invariably it’s not. Do I think it’s somebody else’s fault, because it’s invariably me. Do I think that I’ve thought of everything, because you can guarantee that I haven’t.

My patterns sometimes play out over a very brief span, and sometimes over years. The longer the span the more difficult it is to recognise what’s going on. Life’s way too short to get ‘stuck’ for too long – and it’s certainly way way too short to be going round in circles. There’s a reason the Israelites went round and round in the desert for 40 years.

Prayer helps, a lot. Good friends help too, (The ones who will tell you the truth because they love you, even when it’s awkward). Letting go of the problem and focusing on what I want, even though the process feels unnatural and defeatist, is a big help. My instinct is to force a solution rather than wait for it to unfold. My instinct is to worry away at the problem the way a dog worries at a bone, when relaxing and letting go is invariably the most rewarding thing to do. And the most difficult.

I don’t know what will happen next. New diet? Perhaps add something? perhaps give something up? Eventually I hope to lose some more weight, but how and when is a question still unanswered. Of course, as always, helpful and nice suggestions welcome!

Be blessed.
Rev. Michael

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