“It can be crap just freaking get it done!” Welcome to pep talks with me and me. You may have even heard things like this as you’re pursuing your goals. It’s a common idea that if you’re working on something you’re passionate about and you feel stuck, you just power through even with bad ideas and then eventually you’ll get out of the rut and you can go back and edit and make it better and life will be grand. I’ve read enough leadership books to be able to give myself these little pep talks. And over and over again when it comes to writing or speaking or working on my book or putting new sermons together I sit down with a spare minute and hear my own ringing voice going, “JUST DO IT! JUST WRITE SOMETHING! IT CAN BE CRAP JUST GET IT DONE!”
But I can’t. I can’t write one single word on my own, not even a bad one. Paul talks about a thorn in his side and even though we don’t exactly know what he’s talking about it, I get it. I feel the same thorn. No, I’m not comparing myself to Paul, but there’s a thorn in my side that has been placed there by God’s own hand and it’s designed to keep me from me. Because I am a motivated person. I am a driven person. I do have the ability to just power through and recite leadership books in the back of my brain. I’m a high achiever and I’ll go go go go go go until something slows me down. In this case, it’s Jesus. Because I can’t just do it. I can’t just sit down and write. I can’t just stand up and preach. I can’t just put a book together. It’s not an issue of lack of talent, it’s a lack of Him. I can’t do anything at all unless He speaks. Given any other situation, I’m perfectly capable, independent, and able. When it comes to the things He’s specifically called me to do, I can’t do it. I’ve never experienced such a feeling of inability as I do when I sit down to pursue the thing He has called me to without Him in it. I literally can not do it. I literally have no words. When I’m in stuck seasons there’s no mystery about it, I just can’t hear Him. It could be for a million different reasons, but until I hear Him again, I’m stuck. Apart from Him I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Maybe you’re in that place, a stuck season, and for the life of you, you can not figure out how to get anything done that you’re so passionate about. Let me provide some relief… you need Jesus. Plain and simple. We are not designed to carry the weight of the responsibilities He has entrusted us with on our own. We can’t do it. Even Jesus… JESUS couldn’t do anything but what His Father said. “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19) Notice he used the idea of “can’t” not “won’t.” It wasn’t a choice. Even Jesus was crippled by the need for God’s Spirit. We have the same paralysis working within us. Many times people don’t even know what they’re called to do. A good rule of thumb is to look for the thing that paralyzes you unless He shows up. Most of the time, that’s it. Because we’re wired to need Him. Independence is a byproduct of sin. We’re designed for need.
I’ve been on hiatus for a while, and I’m sure I’ll be back there again… because I need Him. And if I ever turn, even so slightly, in a direction where He’s not, I’m paralyzed. If you’re in a stuck season, I feel you. But here’s the good news: You just need to hear Him and He’s always speaking. He may be quiet, He may be speaking without words, but there’s never a moment when He is not desiring to communicate with us. We just have to listen. We just have to watch. We just have to do what we see the Father doing. So yea, we may be temporarily stuck, but that’s so much better than being forever walking independently on a path that He isn’t on.