One of the hardest things in life is feeling stuck. I’ve been there many times. Like the month we waited for doctors to tell us if my son would live and we could take him home—or the time I had a demeaning boss, but needed the job—or the time God told me to quit my ministry job to be home full-time, where I pick up toys and change diapers over and over…and over. And I felt stuck.
Have you ever felt stuck? Are you stuck right now?
What can we do in our stuck places?
Let’s take a look at Joseph’s life from Genesis 39 to show us 3 things we can do when we feel stuck.
Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob (Israel), is stuck in a big way, as told in the book of Genesis in the Bible. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery to traveling opportunists, who then sold him to Potiphar, captain of the Pharaoh’s bodyguard.
Joseph is stuck in a land far from home as a slave.
God was with Joseph and gave him great success, so Slave-Owner Pharaoh took notice.
But he didn’t just take notice about how everything assigned to Joseph flourished, He credited the LORD for flourishing Joseph.
Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. (Gen. 39:3)
We cannot be sure exactly how Pharaoh knew the LORD caused Joseph’s flourishing, but we can imagine. Maybe Joseph only ate the things God permitted—like sheep and goats, but refrained from delicacies of unclean animals. He certainly didn’t worship their false idols. Whatever the details, Joseph lived in such a way that the LORD received the credit for His flourishing. People knew Joseph worshipped the God of the Hebrews.
So, what can we do in our stuck places?
ACTION 1: Worship the Lord in your stuck place.
Worship sets our spirit on the Lord, rather than our problems. Like right now, we are pretty sure we will never see our belongings from our move from Texas this summer. All of our beloved books, presents from my mom who passed…and on and on. We are angry, sad, and stuck. But God. When I praise Him for providing what we do have—like a home, food, family—my heart breaks free from bitterness and walks in gratitude. But I’m constantly having to fight the battle.
Joseph had his own battle to fight in following God too.
Joseph was the most eligible bachelor in the kingdom—a good-looking, wise, strong, and successful leader. And Pharaoh’s wife wanted him for her pleasure.
Here he was, in-charge of Pharaoh’s whole life, that the King only needed to think about what he wanted to eat (Gen. 39:6). I imagine He enjoyed the popularity and respect with such a high position, but the Biblical story doesn’t mention Joseph climbing to pride.
Then slides in the Pharaoh’s wife, the slithering seductress, to entice him with the fruit of her passions, Joseph replies “How could I sin against God?” (paraphrase Gen. 39:9)
Joseph kept obeying God—even with all his influence and responsibility—even when the most powerful woman in Egypt wanted him.
ACTION 2: Obey the LORD in your stuck place.
This sometimes comes at a great cost. As we see with Joseph’s story, it lands him in the dungeon—now a prisoner and slave.
Temptation might find you in your stuck place. For me, I was tempted to blame God for my son’s sickness. I was tempted to mouth off to my demeaning boss. I was tempted to quit the full-time motherhood thing and get a day job.
But in trusting and obeying God, I experienced Immanuel, God with us.
God was with Joseph too—and even in the dungeon God showed him purpose.
Just as the Lord was with Joseph in his work with Pharaoh, He is also with Joseph in the dungeon, extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the eyes of the chief jailer. (Gen. 39:21)
So the chief jailer placed Joseph over all the other prisoners and God caused Joseph’s work to prosper.
Joseph served the LORD in diligence in his stuck places.
ACTION 3: Serve the LORD in your stuck place.
It’s so hard to extend our hands when they feel tied. But as we look beyond ourselves, we can begin to see a purpose in the place we feel stuck.
When my son almost died, God used us to share the hope of Jesus with other parents in the NICU. When I worked with a mean boss, God used my perseverance and blessed me with becoming the #1 sales associate for the region. And in the mundane activities of motherhood, God is showing me the beauty of the simple things and the delight of watching my children form into who God created them to be.
Joseph’s Story Continued
God was not done with Joseph. Although it took years, a famine, and some extravagant forgiveness—God brought Joseph’s father and brothers back together with him and continued to flourish the work of His hands.
So, What Can We Do In Our Stuck Place?
- Worship the LORD
- Obey the LORD
- Serve the LORD by serving others around you
Of course this also means praying and reading God’s Word. Worship, obedience, and service all flow out of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Being Stuck Still Stinks
Even though we find purpose in stuck places, we are still stuck. We may feel like God has forgotten about us.
I’ve struggled with this. Most recently when we searched for a job for eight months and it seemed like all bread crumbs of connections led to famine. I had to stand on my belief that God was with me more than my feelings.
I had to remind myself of the truths of God’s Word. I had to pray incessantly just to make it through the day.
But even in these places—just like Joseph—the LORD is with us. (Gen. 39:2,21)
3 Things You Can Do When You Feel Stuck:
Worship the LORD
Obey the LORD
Serve the LORD by serving others