Feeling Stuck in the Muck?
Are you feeling bogged down, all alone in the middle of nowhere, and hopelessly stuck in a swamp of sticky mud? If so, you are definitely not alone. I’ve been there myself. In fact, I think most of us who have lived this life of parenting tough kids have been there at least a time or two…or ten. Maybe you’re like I once was and have been there about 10,000 times! It might even be that you’ve been stuck for so long that you don’t even remember where you are, how you got there, or why you were on this road in the first place. If that is the case, there is probably also a pretty good chance that you’ve also lost your own sense of direction, purpose, and hope.
If any of those statements describe you, my heart goes out to you. I know this place so well. I know how lonely, frightening, exhausting, mind numbing, maddening, and discouraging it can be. Do you know what I also know? There is a way out. Regardless of how long we’ve been stuck, or how deeply we’ve been stuck, we don’t have to stay there. We don’t have to abandon the vehicle. We don’t have to trudge through the trenches alone. We don’t have to start over. Would you believe me if I said you might not even need to decrease the passenger load?
What do we do when we get stuck in hard places?
Let’s be honest. We’re human! Even when we know better and we know what the likely outcome is going to be, our human nature still screams something along the lines of…
“Do more! Go faster! Rock the rig and hit the gas!”
Now let’s be real. How often does that plan actually work? Most of us probably know from experience what happens when we do this….the trench gets deeper, the hole gets larger, and mud sprays everywhere. Yet, either because we’re human or we have no idea what else to do, we keep on doing the same thing over and over and over again. We keep muddling through it, we keep trying, we keep hoping something will miraculously change, that THIS will be the time it actually sinks in and the kid will finally “get it”, or that if we stick it out long enough, pray hard enough, or love them enough, everything will magically fix itself and we can get back on track on with our lives.
Do you know what the definition of insanity is? It’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Instead of blissfully riding off into the sunset as we dream longingly of doing, we end up pushing harder, running faster, spinning more, and digging deeper and deeper ruts without actually going anywhere…except crazy ourselves!
I’ve learned over the years that it’s very easy to get stuck in being stuck. Unfortunately, by the time we realize how stuck we really are and our efforts to get ourselves out of the mess aren’t working, it doesn’t take long before we become disillusioned, exhausted, abandoned, and discouraged. So we sit there. After we’ve been sitting in that hard place for so long, we also tend to forget there is something better out there. We resign ourselves to believing this is all there is, this is all that is ever going to be, and nothing is ever going to change. We may or may not even realize that we ourselves are now covered in the same thick, goopy muck that got our vehicle stuck in the first place.
We keep on doing the only thing we know how to do. We keep fumbling and stumbling. We keep muddling through. We keep doing the same things over and over again…until we can’t do it any more…and then we start and counting down the days until we can ship the little darlings off to military school.
What if there is a better way?
What might happen if we stopped, slowed down, and thought things through? What if we asked for help, thought outside the box, added some traction, and filled in the ruts? Ohhh, now here’s a good question. What if we were willing to drop our own defenses just a bit, take a big deep breath, and open ourselves up just enough to accept the hehttp://www.serenitylinkscoaching.com/about-coaching/lp that IS out there…even if it’s scary?
Did you just shudder when I asked that question? I remember well the days when I shuddered at it too. I found myself shooting back all kinds of statements and questions like “How? Who? No one gets it! How can I trust anyone to help or that anyone will help when they don’t even know where I am?” And then one day, I absolutely couldn’t do it anymore. I had gone crazy myself. In addition, something else happened in the circles around me. Everything I knew or thought I knew about family, safety, security, trust, and integrity suddenly crumbled around me. It pushed me over the edge. I was a hot mess and I knew there was absolutely no way I could do this on my own anymore. My choice was either get help, and get it for ME, or my family was literally going to implode on itself. I was in very real danger of losing absolutely everything…my marriage, my kids, my home, and my extended family.
That brings me back to recounting the last time my family literally got our vehicle stuck just about like the picture above. One of the things we really enjoy doing as a family is taking off road adventures. We live in an area surrounded by beautiful mountains and we love exploring them in the comfort of our climate controlled vehicle. One day a few years ago, we decided on a whim to take a ride up one of our favorite roads. It was early spring, the snow had melted on the valley floor. We couldn’t resist the serenity of our beloved hills. The kids had just finished up their basketball games and we had a rare free Saturday afternoon. In spite of the fact the kids were wearing shorts and no one had a coat, we went to see how far up the road we could really go.
The ride was fun and toasty warm…until we got about 1/2 way up the mountain. We could see the snow around us was getting deeper and that it was also slick and mushy. Common sense said turn around while the road was still clear enough and call it a day. But we didn’t. We kept going. We just had to go just a little further to see how much further we could really go. We found our answer very quickly. Once we started heading down the hill, we had passed the point of no return. It also became abundantly clear the snow was much deeper than anticipated and we’d have to wait a couple more months before venturing any further. Thankfully there was a pull out area at the bottom of the hill. We could turn around there, right?
Yup, we could. But we couldn’t get back out. As soon as we tried to pull out and start back up the hill, the back wheel slid and sank in the soft spring snow. We tried it all. We tried hitting the gas. We tried rocking the rig. The rut only got deeper and the tire more stuck…and of course, the kids were freaking out. There was no way Driver Dad (or anyone else for that matter) was going to get out of this one on his own. We had to make a different plan. It was going to take team work. The only way out was to do some digging, use some of the surrounding dirt and snow to fill in the rut and create some traction, and have me drive while dad pushed us out from behind. Then and only then did hitting the gas and skillful driving actually work. This time, common sense did prevail and I didn’t stop as soon as we were free. I kept on driving up the hill to safety and waited for the rest of my crew to catch up to me.
Are you ready to find your way out?
Looking back on that experience now, it really is quite descriptive of what I now do as a coach. I found the needed traction and did the necessary digging to find way out of a horror and hell so deep that I thought I was doomed there forever. But I wasn’t. Once I found that precious exit from hell, I kept on driving to safety. I wasn’t content to stay in the trenches. I wanted something more…and I found it. In spite of the chaos around me, I found serenity and I found the beautiful light of day again in the process. Guess what else happened when I did that? Ever so gratefully, my crew followed me.
That really is why I do what I do now. I help others find their traction, do their digging and pushing, and lead them to safety. I promise that unsticking the stuck is possible. There really is a way out of the muck and the guck…and you can keep your family in tact in the process. If you’re ready to make the climb, I’m ready to walk the journey with you. Schedule a complimentary Courageous Parent Session with me and let’s get started!