Last week we attended a granddaughter’s volleyball game and enjoyed watching her and her teammates play. The players were quite skilled. The ball went back and forth over the net for long periods. They worked as a team. Each player did her part. Each team hoped the ball would fall to the ground or land out of bounds so their team would score.
Suddenly a player hit the ball in the air with such force it never came down. I looked up and it was stuck in the ceiling of the gymnasium.
It would take considerable effort and likely several people to get it down. Someone with a long pole on top of a ladder might dislodge the ball, or someone with a basketball and keen aim might knock it loose.
Being stuck personally is not uncommon and not a pleasant experience. Maybe you’re stuck in your job, in grief, or a family relationship is stuck; or you’re stuck with financial challenges, or you’re stuck in unsuccessful attempts at solving a problem. Maybe you’re generally bogged down feeling like you’re spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. You’ve retreated in confusion. You’re stuck.
Freeing ourselves when we’re stuck is difficult. If you’re seriously stuck like that volleyball, considerable effort may be called for to get free. Just as it took several people to free that volleyball from the gymnasium ceiling, you may need a friend, a pastor, or a counselor to help you get free. What about seeking God for insight, wisdom, and guidance? I’ve found hope and truth in the Psalmist’s words, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
It’s important to resist staying stuck. Your possibilities are limited if you are comfortable being stuck and, in that state, it may be hard to imagine how good it would feel to be free.
Yesterday, we attended another volleyball game. I looked up and the ball was no longer stuck in the ceiling. Somehow, it was set free.
Are you stuck? Take one step today to start getting free.
Reflection is a habit that’s more significant than we may think.
When I began my Doctor of Ministry studies, one of the first books we were assigned to read was The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action, by Donald A. Schon, published by Basic Books. It highlighted the importance of reflecting on what one was doing and why. It quickly got my attention as an essential practice not only for leaders, but for all of life.
Whether it is a common question like Why do I often eat so fast?, to more serious matters like Why did I get so upset by what that driver just did ?, or Why does that person’s criticism bother me so much?, it is healthy to reflect on what my reaction was and why. Without wholesome reflection on such experiences, we’re likely to stay in thinking and response ruts and see little growth in our lives.
The undesirable end to such reflection is not to get down on oneself, or to feel hopeless about our inability to change. Instead it is to gain insights on how we might experience meal times differently, cultivate different expectations and responses to demented drivers and driving, and to discover the true, false and growth points from criticism – to suggest outcomes when reflecting on my examples above. It may be a time to call on God’s transforming power for change as well.
There is a costly absence of reflection in most of our lives. Such times are too often missing for me. It’s the old busyness fiend that crowds out needed times of reflection, just as busyness robs us of time with God, our spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, or space to think about how to approach a thorny issue differently.
Perhaps you noticed I’ve changed the name of my blog to Randy’s Ruminating. I did so to indicate what I’d like to do here — ruminate, reflect. Actually it’s an old name of my blog that I’ve returned to because I’ve reflected on a better purpose for this blog.
How important is reflecting to you? How often do you practice it?