Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Have you ever found yourself between a rock and a hard place? If you answer yes, you are in excellent company. Who hasn’t been? We find ourselves between fear and freedom, between faith and doubt, between good and great, and the list could continue. It can be paralyzing as we attempt to decide whether to return to that which is comfortable and familiar or to dare and risk for something new and fulfilling.

Bluntly put, we are stuck. We’ve embraced the chasm but now we find ourselves in between what seems appealing to return to and that which is beckoning us forward. That rift can be intimidating, even appearing insurmountable. It deceives us into believing that it is much harder to forge the path forward than to retreat. And if you are one of those lucky few who have trekked further through that terrain, the option of returning looks unfavorable also. Lucky, you say? Yes, if you have ever been hiking in mountains, you know that at times you have to scale a steep passage (okay steep is relative, steep to me is probably the bank of a river), and there is a point that you desperately desire to return to where you started but it seems farther away than reaching your goal which is up ahead. The odds are promising that you will overcome your panic and beating heart and start climbing again --- for down is more formidable than up. Believe me, I’ve been there literally and figuratively sprawled on a rock wondering if it would be easier to return … if I could just find somewhere to place my foot. But alas, I’ve arrived at the point of no return. So I reach onward toward new heights. Ironically, have you ever arrived at the summit of a mountain, okay hill, and thought, “There is no way I’m going to be able to get back down!” The point being, why would we want to? Once we reach that place of freedom, faith, and God’s best, the temptation to return evaporates in thin air. Hebrews says it this way, “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country --- a heavenly one.”

What can we do when we find ourselves in these “between a rock and a hard place” seasons? Remember that although it is our current reality; it is not our destiny. It’s a place of reckoning if we allow ourselves the permission to ponder where we’ve come from and where we are going. It’s a place to survey our motives and purpose, gain our bearings, muster proper perspective --- and then move forward. These times are critical to our faith growth; they are essential for us to conquer our fear, doubt and choose God’s best. But we don’t ever want to dwell there; it shouldn’t become our paradise. Christine Caine says, “Don’t get stuck somewhere you should only be passing through.” Our fixation should never be on the problem, despair, fear, or doubt. It should be on Him who authored our life and knows the ultimate destination. Think of the Israelites of old who were “stuck” in the desert for 40 years because they refused to move past their doubt and fear. They chose desert living over “land flowing with milk and honey” because they feared the giants more than they had faith in their Lord and their identity.

With each step forward, you gain greater clarity and perspective. But you have to move from that place of surrender, face down despair, to hope and faith that your destiny, your true identity lays on the other side of that hard place. And what you do as you lay flat on that rock determines your future. Because what you choose to do now does matter! It shapes who you are to become.

So take that first step, look up to Him who created you and has authored your land flowing with milk and honey. Don’t look back! Believe me I know from experience, it causes more paralysis. Just keep your gaze on Him whom is able to calm your panic, cause your heartrate to steady, and permeate your soul with much awaited hope. Get moving!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Elizabeth Caudle