Stalled Out

Years ago, when I was a teenager. I would haul grain for my dad on our small farm in Kentucky. We didn’t have a lot of money or nice equipment, so the job was often an adventure and extremely dangerous. To say that I am lucky to be alive is a Mount Everest understatement. I pulled 2 gravity wagons full of corn with a 1975 Allis Chalmer 190 xt (will only mean something to a tractor buff!!). BTW this is one of the worst tractors that Allis Chalmer ever produced!! This old tractor didn’t have much power and was on its last leg daily. It had no cab, which made hauling corn in the snow very fun. It had many problems, one of which made your blood pressure go up quickly. We had lots of hills in Kentucky, so if you were heading down a hill the tractor would jump out of gear. Sending you, the tractor and the load of corn flying down the hill. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the brakes didn’t work either. Oh my gosh! It would scare me to death, but sadly this was only half the problem.

There was one particular sequence of hills that went straight down on one side and straight up on the other. So get the mental picture of a 13-year-old Timothy driving an old tractor that jumps out of gear with no brakes barreling down the hill. I was trying desperately to get it in gear before I had to head up the other side. One of two things usually happened and neither was good. One would be that I got it in gear but the tractor didn’t have enough momentum and power so the tractor stalled out (Not a good option and happened more than once). Or I would not get the tractor in gear as it began to roll up hill for a bit and then I would begin to roll backward. You guessed it! The brakes don’t work when you roll backwards either.  I was fairly inexperienced as a tractor driver or driver of anything really. But by God’s grace, I survived. Looking back now, it is comical. At the time, I thought my dad had a vendetta against me. I mean who puts a 13 year old on that pile of crap without expecting some kind of accident. Needless to say, it produced faith in God quickly because I was confident I would meet Him on that hill.

Sadly, this was not a once in a lifetime situation. I have reproduced this same scenario in one way or another many times in the course of my life. I’ve either stalled out or I have gone backwards. So what do you do when you feel this way in life, when you feel you have lost all momentum and can’t move forward. Do you sit there and wait? Do you try something different? Do you blame others? Or do you do some quiet reflecting to discover a deeper cause? I have found myself stalled on more than one occasion. It just seems like I’m stuck without direction and sometimes without purpose. It’s just like you are on hold in life. When I feel this way, I typically do one of two things. First, I take a look on the inside. Is there an area of sin in my life? Is there a bad priority? Are there areas of disobedience that I have been leaving unaddressed? If the answer is yes to any or all of them; then my course of action is repentance. Admitting that I have wronged God and maybe others. Afterwards I must turn from those actions (sometimes this is easier said than done).

If nothing is amiss on the inside, I look externally. Is God trying to get my attention? Is He trying to teach me a lesson? Is He narrowing my focus or helping me to see the bigger picture? Maybe He is simply preparing me for the road ahead by giving me a time of slow pace and peaceful flow in life for a season. If this is the case, then you must become moldable like clay in a potter hands. He is shaping you to be more useful in His kingdom. He is producing something in your life. You may feel like this time is boring, wasted, and unnecessary, but He is adding value to your life during this stalled time. Do not resist His work on you during this time.

The temptation is to do all you can do and when you fall flat; turn things over to God. Maybe during this season, you start with the acknowledgement that He has been in control the whole time and He is in control of these distressful circumstances. He wants to remove the sin from your life so that you live a holy and righteous life before Him and as a testimony before others. He wants to shape you into a vessel of good works for the road ahead. Being stalled out can be extremely scary and frustrating, but it can be a fruitful and rewarding time for you. God loves you so much that He wants to change you into something far greater than you could ever be on your own. The Creator is trying to make you look more and more like Jesus Christ. So don’t get mad when your life, your dreams, or your plans get put on hold for a while. God is working. Don’t miss that!!! God IS working and His way will produce far better results than yours!

How do you feel when life is stalled? Is there something you do to help regain focus during this time? I would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts!

Grace and Peace to you as you may be stalled out on a hill… hauling grain with a junk tractor. Don’t give up, there is life after this!!!

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