5 Tips to Keep Moving Forward When You Feel Stuck

Three days after we moved to Arizona, my husband came home from his new job at the hospital and announced, “We have to go to a black-tie event on Friday with the CEO.” With a two-year old and a pre–schooler I spent most of my days in stretchy pants and blue jeans. Even if I did have a formal dress in one of the 187 boxes that remained strewn throughout our house, I doubted it would fit me. So, I did what any resourceful woman does who cannot go shopping with peanut-sized people, I ordered three dresses on Amazon. Not even hitting the five-foot mark, I am pretty peanut-sized myself, so finding anything to fit me equated to winning the lottery.

One dress promised delivery by the next morning at 10 am and the other two by 8 pm on Friday, the day of the event. The doorbell rang at 9:30 am as anticipated and I quickly tore open the box. I hung it up in my closet and waited for naptime. Once the kids were settled, I began to squeeze into the dress. I got one arm halfway through the sleeve and stuck at the elbow looking like a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the torso of the dress about halfway down my hips forcing me to waddle around as I walked. Stuck. I could not get that dress to move up or down, nor could I get my arm the rest of the way through the sleeve. With no one to help me and my kids who still needed dinner, I waddled around one–handed for the rest of the day. 

As writers and speakers, we, too, get stuck. We feel like we’re working harder rather than smarter and looking around wondering where someone might be who can twist our elbow and break us free. You may be making one handed macaroni and cheese like a boss, but you would prefer to move forward with greater functionality. Here are five tips:

  1.  Join a Speak Up Growth Group. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our journey we just need someone to come along and give us a tug to remind us of the bigger picture. These MasterMind and Intensive Coaching groups team you up with a coach to keep you moving forward along with teammates to cheer you on. (Use this link to get on the waitlist for more information when registration opens on Dec. 27 for our January through March season.)
  1. Read a good book. Step outside of your own writing genre and consume something new. As a Bible study writer, picking up some Christian fiction now and then brings flair to my story-telling ability and introduces me to new vocabulary. The best writers are avid readers.
  1. Plan a DAWG day. Kathe Wunnenberg, a long time Speak Up Faculty Member and dear friend  introduced me to this spiritual practice. It stands for a Day Away with God. Get outside of your normal routine and spend time listening. Often, I get stuck due to Imposter Syndrome or a fear of inadequacy and a day sitting with Jesus reminds me to boast all the more about my weaknesses, because then the power of Christ may rest upon me!
  1. Schedule Writing Time and Ask for Accountability. Any other procrastinators out there? I often put things off that feel daunting or frightening to me. So unless someone comes and twists my elbow and wrestles me into the chair, I will stall on getting started. But guess what? Once I sit down and get going, I begin to feel free, especially if I just start writing what comes to mind and don’t worry too much about how it sounds. The ideas get sorted out in my head and I can go back later and organize them. When a deadline looms, I ask people to pray for me and keep me accountable to stay consistent during scheduled times. 
  1. Attend the Speak Up Conference. No other catalyst will propel you forward like this conference. Partly because attending Speak Up allows you to take part in all of the four suggestions above, but it will also include divine appointments where God will pair you with exactly the right people for your next steps. Between inspirational messages, soul–stirring worship, practical workshops and personalized coaching appointments, you will go home outfitted with everything you need to follow God’s call upon your life. Speak Up Conference will be held on July 7-9, 2022 at the Prince Conference Center in Grand Rapids, MI.

By the way, when my husband came home from work, he helped me finagle my way back out of that dress. And the Amazon man came back on Friday with dress number two, a glittery golden sheath, in the nick of time. So go ahead and register for the July 7-9, 2022 Speak Up Conference, friend. You were not made to waddle one–handed. Your doorbell is ringing and on the other side there is a box with your name on it with everything you need to get unstuck and instead, sparkle and shine. 

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  1. Kimalea Arrighi on 2021-12-21 at 10:48 AM

    Such a fun read. Thanks for helping me get my arm unstuck today. Also, the “imposter” syndrome… That’s a tough one. Planning to go to the Speak up Conference and I’ve already purchased my ticket.

  2. Robyn Dykstra on 2021-12-21 at 10:32 AM

    Great post!
    And timely… thanks for the prompt and the giggle, Erica.

  3. Bonnie Emmorey on 2021-12-21 at 9:44 AM

    Chuckling and encouraged at the same time. Thank you, Erica!

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