Being Stuck

Being Stuck

Image credit: TriangleReva via Flickr

The entrance to the complex for two of our children’s schools is about a block past an overpass. Our route to three of four different school buildings involves driving on that overpass multiple times a day.

Last summer, a truck driving on the highway below it misjudged its height and smashed into the overpass.

This crash shut down a portion of the highway and the overpass. With exits closed, traffic flooded local back roads, causing ridiculous backups. Because of multiple lakes in the area, there was no quick detour. Alternate routes were circuitous and tedious. In short, it was a pain.

I dreaded the start of the school year because of a lack of a good driving route. The overpass got a temporary traffic light and was downgraded to one lane in order to safely support the weight of traffic. Occasionally, the overpass was closed entirely for repair.

Months passed with zero construction. One lane down, an abundance of concrete pylons and orange cones…and nothing. Although frustrated, we became accustomed to the added traffic light on our drive…the drive we made back and forth at least twice a day. (Our fourth school building is located, mercifully, before the overpass.)

Last week, actual workers appeared at the site. They demolished part of the closed portion of the overpass and began rebuilding. New steel rods appeared, fresh concrete, a sturdy rail. We joked about not looking down each time we drove past.

“When will they be done, Mom?” Grace asked.

“Who knows, Honey? It could be months yet.” I sighed, thinking of more recent highway closures that backed up the local roads once again.

The next afternoon, I hopped in our minivan for the usual school pick up routine. I drove familiar route on autopilot. As I approached the overpass, I noticed more space. There were two lanes!

In the morning, it had been construction as usual, and now it was all gone!

All of the sudden, it was clear.

I had finally given in to the reality of an inconvenience, and now I could drive freely.


How often do we feel stuck?

We dislike our present circumstances but eventually accept them, even become used to them, thinking we will never be free and clear. We even give up imagining what being free looks like and press on in autopilot.

It can be frighteningly easy for me to accept stress and hardship as simply my lot in life. This is just how it is. Or the spiritual distortion of this: This is just my cross to bear.

However, I’m learning that sometimes God gives me tools to change my circumstances, or at least change me.

Here’s an example: Aroma Freedom Technique (AFT).

I’d plateaued in my business. For too long. I fought dejection over it. I brainstormed. I read books. I ran myself into the ground hustling for a breakthrough.

So, when a reminder to try AFT came through my Facebook messages, I agreed. I’d done this process once before and been wowed by the outcome. Still, that insecure part of me deep down that whispers I am not enough and that good things don’t happen for me pushed skepticism to the surface. I’d try…but I doubted it would truly help.

I set a business goal to reach by the end of the year. On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the likelihood of reaching my goal, I rated it as a zero.

A zero.

I paused to evaluate my thoughts and heard things like:

  • Yeah, right!
  • Ha! There’s no way.
  • Maybe someone could do that, but not you.
  • It won’t happen.
  • You can’t even hit goals before that one.

I felt sad, defeated. I felt it as a throbbing in my face and a pressure in my chest and stomach.

I thought back to an earlier time when I struggled with similar thoughts and feelings: high school art class. I clearly saw the faux brown laminate of the art table I was assigned to, with vague representations of students sitting around it. I recalled my eccentric teacher, who played clear favorites. I remembered the heart I put into my artwork, only to have my efforts overshadowed by her favorites.

Never good enough.



I opened my bottles of Stress Away, Frankincense, and Lavender essential oils, put a drop of each in my hand, rubbed my palms together, and then slowly breathed in deeply, over and over. I concentrated on that memory.

It began to fade. A white haze began to blur it. Tears streamed down my face, and my nose dripped.

The sadness slowly subsided until I felt neutral, and the sting from the memory disappeared.

I revisited my original business goal. How did I feel about it now? I rated the likelihood of achieving it as a 3.

My thoughts:

  • Well, maybe I can do that.
  • I might be able to make progress.
  • Eh, maybe.

But then:

  • Do you really think so?
  • Can it really happen for me?
  • Well, maybe it can…what if I could?

And I smiled a little.

At that point, I went from feeling sad to skeptical.

I physically felt it in my cheeks, mouth and chest. I realized I was holding my breath. My heart and my arms were warm and tingling.

When in the past did I feel this same way?


And this, friends, is where it gets freaky intense…


A scene from my childhood came to mind. I recognized that it was elements of various memories rolled into one. I was about 11 years old and wearing my grandfather’s plaid shirt. It was white with red and blue stripes. He was there, but I only saw his hand outstretched, offering me a folded bill. Money. The memory kept switching from him offering it and it being in my hand.

This was not a new memory. I’ve dealt with it before at various times. I didn’t know what to do with that money. I don’t remember how much it was or if I even ended up taking it. In the past, this memory brought shame with it.

This time it did not.

It just was a scene. It was in this bedroom that he told me not to tell anyone his secret, that he didn’t want to get in trouble. He probably told me he loved me.

As soon as this scene came to my mind, I thought, “Oh, great. Here we go again.” Sadness welled. Tears fell. Anger flared, but just for a moment.

I opened my Inner Child oil blend and breathed it in.

Slowly, calm flowed through my body. A white haze once again began to blur over the scene. It closed over the memory like a circle that became smaller and smaller.

My new thoughts?

  • Okay, as in acceptance.
  • One step at a time.
  • This can happen for me.
  • I am worthy.

My new rating? 6

I did one more round of the technique, listening for any further thoughts that were holding me back:

  • That’s a lot of work.
  • That’s a long way to go.
  • That scares me.
  • That will be hard.
  • How am I going to do it?

I felt scared. More tears fell before I went any further. I felt short of breath and a tightness in my chest, throat, and stomach.

I recalled a time when I felt similarly: I was standing at my the counter in my kitchen, near my sink. I was facing the wall. I had just started my business, and a family member’s words rang in my mind: What if no one buys anything?

I opened my Release oil blend and breathed it in deeply.

The familiar fading of the scene happened again, along with a fading of the fear. Calm replaced it, and I remembered that I have felt all these things before and worked through them. I decided in the past to trust God’s plan for me and my business. The peace I had then returned.

I was calm.

My new rating? 7

My new thoughts about my goal:

  • Sure, why not?
  • Okay, as in happy assent
  • Acceptance of this being a good and worthwhile path
  • Pondering the goal without fear or worry
  • Not fearing failure

I opened one last oil blend: Forgiveness. I breathed it in and stated my goal out loud.

It sounds goofy, and it feels that way too…but also kind of good and empowering to do the last step: I stood with my hands raised (like praise and worship) and repeated my goal. This is something I will try to do daily to focus on where I’m going and have a healthy mindset.

After all that? Going from a 0 rating on my goal to a 7?

I definitely felt lighter and freer. I also felt tired from releasing some emotions, but that is normal for me. Other people say they feel energized.

I don’t know what will happen the rest of the year on this particular goal, but I am at peace about pursuing it, and the memories that surfaced have lost their sting. They are still a part of me, but they are simply scenes, no longer charged by big emotions.

So yeah. These oils… It makes sense that something God literally made and gave to us would work in harmony with my body, which he also created, and bring it to greater freedom, which he died for.



***For more information on AFT, see the following resources by its creator, Dr. Benjamin Perkus:


Sessions with Dr. Perkus


What keeps you stuck?

How do you get unstuck?

Let me know in the comments!






  1. Mandy! I’m so proud of you. What a great analogy and a wonderful story of perseverance. It all adds up until one day there is success. It is for freedom that we have been set free!! I get stuck by giving up too soon. And probably by not being flexible enough.

    • Thank you, Elise! I am so grateful for you. It’s hard to know when to call it quits and when to stick with something. It takes experimenting for sure!

  2. I’ve gotten stuck before by my insecurities, wanting to be liked and accepted by people. I can only get unstuck from that trap by remembering and believing and standing on the truth that I am accepted and loved and liked by God. He is my only true and stable security, the only One who will never leave me nor forsake me.

  3. Thanks, Mandy! Have a great day! :)

  4. so easy to get stuck when i look at me, myself, and I instead of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit!

    • So true. I’m so glad He has the whole picture. Fixating on the one part right in front me is where I can get into trouble. Thank you for visiting, Sue!
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  5. I loved reading your experience — being stuck is not what God has for you!!! I also will be doing more of the AFT and my experience was similar and very emotional.
    Susan recently posted..DIY Hydrating Lotion Bars – Travel FriendlyMy Profile

    • Thank you, Susan! I appreciate that encouragement. Sometimes it feels like you’ll be stuck forever, doesn’t it? I really like AFT and do experience that range of emotions when I do it. I’d love to hear about your experiences!
      Mandy recently posted..Being StuckMy Profile

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