We all find ourselves in a rut at times. Whether it’s in our relationships, our ministries, or our spiritual lives, we might be just sitting still and not moving toward the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
But the good news is we don’t have to stay in the rut. There is a way out. Throughout the years, I’ve used six specific steps to help myself and others get out of a rut. If you’re in a rut right now in your ministry or you are helping someone in a rut, these six steps will help anyone get out of the rut.
1. Assume responsibility for your own life.
You can divide most people into three categories. Accusers blame everyone else for not moving toward their goals. Excusers justify their failure and rationalize their inaction.
But you want to be a chooser. Choosers accept responsibility for their own happiness. When they make a mistake, they admit it. Proverbs 28:13 says, “If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy” (NCV).
Admitting you’re in a rut is the beginning of moving forward.
2. Believe you can change.
Your attitude determines your ability. Success starts in your mind. You can’t get out of a rut if you don’t think you can.
But the good news is that you’re in good company. Many of the great leaders in the Bible began with doubts about their own abilities. Moses didn’t think he could confront Pharaoh because he couldn’t speak well. Jeremiah doubted himself because he was young. God had to build their faith.
God wants to do the same for you. The Bible says he wants to change our thought process. Paul wrote in Romans 12:2, “Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think” (GW). Unless you change how you think, you’ll stay in your rut.
3. Clarify what you want.
Write down exactly what you want to change. A famous psychologist once said that the most helpful thing he could do to help people find happiness was teaching them to establish goals.
James wrote that if you are a person who is “unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7-8 GNT). Part of the reason we get into ruts is that we really haven’t made up our minds about what we’re trying to do.
4. Don’t wait for ideal circumstances.
The perfectly right time to act will never come. Ecclesiastes 11:4 tells us, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (TLB).
Perfectionism produces procrastination. We keep telling ourselves, “It’s not the right time if it’s not perfect.”
It also paralyzes our potential. If we can’t do it perfectly, we won’t do it.
5. Exercise your body.
Many people are simply too tired to change. Fatigue causes procrastination. God made our bodies for movement. We live in a sedentary society that runs in opposition to how God created us.
You’ll need energy to make changes in your life. To get energy, you need to expend energy. Sometimes the most important action you can take to get out of a rut is to go for a walk.
6. Do it now.
The three most critical words to getting out of a rut are “do it now.” The Bible says, “Never boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen between now and then” (Proverbs 27:1 GNT). We’re not guaranteed another hour, much less another day, month, or year. If you say you’ll do it someday, it usually means never.
The greatest tragedy of life is to waste it. Dreamers are a dime a dozen. It’s the person of action who makes a difference. Faith without action is worthless.
As you review these six steps, what’s holding you back?
- Are you blaming someone else for your inaction?
- Do you really believe you can get out of your rut?
- Have you written down exactly what you’d like to do?
- Have you been waiting for the perfect conditions?
- Are you taking care of your physical health?
- What can you start doing today?
Ruts don’t need to last forever. Jesus gives us the power to say goodbye to our ruts for good.