The Danger of Standing Still: The Importance of Moving Forward

Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation…even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. – Leonardo da Vinci

My mind is always hungry and searching for revelation and knowledge, so I usually find some of the biggest nuggets of wisdom from the most non-conventional sources. Some years ago at a former residence, my bathroom sink became severely clogged and since it was connected to the pipes in my kitchen, that sink became plugged up too. Nothing was able to go through or leave out. This was a huge problem, especially since at the time I was caring for twin toddlers and was far along expecting my third child. It made the most easiest of tasks a monster of projects! I tried everything in my power to remedy the problem, but nothing worked. I waited days for Maintenance to fix the problem. The longer I waited, I grew increasingly impatient. At one point in my desperation, I called my mom over to help, but to no avail. When Maintenance finally responded and successfully cleared the sinks, it was like a huge extremely irritating weight lifted off my shoulders; I never thought I’d be so excited over working pipes! During the process, I couldn’t help but notice how much substance blocked the pipes, it was like looking at a science experiment! Everything that came out was black and gross;  hardly believable that it was once of any value.

Sometime later, this experience got my wheels turning—this could easily be compared to the facts of life! When it comes to the progression and development of our lives, If we become stagnated, we’re not moving forward and if we’re not moving forward, we will begin to waste away [rendering ourselves useless]. In order for our lives to properly take it’s intended course, we must pass through each phase that brings progression, growth and advancement or else we’ll run the risk of becoming “backed up” like my bathroom sink! There’s only gain in moving forward, not backwards and most definitely not standing still. Remaining stuck at a phase will sooner or later bring misery. Think about it…imagine being on your way somewhere, but being stuck in a traffic jam that is not going anywhere anytime soon! Are you getting a mental picture yet?!

Stagnation results from slothfulness, the inability or refusal to change, move on, flow on in life. Stagnation happens when we choose to hesitate, procrastinate and drag our feet from moving to the next necessary steps. That kind of stubbornness then leads to a “build-up” of unfulfilled life assignments, and ultimately people left undone and stuck in a rut. Some people choose to stand still and wait for life to happen, others choose to cling on the past or present while others may be held back by fear, regrets or resentment. When we choose to halt the flow of our lives it will begin to spoil and breed negative feelings, attitudes and behavior patterns that goes on to metastasize into other areas and facets (See my post ‘The New Normal’). Phases undone and issues left unresolved eventually deadens the soul and many become mere shells of the people they used to be, no longer living but just existing.

Stagnated people also wrestle with insecurity, jealousy and/or self-pity. No matter how many wonderful things may happen to them externally, will not cure the problem or substitute for the lack of their actions. Other people, activities and accomplishments can not fill the voids, but are only temporary distractions that masks the true issues at hand. Whatever the case may be, knowingly and unknowingly choosing to stand still is like operating as the Dead Sea, being a place with no outlet where all fresh things go to die.

If we want a life of purpose, we will not find it stuck in a rut. Prevention is the best method, but if we find ourselves stuck, there is a remedy. Getting back flowing requires a willing cooperation with what’s needed to bring restoration back into our lives. God supplies us the right tools needed for the specific job, but we are responsible for properly using them. This takes having to roll up our sleeves and getting busy with doing what we know is the right thing to do (See post my ‘Save the World, But First Do the Dishes’). If we are completely honest with ourselves to dig deep and look into the un-finished business in our lives, what would we find? Could it be unforgiveness, negligence, laziness or fear? Whatever it may be, it is not worth keeping only to suffer and forfeit the rewards of living a purpose-filled life. Once we find the answers we’re looking for, we must hold ourselves accountable to see those needs through so we can finally move on to the next phases of our journey. It may not be easy, but it’s definitely worth it. Remember, the most fulfilled people are not that of the rich, famous, or even the comfortable, but those who made it to the finish line of their life’s story!

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
– Apostle Paul

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