Feeling Stuck

After flying nine hours from Italy, our plane neared New York so we could make our connecting flight to Atlanta. I leaned over Ron to see what his nudging elbow and pointing finger insisted I see. Skyscrapers stood at attention surrounded by a landscape of blazing fall color. I smiled knowing we had escaped the honking horns and the hustle and bustle of the crowds below. My tired eyes scanned the horizon eagerly hoping to get a glimpse of Lady Liberty. Soon enough, I spied her upraised hand there on Ellis Island. She stood tall and regal as she beckoned the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. No doubt, she is America’s most famous statue. 

While my eyes remained fixed on her, my mind’s eye traveled back to the Accademia museum in Florence, Italy where the statues of Michelangelo stood tall. While his David is touted as the most famous sculpture in all the world, I was captivated by four of the artist’s unfinished statues. They, along with two others in the Louvre Museum in Paris, make up a collection called Michelangelo’s Prisoners or Slaves.

Our tour guide explained that Michelangelo believed a sculptor wasn’t a creator, but rather a revealer. After carefully choosing a block of marble, his job was to slowly and deliberately chip away all of the excess. Many believe that Michelangelo deliberately left his four “Prisoners” unfinished to represent man’s struggle to release the soul from the flesh.

Maybe I was drawn to these statues because I liked knowing someone else started something they couldn’t finish. Or perhaps it was that I could quickly see, compare, and appreciate the drastic difference between a raw, humble beginning and a gloriously perfected ending. While those things might be true, what drew me most to these unfinished works was the fact that the figures seemed stuck. I know how stuck feels. Maybe you do too. 

Maybe you’ve been stuck in past circumstances, hurts, and mistakes; or pressed by toxic relationships; or bogged down in religion; or buried underneath a load of grief; or crushed by depression. Maybe you can’t chisel your way out of the worry and stress weighing you down. But, there IS hope! It begins with a change in perspective.

Even before God made the world, He loved you and chose you. (Ephesians 1:4) You are a unique piece of marble specially created and chosen by the Great Sculptor to become a magnificent masterpiece. God sees the perfection of Jesus living inside you just waiting to be released. But, let me say this as tenderly as I can, you are NOT the sculptor. You were NOT created to release yourself!

God placed His hammer and chisel in the hand of the Holy Spirit to slowly and deliberately chip away everything that doesn’t look like Jesus. Thump by thump, it’s the hand of the Spirit that cracks open your past to remove everything unworthy of perfection. With every well-timed tap, the Spirit loosens the hold of bad relationships. At just the right time, He lands a shattering blow to legalism, blows away the dust of grief, and knocks a chunk out of worry and stress. He smashes depression to smithereens.  

So, why do we still feel stuck? It all boils down to surrender. We so want to keep the chisel and hammer in our own hands. We want to control the speed and timing of the freedom process. If a necessary blow strikes too deep, we stop and rub the hurt. When the chips fly too fast, we slow things down. We think we know what’s best, when in reality we have exchanged the chisel for a caulking gun. Rather than exposing the Jesus inside our lives, we cover Him over with the things of this world. 

Yet, when we let the Spirit control the speed of our transformation, no matter the level of discomfort, we begin to have the mind of Christ. As His hands wrap around our hearts of stone, they transform into hearts of flesh that beat with the love of Jesus. We begin to see others the way Jesus sees them, and our hands and feet become those of Jesus. 

Michelangelo may have been content to let his sculptures remain imprisoned, but God is not. We were made to be free! None of us will be made completely perfect until Jesus comes back. However, if we continue our yearning to breathe free and stay in constant communication with the Spirit, God will not allow Him to stop working in and through us. Let’s put the hammer and chisel back into the Spirit’s hand so the Jesus within us can be set free!

“You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.” (Romans 8:9b-10 NLT)

Posted in

Donna Jackson

Used Up and Refilled

By Donna Jackson | November 29, 2022 |

For these next few weeks leading up to Christmas we’ll focus on a few of the miracles of Jesus. This week I decided to rework an old post that I had so much fun writing. I love viewing familiar events from different perspectives. I pray this allegory helps you discover your own hidden meaning.  …

I’m Sorry

By Donna Jackson | November 22, 2022 |

Those who know me best know my love for movie quotes. Since Ron loves me, he’s learned to “speak movie” with me. He and I often challenge one another by quoting lines from our favorite movies just to see if the other one can respond with the next correct line or at least identify the…

Don’t Lose Heart

By Donna Jackson | November 15, 2022

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9 NKJ) It’s so easy to begin an exciting new project or season of life with enthusiasm, isn’t it? We wear broad smiles as we work passionately to get things off the…

Fussing with God

By Donna Jackson | November 8, 2022

When my friend Kim’s text popped up, I opened it with a quick click. Staring back at me was my own little face back in the spring of my life. I could see she had attached some sort of video, but the whirling circle in the middle of those chubby childish cheeks refused to stop…

Emotional Spaghetti

By Donna Jackson | November 1, 2022

The woman I spoke to when booking our trip to Italy had been there several times. She shared valuable nuggets of information that provided us an easier and more enjoyable trip. Since we decided to rent a car, one suggestion she offered made me laugh. She said, “Do NOT drive in Rome. If you don’t…


By Donna Jackson | October 25, 2022

After the construction of the Florence Cathedral was completed in 1436, overseers commissioned Agostino di Duccio to create a statue of David to be mounted in one of the niches high atop the massive cathedral. The much-too-inexperienced Duccio traveled to Carrera, Italy to purchase a colossal block of marble for the project. Once the marble…

Feeling Stuck

By Donna Jackson | October 18, 2022

After flying nine hours from Italy, our plane neared New York so we could make our connecting flight to Atlanta. I leaned over Ron to see what his nudging elbow and pointing finger insisted I see. Skyscrapers stood at attention surrounded by a landscape of blazing fall color. I smiled knowing we had escaped the…

Beneath the Tuscan Sun

By Donna Jackson | October 12, 2022

When she walked out wearing an apron with a towel flung over her shoulder I knew we were in for a special treat! It had been much too long since I had seen my friend Kim Whitaker. Meeting up with her again in her new part-time home in Italy made our visit most spectacular.  For…

What If’s and If Only’s

By Donna Jackson | September 27, 2022

It was twilight, and he needed to be alone. God calling his father home had been an emotional journey. He needed the stillness of the night to quiet his raw emotions and reflect on all that had happened. Joseph wearily laid back on the soft grass admiring the many stars in the sky. He often…

The Good Life

By Donna Jackson | September 20, 2022

My grandparents lived in my college town long before I became a student. They made sure that I knew their house was my home. Even though they’ve gone on to their new eternal home, being back in that town still feels like home.   Wandering from street to street wakes up sweet memories. Traveling just a…