{Un}word for the year: stuck

January 21, 2014

Edie over at lifeingraceblog.com has challenged us to come up with our {un}word for 2014. An {un}word, you ask? What's that? It's a word that describes what we don't want to be or do this year.

Mine is "stuck." I've been stuck for the past several years, stalled, and unsure of direction. But this is the year I'm moving forward.

When my youngest child went off to college, I was faced with trying to figure out what I was going to "do." I had to deal with other people's questions and expectations and my own uncertainties. Even before my son had graduated from high school, people were asking me what I was going to do when I was no longer homeschooling.

"Sleep!" I would laugh. Or organize my home. Or recover.  The questions irritated me. Why did I have to "do" anything? After homeschooling for 14 years, I wanted a break.

People asked me to volunteer for things. They asked me to teach classes at the local homeschool coop. I said no. And felt guilty.

But I held my ground. I've spent too much time doing things I really didn't want to do because I thought I was "supposed to."  I didn't want to fill up my days with activities that weren't meaningful to me just so others would think well of me, or so I would have something to answer when people asked, "so what are you doing?"

But I struggled with guilt. Felt I had to justify my existence. Felt even the Lord was disappointed in me because I wasn't out there serving others. And I wondered, through this whole process, and I still wonder, what is wrong with "just" being at home (my absolute favorite place to be), taking care of things here, and being available to family and friends who need me? No one would have questioned our grandmothers about that choice.

I worried that the Lord wanted me doing more "spiritual" work, like serving soup at a soup kitchen or volunteering to teach inner city children to read. While these are wonderful callings, I didn't feel they were my calling. But I suspected maybe I was just being selfish.

Eventually, I did try a couple volunteer positions. But neither felt right, so I didn't stay on. I know now I only considered them because of others' expectations and my own insecurities over not "doing" anything.

I started working on a book, something I've always wanted to do. That was a start in the right direction, finally. But that seemed to stall, too.

I was content with my choice to stand firm and "just" be a homemaker, serving others from my home base and enjoying a quieter, simpler life. But I still seemed to be searching for something.

And then in November, I decided quite suddenly to start a blog. I had considered it before but had put up roadblocks. "There are a gazillion bloggers out there. What makes you think you have anything to add?" "What a waste of time." etc., ad nauseum. I battle with some pretty harsh internal naysayers. Thankfully, I ignored those downers, and forged ahead. And guess what? I am having a wonderful time! I get to work in my favorite environment (home) and get to do what I love (write). Win/win.

I have been excited to get to my laptop every day and write about things that are meaningful to me and that I hope will bless and encourage others. I love staging and taking photos, thinking up new ideas, connecting with other people, and being creative and imaginative. And I think it may give me confidence to work on my book again.

Being excited in one area of your life spills over to other areas, too. I'm getting "unstuck" in other places.  Losing weight, exercising, learning lots more computer stuff, thinking about a photography class.

One of the best ways to get "unstuck" is to quit worrying about what you "should" do, and do what you were meant to do. It means letting go of others' opinions and your own internal demons.

I believe that the Lord gives us gifts and talents, and an excitement to use them. Being excited is one way of knowing you're doing the right thing. Being so absorbed in your work that you don't want to stop what you're doing is another clue. Of course, there is always work that we must do that's not always exciting and absorbing, like laundry and dishes. But, even with those things, we can feel a certain "rightness" about doing them.

I'm excited about moving forward in an area that has always been a dream of mine, writing. It's wonderful to get "unstuck."

Do you need to get unstuck from something?

Unword2014badge_rough draft


  1. Hi Deborah ... I so appreciate you being unstuck and sharing this with us! Because it sounds like your creativity and joy and exuberance are flowing. I really love this season of life we're sharing ... and it's been good to meet you today!



  2. You put it beautifully and so honestly too. Yes, you deserve to be home, por women this days and for our generation where we were supposed to be "SUPER WOMEN"...the ones that had to do and could do everything. They never did question our grandmas back than. I'm retired four years now because hubby sold his ceramic Factory where I also worked and I still feel bad sometimes that I don't work anymore, my concious gets me! I do dedícate some of time to Bible and Rosary Praying with friends and some volunteering, but still! You are so creative and talented, go ahead and work on your book, I think it's fabulous! Thanks for visiting me and for your post, as well.

    1. thank you Fabby for the encouragement. It's much appreciated.

  3. Hi: Love the honesty on your post. I went through the same thing when I finished homeschooling my kids. God will direct you. Have a wonderful week. Blessings, Martha

    1. thank you Martha. Seems like many of us are in the same boat. So grateful I have choices.

  4. I chose stuck too. I don't homeschool but am a full time homemaker. My oldest has Asperger's which requires sacrifices in our home life. One of those is that I be available. I can relate to comments about other's expectations.

  5. Hi Deb!
    Great post! I am going through this same dilemma right now...feeling obligated to get a job now that two of my kids wil be off to college. Thanks for reminding me that I have been working hard for years homeschooling my kids and deserve a break! Women are so pressured these days into feeling like they have to have a career to be worthy. My career is my kids

  6. Un stuck! I like it. Mine is distraction to be undistracted. So hard. Being freed up when kids are older or a certain phase passes is both liberating and scary. Hope you have fun becoming unstuck. Found you through the GYB list. Look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

    1. thank you Linda. I'm working my way through the GYB list, too. So many wonderful blogs out there -- love your recipes.

  7. Deborah, This post is so fabulous and so wise. I can see already that your blog is part of ministering to others (as you said things like the soup kitchen did not feel right).

    1. Thank you Fiona. Your blog has been a wonderful source of inspiration to me, too.


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