God, My Story

Standing Stuck


Photo by Nick Bondarev on Pexels.com

I just stood at my kitchen counter, staring. I couldn’t figure out what I should be doing next. It was like I was immovable. I had no desire to do anything that would push forward the to-do list in my life nor did I have the energy to interact with my children and I couldn’t even find it in me sit and relax. It was as if everything came to a standstill and the only thing that made sense was to be in one spot without making any choices without having any interruptions and without having any expectations on me.

This is a weird state for me to be in. I’m the kind of person who always keeps going. I’m constantly go-go-going and do-do-doing. Even my times of rest and relaxation are still anchored in accomplishment – finishing reading a book or finishing a puzzle or something to that effect. Wasting time or being inactive is just not usual for me. But over the last few weeks this state of ‘being stuck’ has seemed to encroach on me more and more.

I know, some might say it looks like depression. And maybe there are some aspects of depression to it. After all, life as I’ve known it has changed drastically and I don’t have any promises that things will be back to ‘normal’ at any time. Some might say it’s decision fatigue and I’m sure that there’s plenty of that going on too. With every change that’s come my way, a myriad of decisions has had to be made as well. But when I think back about what my life has been like in the past few weeks and months preceding that, I can see that this is a state of heightened feelings of being overwhelmed. I push for as long as I can to do the things that I absolutely have to do and when those are done or when my energy runs out, I stop and it takes a while for me to regroup in order to do the next thing. Can any of you guys relate? I feel like I’ve been on a non-stop hamster wheel over the past year!


So what’s going on? It would be very easy to blame this on the pandemic and the pre- and post-election tension that’s all around, as well as all the other daily life stressors and obligations that come our way. But, I’m not sure that I want to use the excuse of blame in this situation. I don’t want to live in a place of blaming because when I do that, I don’t move towards resolving the issue at hand. When I live in a place of blaming I’m constantly looking back and constantly trying to find the reason for why things are the way they are so that I can shirk my responsibilities for making positive changes in my life.

Over the past few months, I haven’t been writing, I haven’t been singing, I haven’t been doing many things that move my life forward. I’ve been doing the bare essentials which include plenty of good things, but mostly those that maintain the status quo. Things like making sure my family is fed, clothed, and clean. Things like making sure my children are educated as well as the students in my voice studio. Things like maintaining a level of community and connection while still adhering to the standards of health and safety all around us. Things like maintaining the balance of my spiritual life and the feeling of peace and rest in our home.

But, under all of that, I feel that something is missing. I feel that something is askew. I feel like there’s something that is unresolved and unsettled. Something that is weighing on me in the background of my mind; in the background of my actions; in everything. And it is this thing that I need to discover so that I can move my life forward.

I suppose this ‘thing’ could be from the fact that I’m a feeler. It’s as if I can feel the general feelings of those around me and even the feelings on a broader scale (community groups, people groups, nationally, etc). Or maybe it’s something in the spiritual world. As a spiritual person, I believe that there is a spirit world all around that’s fighting for the influence of my being and my attention. or maybe it’s just plain fatigue. I’m a busy person who rarely takes a break unless forced into it somehow. Honestly, that isn’t very healthy.

Getting Unstuck…

So, how do I get ‘unstuck’? What are the things I do, or don’t do, that give me a jumpstart once again? I’ve let this question roll around in my mind for quite some time. I’ve been trying things out and hoping to find that balanced point again. It’s not been one simple answer, but rather a series of things that when put together, have really helped.

In no particular order, I started to try things out. I had to prepare some music for a lesson and so, I just started singing. This led to more singing and piano playing. That was just the bit of motivation I needed to jumpstart my own singing and playing for pleasure! When my kids heard me playing and singing, they’d come around me and join in – not all the time, but enough that my heart was warmed. Now, I know that music doesn’t ignite passion in everyone, but I do think there’s something that each of us is passionate about. It can be so hard to just have the activation energy to start something (read more on that in the book Flow by Csikszentmihalyi), but once we get going, we often feel the continuation of it uses much less energy than getting started.

I also made a renewed commitment to my devotional time. I had started to let my mind wander much more during my Bible time. I allowed distractions (Can we say… phone?) to interrupt me more regularly. I stopped journaling because I just ‘wasn’t feeling like it.’ All these things put together created decreasing returns in my quiet time with Jesus. So, I found some simple and easy prayer devotionals on YouVersion and I continued with my daily Bible reading. I grabbed my journal more frequently to write down how I was feeling, what I was thinking, and just generally trying to be in the moment and not lost in the past or the future. All these together have really helped to get me back on track with my Jesus time. I feel like the relationship is once again, moving! (not that God ever stops moving, but I sometimes do)

Photo by Mental Health America (MHA) on Pexels.com

Lastly, I began talking and walking again. Sometimes these happened together and sometimes separate. I need to talk to people about what’s going on inside my head. I need to be able to hear it out loud before I can assess whether or not what I’m thinking actually makes any sense! I admit it! I’m an external processor. My best times of thinking or talking are when I’m doing something. Things like doing a puzzle, cleaning, or taking a walk. Whether I’m out walking with someone or even just taking that time alone, it really helps to order my thoughts and reinvigorate my physical body with energy. If I can’t walk with a person, then I listen to a podcast. Somehow, hearing the rhythm of another voice helps me either focus in on what’s being said, or sends my mind onto a rabbit trail of its own. When I can go down the rabbit trails and sort through the tall grass, I often come out into a ‘clearing’ in my thinking. This is so beneficial for me and I can return to my family and my activities with a much more focused and clear mind. So, yeah… doing something physical is super helpful for me too.

As I reflect back from when I began this blog weeks, even months earlier, I see how much’ life’ has happened since then. I couldn’t finish it earlier because I didn’t have a solution. I was still stuck. I hoped that just writing it out would get me unstuck, but I was still very much in the midst of it. I didn’t realize it. I wanted to force my way out of it through one simple act – writing. But, I couldn’t. If I had I wouldn’t have been true to allowing myself to feel the feelings, wade through the muck, and eventually see some more forward motion. It was hard to wait and hard to be in that place, but I’m thankful God is always ready to take the next step with me. Even when I’m afraid of being stuck, He isn’t. Even when I’m too tired to be motivated, He patiently waits and speaks ideas into my heart and mind. He isn’t pushy and He’s not a push-over. I’m so incredibly thankful for my Lord. With His help, I’ll continue the cadence and flow of my life, one day at a time.

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