Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
I am one of those people who starts projects, thrives off of excitement, and gets stuff done.
I also am acutely aware of my tendency to lose excitement, let frustration deeply affect me, and procrastinate when excitement is gone. All in need of constant conversion, constant seeking of excellence.
Within the last year, I’ve heard multiple people talk about feeling stuck. And how that “stuckness” led to a break-up, job change, and move across the country.
But what happens when you feel stuck again?
I’m not demeaning the validity of discernment in any of these cases – I know there’s other factors I’m not aware of, and people make decisions based on a variety of circumstances. I do think, however, it begs the question: when to run, and when to stay?
I’ve found myself faced with this many times, even recently, with larger factors as well as smaller decisions. Let’s apply it to relationships, first.
When I was dating my soon-to-be husband, everyone always had a laundry list of reasons why we should break-up and why it was inevitable. By “everyone”, I don’t actually mean everyone, but the general Catholic culture (online and in-person). Most dating or chastity resources I found simply listed all the great things about being single and the undercurrent of why your dating relationship should be very carefully considered (and not in a good way – in a distrustful way).
And, well, there was this pull to “run” a few months into dating, with our hearts and baggage coming clear. I remember sitting in the chapel thinking, “This is so hard.” I remember saying to my then-boyfriend, “We can either stay, grow, heal, and figure this out. Or we can break-up and shove it down, and it’s still going to be here ten years from now.”
A similar thought came to me, as one that prompted me to leave a toxic “friendship” with a guy months prior: a thought inspired by what I would tell my daughters in the same situation. You are made to do hard things.
We dug in, and we worked it out, and we messed up, and we grew. I don’t have the desire to run from this relationship; but as we settle into the glorious mundane more and more, I’m deeply aware of how the enemy can use it to breed dissatisfaction that diminishes intentionality. I see how people run when it gets hard, when it starts being less-than-interesting, because we’ve been seeing with our own limited vision. Look at divorce stats – people are clearly running from something, chasing something else.
So, personal advice number one: don’t run just because it’s hard. Don’t run when it gets boring. When you feel stuck, ask the One above it all for divine perspective, and keep going.
Of course, this isn’t objective, universal advice – there is a time to run. There’s definitely relationships to run out of (ones where you’ve been enabling sin, or they don’t call out the best parts of you, or you’re giving far more than you’re receiving, among other things), but let’s switch gears for a moment.
We should never leave a situation just because it is hard. Life is hard. The crucifixion is hard. The early Church had it hard. That’s not to diminish our hard but to realize: we’re called to hard. We’re not called to act unaffected, we’re called to be conquerors, and how do we conquer what isn’t even hard?
God doesn’t expect us to act like machines. He expects us to be affected, and to process in His Presence. You know where we learn emotional validation? Not on an Instagram account, or in a cute self-care graphic. It’s in His Presence. He validates our emotion, our feelings of stuck-ness, before we can even come to terms with them.
We learn from our Father how to respond to life, and how to never be alone.
And the beauty of all of it is this: He doesn’t validate to say “well, yep, you’re stuck”, He validates to transform. That always means transformation in grace; it doesn’t always mean everything changes. Sometimes (feels like always for me, ha), He works in baby steps. One thing moves a little, and He asks me if I trust Him, He forges me in patience and surrender, and then another thing moves a little. He’s always moving, even when it doesn’t feel like it. He’s doing a new thing in my heart, just as He as in the hearts around me.
Here’s some practicals:
If you’re feeling stuck and wondering if your relationship is healthy or not, go to Reconciliation together, talk to a trusted adult together, and then talk to a mature, older man and woman (respectively, separately) about what you’re feeling. Be quick to give grace, especially if there’s a mutual desire for this, and for growth! If not, perhaps consider taking time apart.
If you’re feeling stuck and “bored”, read about the nature of love and relationships by diving into Three to Get Married, by Fulton Sheen. Do something you wouldn’t normally do as a couple! Go on an adventure. Be intentional about seeing (and affirming) the good in the other. I’ve found every time I’m honest about a funk I’m in, my fiance has been feeling his own version of it, and we’re able to have such a productive conversation, just by understanding each other!
If you’re feeling job stuck, dive in and keep going. Discover ways to rest that make you feel actually refreshed. Learn how to honor work/life balance and keep doing things outside of work that make you feel alive.
If you’re dealing with a toxic work environment or disrespect to work/life boundaries, there is absolutely no shame in trying to find something new. Don’t just go because it’s hard, and you’re expecting everything to be perfect (spoiler alert: it won’t be). But discern with trusted people about whether or not this is truly bringing you to fulfillment in flourishing. Something I read recently that stuck with me: you are created to live out your giftings. You are created to be honored for the talents He’s given you, and I so hope that you get to be in a place that does that, friend.
If you’re just feeling stuck in general, do a new thing! Perceive the new thing He’s doing in you. Recommit to your daily prayer life, and jazz it up with a new devotion or learning about a new saint. Work out – you’re not allowed to complain about being stuck if you’re not moving your body, because that truly makes such a mental difference. Make an effort to connect with friends, whether it’s coffee or a phone call. Let someone know what’s going on in your mind and heart.
Here’s the main thing: being “stuck” isn’t about where you’re at or where you’re going, ultimately. Jesus Christ purchased freedom. He vanquished stuck-ness. Before decisions are made about relationships, friendships, jobs, or anything: recognize that the enemy’s lie of paralyzation is just that: a lie and lies are made powerless by the Word who is the Truth.
So, go live today in acknowledgement that He sees you, He’s transforming you, and being stuck is a lie. He’s in control, and He’s given you so much power. Don’t let fleeting emotion or boredom lead you to major decision making; don’t chase fulfillment, pursue His Presence. A move across the country won’t satisfy your heart, and neither will a relationship, ultimately – it’s all Jesus. Only Jesus.
I’m praying for you.