My Word of the Week: Stumble

stum·ble – verb \ˈstəm-bəl\

: to hit your foot on something when you are walking or running so that you fall or almost fall
: to walk in an awkward way
: to speak or act in an awkward way
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On Halloween night, the first trick-or-treaters arrived at the same time as the pizza man, and while I was running this way to hand out the M&Ms and Skittles and that way to get the cash for a tip, my festive Halloween socks, pulled out once a year for such occasions, betrayed me. My feet slid out from under me, and I landed with a thud on my knees.

I moaned. Steve expressed appropriate concern, though I’m sure he would rather have laughed.

“I need to slow down,” I said, to no one in particular.

On the way back to the door to retrieve the pizza, I grabbed a back of peanut butter M&Ms, and handed it to the delivery driver, along with the last $4 in my wallet. Thankfully, the pizza was paid for with plastic.

The tumble through the living room was just about the last straw after a frustrating day of work and a to-do list that had mushroomed out of control. Though I recognize my work and home office and writing opportunities as real gifts most of the time, I would have given it all up, I fear, if someone would have offered me a stress-free weekend with a massage and a nap. It would have been a fool’s trade, but that’s where I had stumbled.

With this new week going about the same, I keep thinking there has to a place for common sense when the pressures of life–even a good life–come pressing in hard. No one can work 12 hours a day or seven days a week for long without getting tripped up. And I definitely can’t work all the time and expect that I won’t get behind on housework, out of touch with the boys. or unreasonable with my husband. They love me anyway, but they didn’t sign on for this craziness.

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Yesterday in an email to Ann, I confessed that I was about to self-destruct. She kindly told me to take a deep breath. It’s what I tell the boys when they aren’t being rational. I needed to hear those words back. And last night, just before slipping into bed, I was reading Proverbs 3. Solomon says something similar: “Keep sound wisdom and discretion.” Or, in other words, be reasonable, woman! Doing so keeps us from being afraid, it helps us sleep, it makes us confident in the Lord, he says.

And interestingly enough, it will help us not to stumble.

I am tempted to say, Where was Solomon when I needed him, thinking simply of the fall that has left me with stiff knees five days later. But the truth is, He’s gotten to me just in time. I haven’t self-destructed yet. I haven’t completely blown it with my family or friends. I haven’t stumbled too far off the path.

And today, things are looking up.

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WORD COUNT: 476


What’s YOUR word of the week? Drop it into the comments section, or share it on this week’s Facebook post.


Photo above by Alexander Svensson, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.


  • Sandra Heska King ,

    • Sandra Heska King ,

      I hope your knees loosen up soon I’ve stumbled so many times… in all kinds of ways. I walk with a limp. 🙂

      Linking up a post that may fit this linkup. At least it has a one-word title. 🙂

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        Charity Singleton Craig ,

        Thanks, Sandy. They are feeling better, but now I’m sick. The obvious result from too much stress and not enough rest. Shouldn’t I have learned that by now? 🙂