A Message You Shouldn’t Hear

Sometimes I do things the hard way. I don’t intend to. I just don’t see the easy way…until I do. And then I have a “well-duh” moment and wonder what took me so long.

It happened again a while back when I cleaned out the inbox of an old email account, one I use for online shopping and such to keep clutter out of my real email account. (Hang with me. This is not a post about email, I promise!)

Who knew deleting a bunch of spam could give a girl some insight into life?

I hadn’t checked that email account for weeks–probably months–because surely it takes months for an inbox to collect 4,000 emails, right? I skimmed through the first few screens to convince myself it was okay to trash the whole batch, that I wouldn’t miss some obscure life-changing email. Then I began deleting, one screen at a time…because the “sweep” feature that should delete everything at once apparently can’t handle two tons of spam. I vowed not to neglect my inbox for so long next time.

So a few days later I checked my inbox again. About 50 messages were waiting for me. Several were from Kohl’s (because Kohl’s really likes me). I opened one to check out the sales and that’s when I saw it. The unsubscribe option…

Wouldn’t it be easier to unsubscribe from all the unwanted emails rather than let them fill my inbox with clutter? Well-duh! So I looked through the list of emails to decide which could stay and which had to go. Kohl’s, of course, was a keeper. But DiscountMags and VitaCost and PersonalizationMall.com, not so much. I start unsubscribing.

As I’m unsubscribing, I notice a few things. Sometimes unsubscribing is easy. One click and done. But sometimes an annoying question pops up: Are you sure you want to unsubscribe? Also, unsubscribing can go into effect immediately, or it can take 7-10 days to stop. And some emails I couldn’t unsubscribe from at all even though I tried…like Proozy. I have unsubscribed multiple times and yet…Proozy always shows up in my inbox.

So now when I check my email, the messages I want to receive, the messages that are most important to me, are easy to access. And if a little clutter gets mixed in (like Proozy), it’s easy to delete.

As I went through the process of cleaning my inbox—of hitting unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe— that word started to become significant.


To choose not to receive, to not accept, to not agree to.

And I started to wonder if there was other spam I needed to unsubscribe to—a different kind of spam that landed in a different kind of place. You know, that kind of clutter that finds a home in our head or in our heart, crowding around and making the important messages we need to pay attention to difficult to find?

I wonder if your clutter looks like mine.

I used to worry so much about what other people thought that it could be crippling. It affected every decision—what I said, what I did, what I liked or didn’t like, how I spent money, how I…  It took about 30 years of living for me to realize if I’m truly doing the best I can, if I’m making the decisions I believe are right, than the opinions of very few people really mattered.


I used to think I had to give 100% to one hundred percent of everything I did. Then I did the calculations. It’s mathematically impossible. There is only one of me…and I only have 100% to give. So I had to decide how to divvy up my efforts to give the most I could to each area that deserved it. And when my 100% was all doled out, I had to accept that some things I thought deserved a part of me didn’t. And that didn’t make me a failure. It made me sane.


I used to think being a mom would be all-fulfilling. And while it is certainly the most fulfilling part of my life, it didn’t fill every need. (My guilt kept that a well-guarded secret.) Until  I realized a mom is not all that I am. I am also a wife and a daughter and a friend and…just me. It was okay if my marriage needed a weekend away or if I wanted a no-kids shopping trip with my mom or a mani/pedi day with a friend. Or…time by myself. (Remember You Won’t Believe What I Wanted for Mother’s Day?)


…from the clutter, from the thoughts and ideas that somehow end up in our inbox and suffocate what’s true and important. Maybe someone’s words are crowding in—negative and hurtful or untrue—and you’ve begun to believe them. Maybe someone’s actions made you feel small, insignificant, and you’ve reduced yourself  accordingly. Maybe you have created some of your own clutter because you don’t feel you are good enough or smart enough or successful enough or [fill in the blank] enough. Because we are good at creating our own clutter, aren’t we?

It’s time to clean the inbox…the one we’ve neglected for weeks or months or…years. Unsubscribe from the unhealthy, untrue, unworthy clutter that crowds out the important messages we need to hear.

Sometimes unsubscribing is easy. You simply make a choice. Choose not to receive, not to agree to, not to accept…

But sometimes when we make that choice, that annoying question surfaces: Are you sure you want to unsubscribe? The answer is yes.

Other times, unsubscribing takes time to take effect—much longer than 7 to 10 days—but it’s in process.

And maybe there’s that one message that never goes away, like Proozy. No matter how many times we unsubscribe, it pops up again and again and again. In that case, we have to hit delete—as many times as it takes. That message can’t just sit in the inbox neglected, because it’s going to arrive again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day, and before long our inbox will be so full and cluttered we won’t be able to see what’s important anymore.

Unsubscribing from our clutter may feel like the hard way. But as hard as it may be, it’s really the easy way. Sometimes we can’t see that…until we do. And then we wonder what took us so long.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil 4:8

What “inbox” clutter have you unsubscribed from? What important messages did that allow you to hear?


Thank you, Lois Y., for being a MOM Journey follower! I’m sending you this month’s give-away—a gift certificate for a basic mani or pedi! (Check your email!)


Waiting for Butterflies is about to become REAL! My publisher emailed me today with a tracking number. The distributor is shipping books for the launch party! Books are heading to retailers! Pre-orders will be in the mail soon! Oh my goodness, this is happening!


If you see The MOM Journey on Facebook but not in your inbox (if you are on my email list), please check your spam/junk mail and mark it as not spam/junk. We’ve discovered posts are ending up in the wrong place since the blog moved to my author website. Sorry!



  1. Kim says:

    Just talked about this with a friend today!

    • Karen Sargent says:

      I think it’s a common theme this week! Did you read A-M and Brian’s post this week? Excellent…and kind of the same idea. Guess we’re all in the spring cleaning mode! 🙂 Wish I could transfer that to literally spring cleaning my house! 🙂

  2. Lois Orr says:

    This post – Wow!!- It is exactly what I needed to hear! So many things that I need to hit UNSUBSCRIBE to but am reluctant. Thanks for reminding me of those words of truth and wisdom (Phil. 4:8).
    *So close to be the winner…LOL

  3. A-M says:

    Such a good metaphor! Such truth. So much of our “inbox clutter” keeps us from seeing what’s important and keeps gratitude from flowing because we can’t see the good stuff! I also hate that for a lot of my inbox clutter I was the one who signed up! Then I’m looking at it and thinking, “why am I seeing this?” Oh yeah… I signed up for that. 🙁
    Time to unsubscribe.

    • Karen Sargent says:

      So true…sometimes we sign up for the “junk,” don’t we? As I was editing this post, I thought, “Hhmmm…A-M and Brian released lanterns in their blog this week. I’m unsubscribing to email. Common theme!” LOL I loved your post this week, by the way (as I do every week)!

  4. LINDA WILSON says:

    good story as always and getting excited for you for Tue. night and hope my book gets here love u KAREN

  5. Sally Poyzer says:

    A great analogy Karen! So true…I need to stop letting those expectations fill my mind…and I need to clear out all my spam mail too 🙂

    • Karen Sargent says:

      Thank you, Sally, and thanks for stopping by! I hope to introduce you to everyone on The MOM Journey soon. Looking forward to your guest post (at your convenience) as well as sharing THAT BOOK FOR WIVES!

  6. Rebekah says:

    I’ve just recently started unsubscribing to spam too…how much happier am I when I look at my inbox!

    • Karen Sargent says:

      Doesn’t it just relieve a load of stress?! Kind of the same feeling when my kitchen is clean! Thanks for reading, Rebekah!

  7. Lois Y. says:

    Yeah! Thank you for the gift certificate!!

    P.S. I always enjoy reading what you write! I too need to unsubscribe to some things. 🙂

  8. Sharon bickel says:

    Wow! Thank you! I was blessed by this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.