When Your Life Needs a Pause Button

Has your life ever gotten a little crazy?  The kind of crazy where you can't breathe.  The kind of crazy when all four kids need to be in different places at different times.  The kind of crazy when your to-do list is never ending and all you want is a good nap. 

Enter the last few weeks.  There were unexpected speaking engagements.  My first "business" speaking engagement so I wanted it to be really good and impressive.  I signed up to be an exhibitor at a local women's conference.  I secured new writing clients.  I volunteered a little bit extra at church.  And before I knew it, life was a series of to-dos.  Void of heart.  Void of meaning.  Just moving to the next thing to get-her-done. 

What I realized in those moments is that somehow I was checking in without being present.  I was showing up without meaning.  I had lost what had heart and meaning for me.  

In fact, I was so caught up in my to-do list that I had forgotten that my story has power.  So that little business speaking engagement became a speech without heart.  In hindsight, I realized that when I connect with my story I connect to the hearts of others.  Instead, I researched a bunch of business info.  My presentation was fine, but it lacked a little something.

 If only my life had a pause button...

If you haven't been paying attention around here, we (One Foot Coaching) celebrated a little birthday last week.  I've been coaching for 2 years.  It seems like a lifetime ago and, at the same time, just yesterday when I started. 

Have you ever felt so close to something that you didn't always feel the value?  That's how I sometimes feel about my group coaching workshops.  To be honest, it's just me picking a topic, choosing some coaching exercises and leading some gals through it.  I was confounded why my little workshops had become so meaningful to my group coaching clients. 

Until one of my friends who is a regular group workshop participant shared her insights with me.  She explained to me one day that my workshops give her a space to come and press pause on her life.  And when she presses pause, she stops thinking about her to-do lists, her work, her ought-to's and everything in between.  Instead, pressing pause has enabled her to set aside time and space to think intentionally about her life and faith.  Pressing pause has allowed her to think about what she wants, who she wants to be and how she & God can partner together to build that life. 

When was the last time you pressed pause?  When was the last time your to-do list was set aside?  When was the last time you stopped trying to keep up with the spinning world to take care of you? 

You know what the problem with pausing is, don't you?  TIME.  We don't have time to press pause.  While we attempt to press pause, the rest of the world keeps proceeding forward.  We can get left behind.  We can get passed over.  We need to GET THINGS DONE!

The reality is that we need to press pause in the middle of our busy lives.  We need to learn to take the time we need to find that space to reconnect with our hearts, pay attention to what has meaning to us, and then begin to design a life that includes pausing as we go instead of a forced pause when we come to the end of our rope. 

So, how do we do this?  While it's not easy for anybody, we start learning to pause by practice. And by practice, I mean let's commit to trying one of these quick ideas even if our executing isn't perfect.  

1. Stop the Input

I don't know about you, but I like to have input.   I'm a podcast junkie, a reader, a social media scanner and so much more.  So when I find myself doing nothing, I reach for a little input.  I need to hear some good music.  I reach for a book that relates to what I'm going through. Surely, that Christian podcast will be good.  The problem with input is that our mind is always racing.  We are never resting because input is new information for us to process.  So, next time you're driving in the car, out walking the dog, or waiting in the carpool line - consider turning off the radio/iPhone/book, choose to be still, and press pause on everything else.  

2. Choose your mindset

In coaching school, we learned about the committed ways of being.  Basically, you and I get to choose how we show up.  When it comes to pausing in the midst of our everyday busyness, how can we shift our mindset to commit to pausing even if it's for 5 minutes?  Can you and I let go of our to-do lists and embrace self-care as just as important?  Can we choose to incorporate pausing in out everyday routine?  In the quiet moments.  In the waiting moments.  In the moments when we know we need it (even if it has to happen in the bathroom with a locked door). 

3. Schedule it

While I get that it's easier said than done, we can schedule it.  When can you get away for 10 or 20 or 30 minutes to be by yourself with the Lord?  When you can take that time to reconnect who you are with your heart and with God?  If we don't schedule it, it won't get done.  So block a time when you want to schedule it.  It doesn't have to be long and it doesn't have to be in the morning.  It just needs to be a time when you choose to be still and reconnect with yourself and God.  

4. Change Your Listening Habits

Can't find a time to sit down and take a breath?  Consider changing that input we talked about above to the Bible.  A great way to do this is to listen to God's Word.  Check out You Version or another downloadable Bible in audio for a way to connect with God and His Word on the go. 

5. Take a day retreat

Back when I worked for a church, we got a new boss.  Our new boss insisted we each take a one day retreat per quarter to reconnect with God, get away from our offices, and plan for what was next on the horizon of our ministries.  He would pay us for this retreat, as long as we took it.  

To be honest, I was reluctant at first.  What am I going to do on this day away retreat?  I had things to get done in my office.  But once I experienced it, it was like a breath of fresh air.  It became a day when I got to actually press pause on "running things" and let God run me.  

Start simply.  Start with prayer.  Bible reading.  Some self care for your spiritual life.  You can work up to mission and vision and what's next. 

6. Group Coaching Workshops

At the risk of sounding like a shameless plug, consider a group coaching workshop.  Group coaching can be the catalyst you need to start that change you've been meaning to make all while giving you a space to reconnect with God and pause life for a few hours.  While I'd love for you to come to mine (register for the next one here), find a group workshop where you can connect with the community and walk away with some next steps for deepening your faith and living intentionally. 

7. Go on an actual Retreat

I have a true confession for you.  As an adult ministry director, I was not a fan of the weekend retreat.  It was always a big event to plan and I wasn't sure it netted results in a deeper faith.  My assumption was that I'd rather have adults in weekly Bible study than a one-time weekend high. 

But then I planned my first retreat.  And I saw first hand that retreats weren't less or more than weekly Bible study.  They were different.  Community is formed.  Time away from weekly routine allows us to go deeper in the pause.  It refreshes.  It builds community.  It prepares us to face our life full of faith and intention. 

Find a retreat through your local church or group, or attend one of our retreats here at One Foot Coaching.  Find out more about One Foot Retreats by clicking here. 

I don't have this pausing thing mastered, really.  I still run by my to-do lists.  I still crave input when all is quiet.  I run to the next meeting, the next church event, the next entertainment all while staying disconnected from God and my heart and who I am.  Pressing pause when life is busy is HARD. 

Just because something is hard doesn't mean we don't do it.  Pausing is worth it. If you've been reading here for a few months, you know I've been raving about this book called Present Over Perfect.  This book hit me right between the eyes - mostly because I am prone to choose perfect over present most days.  I want to do things right and meet the expectations of others all at the expense of being present.  And yet, little by little, God is working on my soul.  How can I incorporate being present with my family and friends?  How can I choose less perfection and more connection?

As I sit in Caribou, I wonder about each of our hearts.  What are our hearts saying to us when we don't press pause?  Pressing pause allows our hearts the breathing room they need to make us whole and to remind us that our identity is not based in what we do but in who we become. 

I'd love to hear from you!  What ideas do you have for pressing pause in the middle of your everyday lives?  Comment here or send me a message.