The Power of A Pause

When was the last time you pressed pause?  No, not on your DVD player or the latest You Tube video.  I mean pressed pause on your day.  Your life.  

Months ago, I was sitting in my health coach's office.  The World Market couch was comfy.  The hot tea she brought me was tasty.  But me?  I was not so relaxed.  We were talking about my issues with food.  If you haven't figured it out already, I LOVE FOOD!  Especially cheese...

The health coach is always gentle and kind.  I find my heart torn between wanting to run right out of the room and not come back and leaning in to the gentle and kind.  

Her words stuck me, "What would happen if you paused before you ate and asked if instead of food you needed something from God instead?"

Because of her gentleness, I leaned in.  Of course this was a good idea.  I should pause.  I should be more intentional and mindful.  This would be good. 

Except it wasn't.  You see, I just didn't want to pause.  I wanted to continue my late night snacking and nibbling on my beloved cheese even though its bad for me and my sinuses.  

So for months, I gently refused to pause.  It wasn't an all out rebellion.  I still thought it was a good idea.  I just never got around to it.  It was far easier to avoid it.  To conveniently "forget" to pause. 

Until last week.  Last week, I was here in my home leading my life coaching Bible study with my new and old friends.  We're walking through the book of Colossians and have gotten to the point where Paul tells us to "put to death" and "put off" and "Put on".  

In my cleverness I created this amazing coaching tool.  It was an assessment of sorts.  What do we personally need to put to death, put off, and put on?  

Each week, after discussing what we're learning in the study I walk us through a tool to really apply what we're learning.  And last week, I hopped into the tool and thought I'd get a lot of put ons and some put offs.  

The reality is that I realized there was a lot more than food that was uncontrolled in my life.  Anger.  Discontent.  What I allow myself to watch on TV or read in books. How quickly I say yes, when I should really say no. 

And what came out of my coaching tool for me was a desire to start pressing pause.  Press pause before I eat.  Press pause before I react in anger.  Press pause before I mindlessly turn on that TV show. Press pause before I say yes to that request. 

And if I need a pause, you may need one too.  Where do you need to press pause in your life today?

The thing about pausing is that it doesn't come naturally.  We all probably admit that we need to press pause, but how many of us do it?  How do we get started so we don't lean in to our gentle and kind health coach only to "forget" to even practice it in real life? 

Start Small

To be honest, gentle and kind health coach wasn't asking a lot.  Just a short prayer before I raided the midnight snacking shelf.  But for me it seemed like a big hurdle.  And so, I decided that this week I would start small.  I would pause for a quick prayer.  "Lord, is there something else I need from you instead?"  Before eating. Before watching.  Before saying yes. 

Get Focused

My favorite set of coaching questions goes like this....

  1. What do you want? 

  2. When you get what you want, what will you have? 

  3. What difference will it make? 

To press pause, we need to get focused.  I conveniently "forgot" to pause because I wasn't focused.  While the pleasure of having cheese lasted a moment, the consequences in my sinuses and to my overall health were drastic. 

What do you and I really want?  You see if what I really want is good health, then I'm willing to press pause even when it's painful.  Even when I don't want to.  Even when it's more fun to mindlessly raid the cheese drawer. 

Sometimes we are called to do hard things to get what we want.  Even better, we are called to do hard things to get what God wants of us.  God may be calling us to press pause when we'd rather press ahead.  

Find Rest

One of my ministry mentors early in my college years was a man I only knew for a short summer missions trip in Okinawa, Japan.  He had this saying that I've carried on and share with my people quite frequently.  Our ministry is an overflow of our walk with God. 

In recent years, I've morphed that a little into a spiel on soul care.  We can't give away what we don't have to give.  And while it seems foreign to us, we need to pay attention to what nourishes our heart and take time to do that. 

Sometimes, we need to press pause on our to-do lists, so we can enjoy what God has already given.  Take advantage of the Sabbath.  Enjoy your people.  Enjoy spring.  Enjoy you.  

Finding a rhythm of rest will help you refresh so you're ready to focus and press pause when you'd rather not.  Finding rest boosts your creativity and helps you find strength to so hard things and say no to cheese!  Just saying...

In the end, the idea of pressing pause is about trust.  Do we trust God with our paused moments?  Do we trust that pressing pause and possibly not mindlessly eating will be good for us?  Do we trust God that He is in control when we say no and rest?  Do we trust Him to sustain what He's started in us when pressing pause means not meeting our own self-imposed deadlines for life?

I don't know about you, but I hope I figure out how to live a life marked with trusting God when He's asking me to press pause when I'd rather press ahead.  I have a funny feeling that God is waiting for me in the middle of my pause anyway. 

I'd love to pray for you as you seek to press pause on whatever is calling you to press ahead.  Feel free to share it here in the comments or message me on my contact page.