Have you hit pause lately?
I’m not an early adopter when it comes to technology (I suppose I’ve been burned by too many tech projects gone awry), so it wasn’t too long ago when I first used the pause button to pause a live show. Yeah, I’m also a bit frugal so I didn’t pay for a DVR for a long time. Anyway, that pause button comes in handy in TV-watching…and for life in general.
Whenever I’m not sure what to read during my devotional time, I head to Proverbs and read the chapter for that date. I read chapter 10 recently and as I’m sure you’ve experienced when reading a familiar passage too, something stuck out to me that hadn’t before.
Several verses within this chapter mention qualities we aspire towards:
- Diligence – vs. 4
- Security – vs. 9
- Wisdom – vs. 13
- Staying on the right path – vs. 17
- Words that are meaningful – vs. 20 & 31
All of these qualities require something from us to develop.
Obedience to God?
Making choices that may be inconvenient but are the right ones to make?
Being willing to receive instruction and correction?
Yes, but there’s something else these qualities require…time and patience to allow them to develop.
Our culture values fast food, fast Internet speeds, instant replies to text messages, and instant gratification. Quick results with minimal effort are the ultimate aim.
If we’re not careful, it’s easy for this attitude to invade our own mindsets and within our churches.
We’ll add more programs, events, and even church campuses at a breakneck speed in the name of growing the church while burning ourselves out and neglecting our families.
I’m all for growing healthy churches. I’m also all for not working crazy hours and rarely seeing your family unless they’re at church with you.
If you find yourself stressed, anxious, irritable, or upset, perhaps it’s time to pause. Ideally, it’s best to pause before those symptoms arise but hey…better late than never.
What do I mean by pausing? Two things…
#1 – Do something that replenishes your energy
- Take a walk with your spouse
- Go golfing
- Play a game with your kids
- Read a non work-related book
- Listen to music
- Watch tv
- Take a nap
#2 – Find a quiet place (hey, use headphones if needed). Take your Bible, pen, and paper with you.
- What’s bugging me? What’s on my mind that keeps nagging at me?
- How is my relationship with my spouse? With our kids?
- Am I fully obeying God or is there something I’ve been running from?
- What long-term goals am I not making steady progress towards achieving? Why am I not making progress?
Write down what comes to mind.
- What do I need to stop doing?
- What do I need to start doing?
- Who do I need to apologize to?
- Who do I need to forgive?
Keep taking notes as God reveals things to you and as you use the wisdom He’s provided to help you determine the best next steps. You may need 15 minutes or two hours for this activity. Whatever the time, it’s worth the investment.
Ministry efforts that will last well beyond our lifetimes requires more than frenzied activity. Busyness isn’t next to Godliness. While it may be countercultural and frowned upon by some as idleness, taking time to pause…to rest, to replenish, to seek God, and to think…is vital to developing and maturing the qualities outlined in Scripture.
When will you pause this week?