I like to be busy. When working outside I will have about six projects going on at the same time. When I get bored with one, I switch to the next. Part of this is because it’s how I’m wired. I’m an “activator” type person, so I find pleasure in filling every moment of every day, from the time I get up to the time I go to bed. Although I don’t create lists just to check them off, I feel a deep sense of fulfillment when I accomplish a task.
The other day I was meeting with my spiritual mentor and he asked me how often I take time to pause. The question didn’t need clarification or explanation; we both knew exactly the point he was trying to make. My answer, “Good question.” The truth is that I don’t take time to pause and contemplate. It’s not that I think pausing isn’t a worthy investment of my time, it’s just that I can’t seem to fit it into my day. At least, that is what I subconsciously thought, until the day I paused.
The day after we met I changed my morning routine. I made the kids breakfast, got them on the bus, then went and worked out. I came home, showered and then, instead of going downstairs to work on the computer or firing up some new project, I paused. We have a rocking chair upstairs in our home near the window. Usually the chair faces into the room, so I turned it around so it faced out to the field across the street. Then I sat in it with a cup of coffee and contemplated. My mentor had told me to take five or ten minutes just to pause and contemplate, so I set the bar high and committed to sitting still for ten minutes. (The last time I did that I was in my deer stand.) Normally I would begin to fidget after five minutes, but this time was different. I felt that I needed to pause and contemplate what it means to be at peace. And dare I say it? I found it refreshing.
Since my initial pause, I have not turned my chair around. I have actually begun to practice pausing several times during the week. It has been refreshing to just “be.” Sometimes I read my Bible then pause. Other times I read a devotional then pause. I have found you can’t do both at the same time (I tried). The art of pausing for a few minutes just to contemplate the attributes of God and the realities of His presence has been amazing to practice. I have even been able to pause while my family is at home. I just slip upstairs, close the door, pause for five minutes, and then return. My kids just think I am in the bathroom. (By the way, pausing on the stool doesn’t count). Who would have thought that sitting still and quiet would have propelled my spiritual life to a new depth?
Here comes the challenge... Pause. That’s right, pause. Your pause might look very different than mine. You might want to pause before you head into the office for the day; just sit in the car in silence for five minutes. You can pause for five minutes before you go to bed, or pause immediately after you get up. You may want to pause after lunch, or right after you get home from work. When my friend suggested pausing to me, I did it because I said I would. Now that I have realized the benefits, I am pausing because I see the value in it. I think you will to. Ready, set, pause.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Psalm 23:1-3