For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a busy girl. A doer.
In the race between the tortoise and the hare, I’m definitely the hare. To run at any other pace than full-speed-ahead was tough, even stressful. Relaxing and doing nothing felt like I was doing something wrong.
Rarely was I cuddled up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn just enjoying the entertainment. No, I was also busy doing something…like my nails or folding laundry.
Fast-forward to the age of technology and it gets worse.
Not only can we multitask through our activities, we can also connect with multiple people at the same time.
We can text, email, and connect on social media while we’re watching TV. Or in a meeting. Or eating. Or yes, even while we’re visiting with friends.
Multitasking and the ability to make instant connections has become the new normal. It’s a skill-set we list on our resume; a means to do more and connect more. Or at least that’s what we think…
It’s too easy to do multiple things at once so our brains have become accustomed to distracted connectedness. It has given us a false sense of connecting with others, connecting to our work, and even our relationships. And dare I say it can creep into our most sacred place, our relationship with God.
Psalm 42:2 declares “Our soul thirsts for God”, but this world’s pace of doing more can entice us to drink in other things.
So this past year, I sent “distracted connectedness” on hiatus and took a long vacation with “pause”.
I wish I could tell you it was effortless. It was not. It went against my nature and against society’s pace.
Society doesn’t reward pausing; it rewards doing.
And though it was difficult, it was worth the effort.
Let me share some lessons I learned from pausing.
Pausing helped me live in the moment. A lot of life happens in the small things; the sweet encounters with people and nature. But, small blessings go unnoticed in busyness.
I found precious new time to be more present with others in the small moments of life. Pausing kept me from rushing into tomorrow and missing out on today.
Pausing helped align my pace with God’s. God’s pace is slow compared to the fast-paced world of today. He is not bound by time as we are. “Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”. 2 Peter 3:8
He operates on eternity’s pace. Pausing provided opportunities to connect with Him more throughout the day. To let my mind and body slow to His rhythm. To notice His presence and His will for me that day.
Pausing improved my relationships. It helped keep my thoughts and words in check. To think before I spoke which in turn made me a better listener. It helped me give others the full attention they deserved. I focused more on what they were saying and less on what I was thinking or doing.
Pausing helped me prioritize. You can’t prioritize your actions when you’re pace is full-speed ahead. Pausing helped me decipher what was important and what was less significant. What was urgent and what could wait. And while my To-Do list didn’t get any smaller, some things on it got less important. I wasn’t rushing ahead to the next thing on my list so even my work became more focused.
Pausing is truly an art, but I found being disciplined in just a few things forced me to pause throughout the day. Eventually, my mind caught on to a slower rhythm.
These new habits helped me carry that calm, slow pace for longer periods of time. They kept me operating at God’s pace instead of trying to keep up with the world’s pace.
Here is a FREEBIE download of the four simple steps I put into practice that helped me learn to pause:
Have I mastered this art of pausing? No!
But it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.
Make no mistake about it, our days are numbered. Let’s forsake living like we are certain we will be gifted with tomorrow and instead pause to God’s pace.
Well if you haven’t guessed by now, PAUSE was my One Word last year. PAUSE evolved from the learnings I gained when PATIENCE was my One Word. I found I was most impatient when I was going too fast.
So how does one get their “one word”? Full details in my free download, on finding and using a One Word theme. It includes resources and some potential word ideas you may want to consider.
How do you intentionally pause and what benefits have you realized? Have you ever done One Word? What was your word and what did you learn?
A Truth: “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” Job 14:15 NIV
A Song: Sadly I could not find the perfect song about slowing down – please share any you know in the comments!
A Read: Too Busy Not to Pray, By Bill Hybels
A Prayer: Father, I’m so thankful you don’t change. As the world keeps getting faster and faster, you stay the same. Your calm still voice and your slow pace invite me to keep in step with your rhythm. Lord, help us to slow down – to hit the pause button on life. To join into your rhythm where there is peace and direction. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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