Are you feeling overwhelmed, confused, or maybe even bored? Are you looking for answers and finding none? Sometimes you need press pause.
Thanks for joining us on this Mindful Monday. Here AT THE CROSSROADS we use this day to start our week with mindfulness, purpose, and intention.
If you joined us for our most recent series on SEASONAL LIFE CHANGES (please check out those posts if you missed them), you may have spent a lot of time assessing, acknowledging, and accepting the different seasons of your life. Sometimes it was hard work and required a lot of you.
I find that after that times of self-analysis and reflection, I need to take a break. Do you know what I mean? I can get so caught up in my own head and thoughts, I sabotage my own progress. If that is happening to you, it may be a sign that you need to press pause.
Give yourself some breathing space.
Take a timeout.
Press the pause button.
I think it is important to note that when you press pause while watching a television show or movie, listening to music, or talking on the phone, it is usually to attend to someone or something else. Does that make sense? For example, if I press pause while watching a movie, it is usually because my husband or my kids need to ask/tell me something and I need to give my full attention to what they are saying. Or, if I press pause because I’m listening to music, it might be because I need to hear something that I cannot while the music is playing. Likewise, when I put someone on hold while talking on phone, I either need to write down what they are saying or stop and think about how I need to respond.
My point is this: pressing pause does not mean you check out on your life. Rather, when you press pause in one area of your life, it is so you can fully attend to another area.
When you take a vacation (like many of you do in the summer) you are pressing pause on the daily routines of home and work life to relax, play, explore, and spend quality time with friends and family. You plan and prepare to press pause so that you can pursue other things.
However pressing pause does not always mean taking a literal break like a vacation (although that is always a wonderful option!); it often means just putting aside some things to focus on other things. Since “things” is such a nondescript word, let me give you some examples:
Maybe you press pause on watching Netflix so that you can read more.
Maybe you press pause on working out at the gym so that you can go outside and hike and bike.
Maybe you press pause on some friendships because your children are home and you want to spend more time with them.
Maybe you press pause on an extra project a work so that you can have more time to strengthen and develop other skills.
Maybe you press pause on going to your familiar places and hangouts because you want to experience something new.
But in a society that champions multi-taskers who can do it all without ever resting or taking a break, pressing pause may be viewed as weak, lazy, or unnecessary. People may wonder if something is wrong or misunderstand your motives. It’s okay. Give yourself permission to press pause.
I already hear some of you pushing back. You are wondering how pressing pause can ever practically work in your life. You have so much to do, so many people counting on you, and so many responsibilities to fulfill…you love the idea of taking a break, but don’t think it can really happen.
I am right with you on this Mindful Monday, asking myself the very same questions and anxious about pressing pause in my own life.
Remember, pausing does not mean giving up, walking away, or avoiding responsibility.
According to the Free Dictionary, pressing pause means:
- To cease or suspend an action temporarily
- To linger; tarry
A break, stop, or rest, often for a calculated purpose or effect
A few things are important to note here:
- A pause is temporary. You will press “play” again.
- A pause is for a certain reason. You need to think before you press pause.
- A pause is for the purpose of lingering. You need to make time for pausing.
To practice what I preach, I am going to press pause here AT THE CROSSROADS for the next 2-3 weeks. I have been thinking about and preparing for this for months, so I would like to share with you my process.
PRAY FOR PERSPECTIVE
Do not rush into pressing the pause button. I have done that before with mixed results. Yes, sometimes life spins out of control or the noise level reaches such deafening decibels that pressing pause seems like the only option for peace, but pressing pause in a panic is unproductive. The relief is short-lived, and once you press play, you are right back where you were. Instead, take the time to pray and ask God about where and how you need to take a break. Spend some quality time reading your Bible, journaling, and seeking God’s guidance. When you press pause with a purpose, it allows you to see life from a new perspective and return with renewed passion. You are not esaping or hiding, but rather stepping away to get clarity and a new attitude.
PREPARE FOR PERSONAL GROWTH
Sometimes you just want to go to a quiet place, shut the door, and close your eyes, right? Many times that is what pressing pause looked like in my life. I wanted to shut out the world. And if you are physically drained, that is exactly what pressing pause may be for you. However, pressing pause can be a time for personal growth if you plan and prepare for it. For example, I am pressing pause here at my blog to do some further training. I am attending a conference in hopes of learning how to be a more effective writer, speaker, and teacher. Maybe you need to press pause in a similar way. Are you a young mom who needs to get away for a weekend retreat to refresh your soul and remind yourself how much you really love your kids? Are you a student who needs a job totally unrelated to school so that you learn a new skill or figure out your future? Are you stuck in a cycle of poor habits where you need to take a break to reset and relearn how to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually? If you plan for pauses, they can be amazing times of personal growth.
PURSUE PASSION AND PURPOSE
Pressing pause is a time for resting, relaxing, and even playing, but it also should be purposeful. If you press pause on something or someone and just sit there idly without paying attention, all you have done is lost valuable time. Press pause to pursue a passion, attend to some other area in your life, or try something completely new and different. Think about the times you have said, “I wish I had time for…” “I have always wanted to…” or, “When I reach this season in life, I will…” Do not put it off any longer! Prayerfully press the pause button and do what God has called you to do. I have made tons of excuses over the years for not pursuing my dreams and goals and I regret it. When you have a job, a home, a family, or other responsibilities you can mistakenly believe that pressing pause is impossible, selfish, or useless. If you press pause to pursue your passion and purpose, you and those around you will be better (not worse) for the time you took to take a break.
Who is with me on this Mindful Monday? Maybe you need to take this week to pray, prepare, and plan for your pause, but I challenge you to do it. If I can, you can!
My goal is to return wiser and stronger with fresh ideas and a new perspective. I hope you will meet me back here AT THE CROSSROADS and share what you learned while pressing pause. In the meantime, feel free stick around here and read some posts you may have missed over the past year. Also, if you need to reach me for any reason, I will be checking my email, so do not hesitate to contact me!
Looking forward to seeing you on the other side of pausing…