Do you take time to rest? When you go on vacation do you plan extended times to rest or do you plan every moment so that when you get back you need to rest up from your vacation? If one were to look at your calendar are there spaces for rest, reflection, and rejuvenation or does it look more like a coloring book with every space colored in.
We don’t pause often enough in our schedules, and our schedules get busier.
I’m a big fan of the Olympics and am in awe of the dedication of these athletes to their sport. In the 1920’s and 30’s an Olympic athlete that was considered obsessive might train 3 days per week. Today our middle school and high school athletes train more than that. By the 80’s many trainers thought a 7 day training regimen was required. For some this worked, but for most it actually made them more prone to injury.
The current trend is to train hard and have at least one rest day each week. Hmmmm....that sounds sort of familiar. Ex 20:8-10
Exodus 20:8–10 (ESV)
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.”
I’m told that when we’re working out we’re actually tearing our muscles apart. This is one reason why our muscles swell after a workout and we might look more muscular than when we’re at rest. At the microscopic level we’re actually tearing muscle fibers and as they heal they reinforce and build our muscles.
This is why you will hear of people doing regular workout talking about leg day, or upper body day etc. They are working parts of the body and allowing the other parts of their body to rest and rebuild, and that’s what pausing does. It gives us time to:
So we’re going to use the word pause as an acronym to think about what it means to rest.
P - A - U - S - E
P is for
In the Gospel of Matthew we read:
Matthew 3:1–3 (ESV)
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’ ”
Prepare the way of the Lord., In a real way that is what we’re doing when we pray. As an Eagle Scout I know the importance of “Being Prepared”.
The truth is when you prepare you get ready for what lies ahead - the good, the bad and the ugly. Years ago I read a quote that I like; it said, “If you don’t have time to do it right when will you find the time to do it over.” That did not say, “if you don’t have time to do it perfect...” The truth is most procrastinators have a bit of perfectionism in them.
We’ve got to take time to PREPARE. The average adult makes 35,000 decisions every day. That’s 245,000 decisions each week, and almost 13 million decisions each year.
PAUSE take the time to pray.
PRAYER IS KEY TO PREPARATION. Thank God for direction you’ve already seen in your life. Look forward at what lies ahead of you:
- People with whom you will meet
- Conversations you need to have
- Challenges you will face.
- All those decisions you need to make!
When we prepare, we get ready, we set ourselves up for success.
The second letter of our acronym P.A.U.S.E. is A, and A is for
When we stop it allows us to check our attitude. Are you waking up saying, “Good Morning, God!” or “Good God, it’s morning?”
Our attitude means a lot.
A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
The apostle Paul wrote:
Philippians 4:4 ESV
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
By stopping we get a chance to check our attitude. If you’re finding yourself muttering under your breath on a regular basis, you may need to check your attitude. What is it that is upsetting you? Is your heart in the right place?
Are you hopeful and positive? Or are you down and negative?
James 5:13 ESV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
Your attitude will impact much of what you do, and those around you.
The next letter is U and stands for
As we take a pause, it allows us to gain perspective. Perspective allows us to step back and take a look at the bigger picture, to examine situations, tasks, conversations, individuals from different perspectives outside the heat of the moment.
Even Paul had to remind Timothy
2 Timothy 2:7 ESV
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Earlier I said that prayer is key to preparation, in Philippians 4, Paul wrote, Phil 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
and he concludes that thought with Phil 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And so we move to the S - in our acronym
For years people have told me they don’t have time to read Scripture. The truth is that even church going Christians don’t read Scripture on average more than once per week, and my guess is they are counting the Scriptures read in worship.
Folks, this book will absolutely change your life, not because of the simple words on a page, but because it contains the very words of God.
In Proverbs we read Prov 20:15
There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
2Timothy 3:16-17 give us these powerful words:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
God’s Word to us is profitable.
It teaches us - who God is. Who we are. What God calls us to do. How God empowers us to do these things.
God’s word is for reproof and correction - It casts light on those areas of our life that are not pleasing to God. God’s Word is essentially the instruction book of how we were created for and what we were created for.
Training in righteousness - God’s Word trains us to function at our greatest capacity, training us to live the lives we were created for.
Finally, in our acronym we come to the letter E, and we realize when we Pause we can
When we take time to pause, to rest from our labor, we regain perspective as we Prepare, check our Attitude, seek better Understanding, dig into the Scriptures, and that launches us in a very real way into what lies ahead.
Philippians 3:12 NIV
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
When we take the time to PAUSE each week, it not only gives us time to reflect on the past week, but it gives us time to let go of last week and launch ourselves into the next week.
I’m a skier and have skied for most of my life. One of my favorite things about skiing is high speed carved turns. What I mean by carved is that you are letting your edges actually carve in the snow. If you hold on to the last turn you won’t be able to carve the next turn you will have to slip into it, scrubbing your speed.
So there is a point at the end of your turn where you literally launch yourself ahead of your skis, rolling your skis onto the outer edges of your previous turn which now become the inside of your turn. The feeling of weightlessness at that moment is my favorite thing about doing those turns. Its exhilarating, its exciting, and its fun.
Think about the times in your life when you felt most alive. If your honest I’m willing to bet that it’s a time when you were stepping out in faith. It was a time when you took some risk. It’s a time when you threw yourself over your edges and trusted.
But it all comes from times of PAUSE.
As we have an opportunity today, and even tomorrow. I hope that you will take the time to PAUSE so that you can ENERGIZE as we continue to move forward toward that upward call of Christ.
In His Grip,