The pause button is a well-known item in our society. It has moved quietly throughout time and remained consistent despite the changes surrounding it from decade to decade. The purpose of the pause button is to bring the song, movie, TV show, etc. to a place of rest, with the intent of starting again. Pause can be pressed for many reasons. It may be a phone call, a short trip to the restroom or kitchen for a snack. Longer pauses may also be needed at times. Late night movies may have to be paused so the watcher can sleep and finish said movie the next day. An unexpected visitor or even an emergency can take longer to address and our listening and/or viewing can be delayed for an extended period of time.
In the life of the believer, we also have a pause button. Just like the physical pause button, the spiritual pause button can be pressed for many reasons. The reason is different for every person. Whether it is to speak to a specific situation, provide a caution or rest (insert your own area of concern), one thing should be the same, we should embrace it!
I would now like to offer five approaches to help you embrace and navigate through the pauses of life when – not if they come.
Pray without ceasing – Prayer is the way we communicate with God. When we are in a paused place, it only makes sense to talk to the One with the power to press play! Now is not the time to stop talking, if anything, we should pray more than we ever have before. (I. Thess. 5:16-18 NLT)
Accept where you are and be content – You may not like the state you are in, the problems that you are facing or feelings you have, but if we can accept our weaknesses while in the pause, and we become stronger through Christ. (2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV)
Understand God is pruning not punishing you – A pause is not a punishment, nor is it a stopping place. There is a difference between stop and pause. The expectation when pressing pause is that play will also be pressed again.
At some point (God’s appointed time not ours), we will go forward. Until a believer comes to terms with where they are, only then will their perspective change. With a new perspective, the believer sees everything they go through as an opportunity to grow and mature in Christ. (Romans 5:3-4 NKJV)
Stay in the pause – The children of Israel recognized the importance of moving with God. They only moved as the presence of God led them. In a paused season, it is crucial to stay where God has us and not jump ahead of Him. Even though we may not understand or it may be taking longer than we’d like, remaining in God’s will is safer than going alone. (Numbers 9:22-23a NIV).
Exalt God – Praise Him anyhow! This piece of advice is fitting for a person in a pause. God deserves our praise and adoration despite anything else going on in our lives. We are to continually praise and Christ is the key! It is only by His strength can we praise when we don’t feel like it. Our lips should profess His name and not complain about our situation. If we can learn to praise while in a pause, we WILL get through the pause. (Hebrews 13:15 NIV).
Whatever the reason you have found yourself on pause, embrace it, accept it and use it as an opportunity to catch your breath!