Pause — and then go or stop.
Pause. It is not a period. It is usually a comma. But, it allows most of us a moment to think. For me, it is often a time in which I am convicted that God does not want me to say this or do that. It is also a time in which I am convicted that God wants me to proceed.
So, I want to learn to pause and then go. Or, I may pause and then realize I need to stop.
1. "I’m angry! I will give him a piece of my mind. Just wait till he reads this e-mail!" PAUSE. (Stop. "Maybe I shouldn’t send this.")
2. "The woman in the next office lost her mother. No, I’m not going to send a sympathy card. She probably doesn’t even know who I am." PAUSE. (Go. What a sensitive, difficult time for her. I will send the card.)
3. "Oh look at these shirts! And those jackets! Wow. I want one of each." PAUSE. (Stop. "I have already charged too much on my Visa card anyway. What am I thinking? I need to pay this bill first.")
4. This morning one of your good friends was very teary eyed when he came to work. You thought about saying something but you didn’t. Now, you are thinking about checking up on your friend. PAUSE. (Go. Yes, it might be awkward but your friend might just need an opening. "Hey, you didn’t quite seem like yourself this morning. Just wanted to check in with you for a moment.")
I have learned to appreciate the pause. Before I jump into something or before I commit to something, I want to pause — a time to think and pray. That pause may be seconds or minutes or days. Depends on the situation.
I have also learned to appreciate the pause in dealing with my emotions. I need to pause for a moment before I respond to my wife or my children when I am upset. Far too often I have snapped back at them when I was angry, frustrated, or tired. God has a way of using those moments to temper my response.
Finally, I have learned to value the pause when I have the opportunity to do good. Every day, there are opportunities to say something encouraging to someone or to do some good in a practical way. How many later think back to a situation and say,
- "I thought about sending her a card."
- "I thought about helping with that situation."
- "I thought about checking on you."
A pause is a time to think and pray about a situation (again, this may be a few seconds, minutes, or days). It depends on the situation. Something is wrong, however, when I regularly have these opportunities to do good and then rarely, if ever, follow through with a "go." (And yes, I realize there are situations in which a person can be faced with a number of good opportunities to do good and be genuinely perplexed about what to do, etc. Yet, I do think we often develop habits. Today, I am simply talking about the value of a habit like a pause.)