The word “pause” is defined as “a temporary stop; a period of time in which something is stopped before it is started again.” In our busy world, where success and worth are defined by what you do and produce, a pause is not exactly something we do well.
I am deeply grateful for a pause as I transition from Wesley UMC in Georgia to Chapelwood UMC in Houston, Texas. But I do find moments each day when this pause causes me to feel like I’m not doing anything productive. This is a struggle for all of us in our culture – many of us don’t do pauses well, which is why we don’t do Sabbath well. Barbara Brown Taylor says that we only follow 8 of the 10 commandments today. We gave up on graven images long ago. And we don’t remember and observe Sabbath.
We don’t like pauses. We just like the idea of pauses.
I think the greatest lesson we can learn this side of heaven is to pause and trust God that our worth and identity are not tied to what we do. This is hard. It is hard for me this summer. But it is something we should all experience regularly. The day will come for all of us when we will no longer be defined by what we do, who we are with, and what we produce. Some of us enter that season kicking and screaming. Others of us long for that day…until it arrives and we discover we don’t know how to live into an identity not defined by work or position. Unfortunately, we never paused enough to realize who we are.
I continue to learn every day that I am defined by God alone. Who I am and what I am worth are not rooted in a title, a job, a relationship, or what I produce. It is humbling to see that the world will continue to spin on its axis and God will still reign over all…even when I pause. Trust grows when we pause. Our vision clarifies when we pause…we see that God reigns over all (we forget that sometimes). Our lives are changed when we pause…we become people of self-surrender rather than people of self-sufficiency.
When is the last time you paused?