Pause to Reflect: A Mini-Series on Release & Restore … YouNovember 11, 2020
GratefulDecember 3, 2020
These teachings are now available in 30 minute videos at our YouTube channel at 721ministries.org.
Years ago, I read an interview with Jack Nicklaus, in which he was asked about the key to his enormous success. His response knocked me out of my seat. I will paraphrase it here:
I realized early on that tournaments are won and lost on the putting green. So I trained myself to pause before stepping onto the green, gather myself, and get hyper-focused.
We spend all day on the fairway of life. The fairway is important, but the most important time is when we arrive home to our family. We are stepping up onto the putting green, where the tournament of life is won or lost.
So I began to train myself to pull the car over before getting home, gather myself, and get hyper-focused for my family. No more of this, “I need some me time.” No more of this, “I am exhausted from a hard day, so I am irritable and impatient.”
That is unacceptable. And you are losing the game of life, whether you know it or not. But I can guarantee you, your spouse and children know it.
You need a transition from your fairway-day to putting green time with your family.
In his excellent book, Get Your Life Back, John Eldredge talks about pausing throughout the day, and transitioning from one task to the next. If you are like me, you motor from one to the next to the next, all the while answering voicemails, texts, emails, and checking your newsfeeds.
But I am learning to transition. Here are two recent examples, one a win and one a whiff, of how I am trying to pause and transition.
Recently I visited my dear friend Hank, who has ALS. We had a marvelous time together. His wit is always delightful, and his self-effacing approach to his condition always surprises me.
Afterward, I got in my car, with sports talk radio already on, and proceeded to head to my next appointment. But a voice reminded me, “Stop, Sam, you knucklehead, and absorb what just happened. Slow down, and reflect for a moment.”
And I did. I paused to transition before the next meeting and phone calls and emails and texts. I reflected on this man who is in the grips of ALS, and yet smiled our entire conversation. He had me laughing in stitches several times. What grace. What strength. What perseverance under fire.
As I paused for this transition, my perspective started to shift, and the importance of my problems diminished. I slowed down. My gratitude for the gift of my friendship with Hank swelled and my hurried heart slowed down and softened. How could I just jet off to the next to-do list item, without a transition from that most sacred time?
Last night my daughter, Britton, taught a lesson on Grace to one hundred plus ladies via Zoom. It was an excellent presentation, and far beyond anything I could have done at her age. While she was teaching, I marveled at the sight of my little girl, so deep in her relationship with Jesus, and so deep in her understanding of grace.
But it was Monday night, and I had a stack of bills to pay. So immediately afterward I jumped on that stack of bills and starting writing checks. It needed to get done!
No transition. No reflection on the joy of watching one’s little girl, as a grown-up woman leading other women. I missed it. I whiffed on the transition. But I am learning, and at least the Holy Spirit got my attention this morning.
Pauses help me to slow down for a few moments, which provide a much-needed transition, and in doing so, to allow my heart and my soul to fill up with the depth of the experience. Not just blow right through it.
May you, my friend, find a way to learn to pause throughout your day, refill your soul’s tank, and transition from one task to the next, not frenetically, but thoughtfully and gracefully.