The Power of Pause: Painful Pausing

the power of pause painful

The act of pausing is, indeed, powerful. Often, a relieving kind of powerful, and other times not. Stopping, even for a moment sometimes, can be painful.

A few weeks ago, these “Freedom in Christ” sessions started at our church on Tuesday nights. My husband and I thought it sounded good, but he had a lot of assignments coming up so I just decided to do it and report back.

Based on the verse in Galatians and books by Neil T. Anderson, the course is meant to help Christians claim their “freedom in Christ”. This is done by focusing on scripture instead of on distractions, finding God’s promises, and believing them – letting go of hurts and lies. Basically, it gives you time and space to pause and pray and just deal. By the end, you have a toolkit of principles and scriptures to help you live in freedom.

But, the course made me stop and think about some stuff that I didn’t really want to stop and think about. And that was not a nice feeling.

Pausing can be painful. Because if we let our bodies stop, our minds might wander. And they might wander to our past. They might wander to our present. They might even go on a longer trip all the way to our future. They might take hold of worries and hurts we didn’t want to admit we had.

So… Is it worth it to stop and let yourself feel something painful?

I don’t know. I am neither a doctor nor a therapist.

painful pause

I do know that pushing on a bruise doesn’t make it go away. Push too hard and it’ll even make the bruise bigger. Time is the only remedy.

But there’s something magical about Christianity. Christ was a healer.

So, I believe that if we pause and listen to what God says about us – if we claim his promises and take him at His Word – we can be content. We can be free. We don’t have to be in pain.

But for this to happen, we have to stop and take time to follow him, push through the crowd and the junk of our lives to touch the hem of his robe. He will just turn around, love us, heal us, and always be with us.

Check out “Freedom in Christ Ministries” and print out some of their free downloads. I love the “Significance, Security, & Acceptance Restored In Christ” list that they encourage you to read out loud every day for a week or a month. Most importantly, take time to pause with Jesus – no matter how painful it might be at first – because Jesus can take that pain if you claim the freedom He gives you.

Much love and blessings,

Ashley Ruth

The Power of Pause: Distractions

the power of pause distractions

I don’t have a “real job”. In all honesty, I don’t really have any job. This blog is a blessing for me – one which receives no payment and needs no payment. So my days are filled with rest, relaxation, and oftentimes, coffee. One would think that being able to pause would be easy for someone like me. But, one would also forget this thing we call “distraction”.

Most of us probably get distracted in our day-to-day life. We are walking along to the train station or to work and there it is – the cutest little puppy dog you’ve ever seen! You stop and pet said cute little puppy dog and forget all the cares and worries in the world! Distraction. A very, very good and healthy distraction.

Puppy dogs are the best.

Might I suggest some distractions that are not sooooo good and healthy as cute little puppy dogs? They may not be bad all of the time, but they sure do pile up! These are some of a few distractors I deal with:

  • Cell phone, including but not limited to games, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, & looking through photos
  • Laptop, including but not limited to [all of the above plus] Netflix, Pinterest, YouTube, online shopping (Sevenly, TOMS, Ebay, Amazon, Trademe), photo editing, blogs, photo contests, my own websites
  • Other media and technology, like Spotify, radio stations, television, fancy billboards, notebooks, and more.
  • People can be distractors as well – Haven’t you ever procrastinated by calling a friend to do something you’d rather do instead of what you should be doing?
  • The Inner Voice, because sometimes the biggest distraction is that voice in my mind that’s 1) telling me I’m not good enough, 2) telling me all the things I should be doing, or 3) telling me all the things I should have done better.

I have seven tabs up on my internet right now. Two of them are pottery glaze shops, another one is Facebook, another is ViewBug, then this blog is open with a graphics website beside it, as well as Pinterest (because who doesn’t always have a Pinterest tab open?). And I’ve just clicked out of Netflix, which was open on another screen while I did some photos. I’m typing on a messenger from the laptop while I go back and forth between my computer and my phone because I am playing a game called “Township” and I have to harvest wheat and carrots and silk so I can make bread and hamburgers and fabric because my pretend people need to eat and shop. I’m sitting by my husband who needs me to look over his CV so he can put it in a portfolio that is due soon, and he is also doing several things at once. We are both suffering from over-stimulated brains.

Why have we made life so difficult and stressful for ourselves?

Here are three challenges for you. Challenges that I, too, desperately need to take on.

List the things, people, and technologies that distract you. Decide what you need to cut out for a while – a day, a week, forever. Pause and think about it. What can you cut out in order to make your life better?

 

Make a list of the things and the people that should be priority for you. Just pause and re-evaluate. How can you get rid of distractions so that you are not distracted from the people you love?

 

Begin to think about the distractions that come from your inner voice. Pause when a negative thought pops up, and think about what thought should replace it. This will go a long way in making life easier (and more satisfying) in the long run.

 

The Power of Pause: A Good Theme

a good theme

It’s the heart of summer in the States right now. My parents back home are busy with Vacation Bible School, youth camp, and all the other things that happen in churches during the summer. They have to sweat in 120 degree weather while I am cuddled up in my blankets with the space heater on full blast here. Weather, orbits, and the earth’s axis befuddle me daily. Sometimes I pause and have to think… wait. It’s not December – it’s July!!! The 4th of July comes around, and I feel like I need to wake up and open presents.

Another holiday that confuses me is Easter. Easter here in New Zealand is different than Texas for many reasons. For one, there are SOOOOO many chocolate bunnies and chocolate Easter eggs and chocolate dinosaurs and chocolate rugby balls. They don’t decorate the hard-boiled eggs like we do or use the plastic eggs to put goodies and quarters in.

Another confusing difference is that churches have youth camp on Easter weekend (four day weekend here for everyone) instead of summer. So they don’t sweat and boil and get heat stroke during youth camp like we do because it’s autumn at the time.

I signed up to go this past year and I was unbelievably excited about it. I mean, youth camp without Texas heat? Yes! I was so ready for that!

The theme was simple: “Pause”.

I thought this was a really good theme. I was all, like, yes. Yes, that is such a good topic for, not just teens, but for everyone. We get so busy, or if we’re not busy, we tend to create busy-ness to fill in the void.

I prepared myself. In February, I began to wean myself off coffee to give myself healthy adrenal function so that I could be my best self at camp. The last two summer youth camps I attended, I was sick in the dorms most of the time. And I hate disappointing people. I continued to stay away from sugar, and I took care of my body.

the power of pause theme insta

You know a person is really serious about something when they decide to say no to coffee for two month.

And I tried to pause. I wanted to prepare myself.

But, pausing was hard.

In the end, Mark brought home a stomach virus from the hospital and I got sick the night before we left. It was out of our hands. There were tears. The whole thing was made worse by the fact that I was off caffeine, too. Horrible, right?

Though I get sick sometimes and that makes me discouraged, I almost always neglect to just pause and spend time with Jesus. I learned some things in those two months of preparing my body, mind, and soul to go spend time with teenagers. I want to continue to journey into that mind-space of pausing.

Let’s spend a few days of just stopping. Take an intermission in the middle of the chaotic play of life. Learn to set aside our phones, our computers, and our spinning brains long enough to see God, to see each other, and to spend time with ourselves. This is good. We need to find the power in pausing.