It was Wednesday. There was a season in my life that I loved Wednesdays. I loved the day so much because it was a “pause day” for me. And by that I mean that it was really the only day of my 5-day work week that allowed me to breathe a little bit. I’d go really hard Monday and Tuesday, pause Wednesday, and finish the week strong on Thursday and Friday. Something about the middle of the week, a few hours of scheduled white space on the calendar, and being able to rest made me fall in love with the day week after week. You see, every other day, I’d get up in the morning before the sun, make it to work, come home mid-afternoon and begin teaching piano lessons until dark. Monday. Tuesday. Thursday. I did this. At first it was fun and there were lots of great benefits. I taught kids I love and it gave me a great opportunity to see their parents (whom I still love and consider my friends….). But Wednesday. Something about having the freedom to come home from work and rest or just sit quietly was so good for my soul. I remember sitting on the couch in silence for the hour or so I had before I could recognize the semi-gentle roar of the weed eater or the hum of the lawn mower and my neighbor cutting the grass just outside the window. I knew that it had to be about 4:30 in the afternoon and it was time to get moving. I remember waking up on Monday and Tuesday mornings with this thought in mind, “I just have to make it to Wednesday.” I’d replay it over and over while I’d get ready for the day in those pre-dawn morning hours…it was like my fight song, my “get through the day” phrase. In addition to the moments of stillness and quiet Wednesday delivered, it also meant that our youth group was meeting for mid-week services. Now, if that isn’t good for your soul, then I don’t know what is! A little afternoon quiet, an open schedule, and Jesus. Beautiful things. And I loved everything about Wednesdays.
When my piano lesson season came to an end, the other days of my week started looking and feeling a lot like Wednesdays. I found time to cook dinner, have friends over, and overall my life seemed to take some deeper, more meaningful breaths. I didn’t realize how much I needed that. And then before I knew it the weeks started to fill up again….with good, fun things that I loved. However, I noticed the slow drift toward crazy happening again. When my schedule gets a little (or a lot) over-booked, my soul begins to get overwhelmed and I can’t really find the words to describe what happens to me other than crazy. I can feel the heaviness of it. I know when this happens I need to slow down and find a more comfortable pace.
I’ve never been a runner. But, I do know that I wasn’t built to sprint- physically speaking. My legs burn, my chest burns, my feet can’t keep up, and I lose steam too quickly. If anything, a slow jog is about the extent of my running capability. Even that [at times] is a sight to behold. When I’m sprinting, I miss everything around me. Not necessarily by choice but by default. I’m focused on getting ‘there’ (wherever that is). I usually pick a road sign or a mailbox to run to and do everything in my power to make it to that self-created finish line. Even if it means having to stop when I get there. I can’t really enjoy the journey because I need to reach the end so that I can breathe! No kidding! Breathing and letting my legs and my lungs rest becomes the goal….not so much the finish line itself. My recovery time is longer and honestly, I realize in these moments exactly why it is that I hate running. But when I jog at a more manageable pace, a smarter pace, I take in the sights and sounds around me. I pay attention to the path a little more. I don’t burn out so quickly. And the time it takes to rest and recover is much less. The same is so true about my life. I desperately want to do all the things. I want to be a part of everything I can because it looks like living and in the moment it might even feel a little like living. But overwhelming my schedule inevitably overwhelms my soul and I will, I WILL lose steam. That’s why I’m learning that living life is much fuller and more enjoyable at a bit of a slower pace. Just like jogging, I can take in the sights and sounds of the journey and pay attention to my path.
On Monday night I discovered the beauty of a pause. It did not happen on a planned day set aside for the moment. It was unexpected, yet much needed. I’ve been very busy teaching school, and doing ministry, and living life with my people that my time with the Lord was slipping further and further behind. I talk to him throughout the day everyday, but I’m always in route to the next activity. Our talks are short and sweet and have mostly been one-sided…Kindall has done much of the talking lately. Very rarely have I paused to be still and quiet and catch up with my creator. I felt bad that I hadn’t devoted the time I knew I should have to Him- especially considering that I was leading our girls’ bible study talk about relationships and I had neglected the most important one for much of the week. I knew that once 6:00pm arrived, there would be no time left to prepare and all quiet would be gone for the next three hours. As that time drew nearer and nearer, I could feel my nervousness grow inside of me- and I knew why. So, I whispered a silent prayer to the Lord and simply said this, “I’m so sorry. I need you again. Give me the right words to say to these girls. It’s all you tonight, God.” And then the doorbell rang.
I don’t often share too many details about our girl time on Monday nights. I protect it because it’s sacred and special to me. It is truly an answered prayer. However, you should know this: Bible study begins at 7pm. Girls begin arriving at 6pm or so to mingle and sip sweet tea and catch up on the week. By 7:20pm, my living room and kitchen is usually overflowing with girls. And it is loud. Very loud. Monday night, the fun spilled out onto the front yard and into the backyard as small pods of girls laughed and shared stories and ate dinner together. I soaked in those moments as I do every single Monday night. By 9:20pm everyone had gone home and I sat on the couch in awe of what had just taken place. I’m not sure why the whole night impacted me so much…I am a crier (I do know this!), but I don’t usually cry over bible study (usually). It was as if God pulled me in close and whispered, “See, I held you!” He carried me through bible study Monday night. He allowed me to be a character in his story and I suddenly felt overcome with a sense of gratitude and humbleness that he would use me. He would use the one who tends to over-do it on every occasion and forgets to pause when it’s time. And when I realized how God had come through for me in so many ways Monday night, I couldn’t help but pause. For a few moments in the silence of the house where just an hour ago 32 young women sat listening and taking in those truths, I now sat alone with God and was completely blown away by his goodness. He breathed more life into my weary, worn-out soul than I could have ever found on my own. And I knew then why physically, mentally, and emotionally pausing to spend these moments with God needed to be a part of my life daily.
I’m not sure about you. Maybe you’re like me in the fact that life doesn’t always lend itself nicely to pausing. Or, maybe finding time to pause comes easily for you. Wherever you find yourself, try taking a few moments at some point in your day to slow down and get eye to eye with the Lord. I think you’ll find that there’s life and peace and rest in our pause.