Permission to Pause

The alarm jingles, the phone starts buzzing, the kids have needs, lunches need to be packed and the day spins to a start. Noise and demands and distractions press in.

I escape to the garden. The one place I can’t rush. The small yellow petals of the tomato flower have given way to a green, tiny tomato. Slowly it is growing and forming.

The contrast feels glaring some days.

The stillness of slow growth in the garden and the speed of technology around me are always at odds. It’s easy to be swept away with the world and feel the need to keep up, do enough, check off the things, stay up too late and start again too early.

In order to tend our soul by the Word, in the midst of the madness, we must grant ourselves permission to pause.

We see the example of Jesus in scripture, as He took the early morning hours to pause with the Father (Mark 1:35). In those moments He was tending His soul in a way that led to much fruit bearing in His day. How much more do we need that?

When the phone is chiming, the kids are fussing, the laundry is piling and the news is blaring, how do we grant permission to pause?

Taking a lesson from the garden and the life of my Savior, I have found three simple tips that help me to give myself permission to pause in the moment to tend my soul.

A momentary pause is like planting seeds in the soil, it is small, often unseen but can lead to much fruit.

  1. Permission to pause begins with an intentional choice. I have found that I often need an alarm set on my phone to even remind me to pause. I having been loving the Pause app, which alerts me twice a day that it is time to pause. Without the alert, I would just be swept through the day at the mercy of the urgent and then wonder why my soul is cracked and dry. So we must start with the intention. When will you pause?
  2. Keep the moment to pause small and simple. Just a moment to close your eyes and take deep breathes. About as long as it would take to press a seed into the soil and cover it over gently, is all that is needed. This is not about monumental adjustments but small, simple graces. What will you do in your pause moment?
  3. Use the pause to plant what matters. For me to most effectively tend my soul, I must not only breathe but I must press truth into the soil of my soul. I often have a verse I am working to memorize and I will carry it with me on an index card through the day or have it marked in the open Bible on my desk. That seed of the Word is often what I am leaning on. In order to plant it, I slowly read or say the words of the verse letting them soak in. What truth will you plant today?

As you seek to offer yourself permission to pause today, picture your soul as the garden. The Gardener is seeking to bear much fruit in and through you. Will you and I pause long enough to allow Him to plant what is good, in the midst of a spinning world, so that we might have roots that stabilize?

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About Me

I’m Mariel & I invite you to greater intimacy with God through His Word for yourself, using my TEND method of Bible study.

17 thoughts on “Permission to Pause”

  1. Yes, I love this! On a typical day I have two pauses that I love – in the afternoon I take 30 minutes to listen to music and rest. And at in the evening I put my phone on Do Not Disturb and listen to an audiobook for 45 minutes to an hour. Giving myself permission to pause has made so much difference in my life.

  2. “For me to most effectively tend my soul, I must not only breathe but I must press truth into the soil of my soul.” That line alone cut deep for me. The word is the truth and healing for the soul.

  3. Such great insights, Mariel! I appreciate your encouragement, “The stillness of slow growth in the garden…a momentary pause is like planting seeds in the soil; they are simple graces and the Word of God.”

  4. Yes, it’s so important to take moments of time to pause. I like how you mentioned that we must intentionally choose to do so, which I think can be the most challenging part.

  5. The techno-bling don’t bother me,
    its speed don’t bring me down,
    for I’ve seen past its tyranny,
    and have no need to frown
    ’bout a world I do not understand,
    FitBit, iPhone, all the rest;
    I work, instead, with my own hands,
    and find it’s for the best
    to shape the wood by slow degrees,
    join the metal in the flame;
    to find a wandering dog to please
    by giving him a name,
    and at the setting of the sun,
    there’s so much joy that I have won.

  6. This is so encouraging, Mariel. It’s reinforcing a decision I’ve made to plant more pauses in my life again. This especially stands out to me: “This is not about monumental adjustments but small, simple graces.” I can do this! :)

  7. A pause app – that is intriquing…and, more days than not, would be so helpful. I have the best of plans to purposefully pause. And not just be lazy. I want to pause with intention.


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