A Life of Pause


I wish that life came with a remote control.

A STOP button: To keep the bad, difficult, painful things from happening

A FAST FORWARD button: To skip over those painful, embarrassing or heart-wrenching moments and return to the schedule of an easy life.

A VOLUME UP button: To turn up the voice of the Father and the whisper of the Holy Spirit so that no word is ever missed

A REWIND button: To take back every stupid, hurtful, selfish word or action

A MUTE button: To silence the opinions of others, to deafen the lies of the enemy, and to crush the words of comparison.

A RECORD button: To never forget a special moment, a hug, a face, a joy, a victory, or a name.

There have been times where I have wanted to use every single one of the buttons.

But if I had a remote that could help me control my life there would be one button I would use more than any other.

PAUSE.

You know the feeling.

When your family life gets overwhelming and you boss keeps piling on work — || Pause
When your friends aren’t supporting you and your love life is in the toilet — || Pause
In the middle of those days that never seem to have any relief — || Pause
In the midst of those emotions that seem to flood over you without ceasing — || PAUSE
In the driest season of doubt and discouragement — || PAUSE

Sometimes the longing for a PAUSE in life gets so strong that instead of actually pausing
We quit. We get angry. We get bitter. We back out. We stop trusting.

The truth is that PAUSE is the most important button because when we refuse to pause, our lives start to become about straining instead of about praising.


David was known for both praising and straining.
He was a beloved leader who led his people in an undignified and powerful worship.
A man after God’s very heart.
But on the other hand he was also an adulterer, a murderer, and a liar.
He praised God. But often strained to earn His approval.
He pursued God. But often strained to fulfill his own desires.
Even though we see this conflict in David’s character, there is one thing that he eventually did learn to do. He learned to pause.

I want to share what I have learned about Psalm 3:3-4 – the moment David learned to pause. It has always been a favorite Scripture of mine, but lately it has become an anthem. What I’ve learned has helped me to learn to pause and it has changed the way that I handle stress, adversity, and the sharp words of others.

Read { Psalm 3:3-4 }


Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no deliverance for him in God.”
But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,

My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain.


It’s easy to let the words of David roll off your tongue and fall far away from the soil of your heart.
After all, the Psalms are packed full of similar chapters – crying out to God, facing enemies, being delivered. But when we read this text in it’s original Hebrew we find a word that isn’t included in a lot of Bible translations today.

The word is Selah.
While the definition is not completely known most scholars believe that it means simply to pause.
Selah is also believed to be a musical term describing the moment in a song when the singing stops and the instruments burst forth in praise – allowing the singers to reflect and worship.
It is a musical pause.

If you’re like me, you might have heard this before. It’s nothing new and I’m no scholar.
I’ve had a general idea of what it means for awhile now.

But what sets this Scripture apart for me is not the type of words David uses but the timing of them.
Timing is everything.

Timing is what has taken these words from being highlighted on a page
to being hidden in my heart.

Read { Psalm 3:3-6 } This time with the Hebrew words included:


Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no deliverance for him in God.”

        Selah. 

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain.


Did you catch it? Read it again!
The pause is perfection. The pause is the difference between defeat and victory.

Think about this:
David is experiencing one of the worst times of his life. He has sinned.
Everyone knows that he has gone against the call of God.
His friends are throwing his affair with Bathsheba back into his face.
He has messed up so badly that even his enemies look at him and say,
He it too far gone. There is no way that God will help him now.”

When you are reading this passage you aren’t hearing from someone who has just had a bad day. You are hearing the broken spirit of a man who has become acquainted with one of life’s deepest miseries: to believe there is no hope.
David is despaired and misery is becoming his home.

But then that little word sneaks in.

David takes a moment to selah.
He presses pause on the words of his enemies.
He presses pause on the reel of his past mistakes that plays constantly in his mind.
He presses pause on every temptation, wound, and shortcoming that tries to claw its way back in.
He pauses.
The straining that we so often see him fall into is replaced by something so much better: praise.

He stops straining. He pauses. And he praises.

“My enemies are increasing and they are rising up against me.” 
P A U S E.
“But it doesn’t matter what they do to me because you are my shield!”

“Everyone says that I can’t be saved or used or loved.” 
P A U S E.
“But it doesn’t matter what they say about me because you are what makes me good! I can hold my head high because of who You are!”


David’s pause reveals the heavenly truth of God’s steadfastness
instead of the present reality of his misery.
His pause produces praise instead of pity.
His pause is literally life giving.


YOU NEED A PAUSE.

You are constantly overwhelmed by the sharp words of others (and even yourself) saying,
There is no help for you.”
The voices shout the same words over you again and again:
You are too far gone to be saved, too low to be loved, and too dirty to be used.” 

But when you learn to live a life of PAUSE like David did, the voices of shame, pity, comparison, and doubt are no longer your master.

Proclaim this with confidence:

Every day people will try and hurt me with their words and their actions,
But I am not afraid 
BECAUSE HE IS MY SHIELD! 

They have every right to think little of me,
But I won’t let it stop me
BECAUSE HE IS MY GLORY!

I have every reason to spend my life looking at my feet in shame
But I am full of joy
BECAUSE HE IS THE LIFTER OF MY HEAD! 


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