You Can Stop

How many excuses do you find yourself making in a given day? Do you tell yourself things like:

I just can’t help it

I can’t take a break now; I have too much to do

I’ll make time for that when things slow down

I’m too busy to take a break/take time for myself

We make so many excuses, but we don’t really change our behavior. We keep running around like little Tasmanian Devils, wreaking havoc on the world around us. Feeling trapped inside our obligations, we watch the plates spinning around us, but feel helpless to stop them. We’re afraid that things will fall apart if we pause for even a second, that we’ll fall even farther behind and never catch up.

As we get older, we think, hope, and pray that the pace of our lives will slow down or we’ll magically have fewer things to juggle. Yet every year, we find ourselves burned out, making resolutions to focus on things that fell by the wayside in the crazy whirlwind of daily life.

But the truth is that no matter how chaotic our lives seem, we have the power to choose how we react to our circumstances. We may not be able to control others’ actions or life’s circumstances, but we are in charge of our own thoughts, emotions, and actions. Herein lies the important difference. In the midst of the busyness and craziness, we can stop. We can set aside our never-ending to-do lists and pause. We can make time for rest.

Before you think you don’t have time or don’t have the ability to do that, think again. You have the power to give yourself the okay to take a moment to re-orient yourself and look up. Making time to take a breath, focus on something positive, gain a greater perspective, and relax will allow you to approach your work with renewed energy and a better attitude.

We deserve to treat ourselves better. We spend far too much time berating ourselves for our mistakes, making terrible excuses for not doing what we want, proving that we are our own worst critics. But if we can first stop our negative thinking about ourselves, seeing what we perceive as faults to be opportunities for growth, connection with others, and reliance upon God, we are more likely to treat ourselves better and make time for rest in even the busiest seasons of life.

We get to spend our time the way we want. We decide to show up to work on time, get the bills paid by the due date, and projects completed by the deadline. But we have the ability to work in moments of rest for our weary bodies and even wearier souls. We need it.

So today, I give you permission to stop. Put your phone away. Turn off the TV and radio. Walk away from the computer. Get outside if you can. Go for a walk. Pour yourself a cup of tea. Sit down if you’ve been on your feet all day. Breathe. Enter into a time of worship and prayer. Give thanks.

All that remains is for you to follow through. You can stop. Everything will be okay. And you will feel better for having taken a moment of time out of your day to refocus, breathe, and recharge.

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