How Friends and Mentors remind me to slow down: Pause

Update on Blog Series

I recently created a series of Blog posts with the objective of engaging a small group of friends mentors and colleagues for feedback.  When I began the series was comprised of lessons regarding People, Perspective and Purpose. As it took shape, I added a 4th “P” to the series, Pause.  The goal for this series of blog posts was to write down what I learned from my four strokes and open heart surgery a few years ago.  It is interesting to see how the posts evolved and improved because of feedback. I learned way more from others as they read the site and contributed their thoughts and comments.

Adding a 4th P to Blog Series-  “Pause”

I have been blessed to have amazing mentors and friends in my life.  (As noted in my “ people”  blog post)   During one of the blog posts, one of our dear family friends,  Jill Hartquist commented on the blog and suggested the idea of reflection or a “Pause.”  As soon as she said it, I said: “wow, what an insight.”

My daughter with me at the lake

The blogging project led me to reflect on a time in my life which I did a “Pause.” When I came home from the hospital after heart surgery,  I was off work for about 3 ½  weeks. While most of this time was spent physically recovering and resting, I did get to the point where I began to take walks around our area.  There’s a small lake near our house, and I would walk there every afternoon. It was quiet, and it was a time in my life in which I was at peace with not having an agenda, a meeting or something I had to be doing. What I’m reflecting on NOW, is that I had had very few times in life when I did “pause.”

It seems to me that in today’s world – with technology, work, and family activities, we have less and less margin.  When I use the term “margin,” I am talking about that extra time; not allocated.  It’s the white space on my calendar!   Some of the best ideas, incredible experiences and joyful times happen to me in the margin.  Unfortunately, I don’t do a good job of building margin into my life.’

So,  when Jill brought up this idea to Pause, it reminded me of those walks and the peace I felt just to BE. For me, this was a time I could explore my faith and have time to pray and think about my relationship with God. It’s a time when I can reflect on essential things in my life that may or may not be working well.

This entire blog series on People, Perspective and Purpose, has been a time of Pause for me.  It allowed me to step back and think about what the events from 2007 to 2010 taught me.  It required quiet time.

So what?

Years ago, one of the pastors that I enjoy listening to, Bill Hybels, had a sermon series about The Chair. He talked about the importance of finding a place that you could go and have quiet time, prayer and reflection.  Thanks to a nudge from Jill and this previous powerful sermon several months ago I began to schedule reflection time in the morning.  Here is a short clip that I highly recommend!

 

Maybe it’s unfortunate that life is so busy we have to schedule this “quiet” time, but for me, it has been an amazing experience. I have always received daily devotionals via email, and I would read those on my computer or my phone the first thing every morning. The problem is my office environment puts me into a work mentality — not a reflective state of mind. Now, I sit every morning at our dining room table (away from my office) with a notebook and my Bible. I spend that “quiet” time in devotion and contemplative thinking.

Over the last several months this time of Pause has meant a great deal to me. Finding this new location in my home where there are no distractions has helped me just BE. Every day looks a little bit different, but I try to have a few minutes where I sit and enjoy the quietness.  I don’t focus on the “to do” list or emails or noise running through my mind.   My faith walk has been a constant journey, and I feel like I have so much more to learn.  This practice is a key part of the every evolving journey.  

Final Thoughts

I believe God speaks to me in two ways. One is through people and friends that are in my life. The other is in this quiet time when I turn everything off and be still.  As I move toward making every step count in my life, I am so grateful for friends that remind me to pause and reflect.