I’ve recently added a new element in my public speaking classes called “the power of the pause.” Most experts in public speaking explain how important it is, when speaking, not to offer a long uninterrupted flow of speech when presenting. They understand that it’s in the pause that people have the opportunity to actually think about what you’re saying.
But all too often pauses—whether in public speaking or in life—seem to be unnecessary add-ons. When speaking, we’d much rather plow right through, or fill the spaces with uh’s and you know’s. In similar fashion, the essence of our lives becomes filled with endless to-do lists. We don’t want our minutes and hours falling on unproductive soil, so we navigate from task to task, filling our insecurities with activity upon activity, until even our “leisure” time leaves us exhausted and unfulfilled.
It never ceases to amaze me how a book written thousands of years ago continues to be so relevant. The Bible has always called us to pause….to rest. In fact, it commands us to spend one whole day out of seven ….at rest. And that was long before texts, tweets, instagrams and other components of multitasking. God invites us to put commas of rest in our lives not as distractions, but as enhancers and empowerers to make our communication with others—and more importantly with Him—more effective. We must learn to “pause” in order to hear God. For it is there, in the trenches of pause, a life free from anxiety and full of trust is created…a life of rest.
For many of us, this doesn’t come easy. We have to work to stop working. But I suspect that if we consistently choose to “make every effort” to find that place of rest in God, we’ll find out that the author of Hebrews was right: a new strength to resist the pulls and pressures of fallen life will emerge. I can’t think of a better time than today to begin to enter that rest.