The other day, my sweet Grandpa called me to catch up. Every once in a while, one of us will call the other to catch up on what’s been going on in our lives. This is one of those things that happens with relatives when you go away to college. You have to find time to stay in touch.
When he asked me, “How are you?” I began to give him this highlight reel of what I had been up to for the past month. It started with, “Well, I have been busy, but good!”
“Classes are good.
My internship has been good.
My friends are good.
Applying to jobs has been good.
My roommates are good.
My sorority is good.
My health has been good…”
After I finished giving him my list of “good” things, I was expecting him to say some classic grandpa response like, “Wow I’m so proud of you. You’re doing so great.”
But, he surprised me with this comment, “That is great, Nic, BUT I want to give you some Papa advice… Just pause. Just take a second to sit and see how far you have come and then pause.”
I kind of laughed under my breath because who can pause as a second semester senior in college? I can’t. There’s too much to do. “Thanks Papa,” I said and kept going with, “Yeah, that would be nice, but…”
He said “No, I mean it. Just take a step back and pause.”
I listened to his advice and to what was going on in his life, then hung up the phone. I went on with my day as I always do–on the run with no time to stop. But, for some reason, I couldn’t shake what he said. I knew I needed to pause.
So I did. There I was, sitting in my room, alone in silence. I hated every second of it.
Do you know why I hated it? Because the second I was left alone with my thoughts, then the doubts, insecurities, and anxieties came flooding in. My highlight reel turned into a list of everything I needed to accomplish, everything I’ve gotten wrong, and all the people I’ve done something wrong to.
No wonder I hate to pause. But, gosh, life is tiring. I am tired! It would be nice to just sit and rest. But, pausing created a problem.
Perhaps I avoid the pause in life because of what I experienced that day. Pausing caused anxiousness. Perhaps we all do this. We keep ourselves busy because sitting and thinking is hard to do, too.
Sunday is typically a day to pause, right? But, are we even pausing on that day like God wants us to? My friends and I refer to this pause as the “Sunday scaries.” It’s when we get to the end of our week and finally stop to breathe, then this overwhelming sense of anxiety comes over us because of all the things we need to accomplish in the next week, as well as a mixture of regrets from the week before. The Sunday scaries are the worst. If you’re in college, I’m sure you have your own version of Sunday scaries. If you’re in the working world, I’m sure you do too. Nobody really escapes this but this isn’t what God meant for Sunday, which He calls a day of rest. This isn’t what my grandpa meant when he told me to pause.
We are not meant to spend the week running so we can ignore thoughts that cause us to stress. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t bad to be busy, but it becomes a problem when we use our business to distract us from unwanted thoughts instead of turning to God to help us drive away those thoughts.
God wants to be intertwined in our crazy, busy lives. He isn’t just there in the moments of pause when we need rescuing. And, He doesn’t want to wait for the “pause” to be included in our life.
He is there when you’re cramming in the library at 2 a.m. for a test at 8 a.m. He is there in the big job interview that you’ve been stressing about for weeks. He is there with you when you find yourself tempted by the ways of the world. He doesn’t just want to be on the sidelines either. He wants to guide you and protect you. He is in it all anyway, so why not invite Him into what is happening in the here and now of your life. Don’t wait for it to stack up and then pour it on Him.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Paul says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. […] we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Paul is talking about the toxic thinking that causes our anxieties and doubts. Thoughts like, “I am not smart enough. I am not skinny enough. I am not qualified enough. I don’t measure up. I am shameful. I am….” You fill in the blank with whatever those thoughts look like for you. These are the thoughts that get us into those really dark and heavy places.
The reason those thoughts hurt so much is because they are partly true. By the world’s standards, we will never be smart enough or skinny enough. We’ll be under qualified for something and will always fall short.
We serve a God who has provided us with truth and we need to use the truths that He has promised us. Taking our thoughts captive and replacing the lies with the truth of God’s word changes the game.
But once we switch the perspective to God’s perspective, we suddenly stop paying attention to what the world is saying and start hearing what God is telling us.
“You are more than ENOUGH
I am working everything out for YOUR GOOD.
Even when you don’t see it, I have a PLAN for you that has PURPOSE.
You are made SHAMELESS in my eyes no matter what your past, present, or future looks like.”
See how that works?
When the perspective shifts, the heaviness becomes lighter. It turns our anxious thoughts into peaceful thoughts. It takes our worldly thoughts to eternal thoughts and our negative thoughts to positive thoughts.
But, it has to be a constant conversation, not just a once a week pause.
So let us PAUSE. Let us find rest in the fact that we know that our God is with us in the craziness. He is for us and He has a purpose for our lives.
Let us trap the lies that the enemy feeds us and let us replace those with what God tells us. Don’t allow any thought to seep into your mind that is not from the Lord.
What if we took the time to pause in our busy moments and invited God into the craziness rather than leaving it all for Sunday? What if we began to pray as soon as a negative thought came and took every thought captive as Paul said?
There is so much purpose in knowing what God says about you. Without constantly embracing the love and grace that we are so freely given, how are we ever going to extend it to others?
I pray that each of you reading this will find the value in the pauses of life, and in those moments, speak kind thoughts to yourself and actively hear what God says about you. I pray that you hear and believe that you are ENOUGH.
Nicolette is a senior at Texas Christian University and interned with the LO team in the summer of 2018. In her free time, you can find her traveling (or dreaming about it on Pinterest), spending time with friends, and never saying no to a new adventure.
Follow Nicolette on Instagram @nicolettenelson