Pausing to Ponder

Dear Friends,

It can be so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, can't it.  We rush from one task to the next, whether it's collecting our children from an after school club, running an errand for our husband, washing dirty clothes, meeting work deadlines, serving at church or going from one meeting to the next.  

Have you ever felt like the rabbit from the book "Alice in Wonderland" who is running along muttering to himself "Oh my fur and whiskers!  I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!"  I don't know about you but I can often feel that I have too much to do and no time to do it in.  And I can run around in a frenzy trying to keep on top of my tasks for the day.

This busyness can stop me from pausing to ponder and reflect on life. It can hinder my thinking process, because rushing around makes me just too busy to think.  I believe Mary, Jesus' mother developed the habit of reflection.  She would take the time to pause and ponder.  For example, in Luke 2:19 we are told "But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart."  (ESV)  A similar thing is also said in 2:51.

Our family recently went away on holiday with our extended family.  Living with a long term illness means that I still need to pace myself when I'm on holiday in order to have the energy I need to function at a reasonable level.  Which means that some days I need to stay in the holiday house we have hired while my family go out for the day.

Instead of being frustrated and miserable at not being able to join in the fun, I actually found it a blessing because it gave me time to just be with God and the opportunity to pause, reflect, think and ponder.  Whereas, if I'd been at home I would have found something to do. I know I very quickly would have become busy.

During that day, in the presence of God, I rediscovered all that I had to be grateful to him for.  For example, the mealtimes we shared as a family on holiday as we all sat around a huge table, taking our time over the meal to enjoy the food and enjoy unrushed conversation.  Watching the relationship between my son and daughter, how they enjoyed playing a board game together and got on so well together.  (Don't get me wrong, they are definitely not perfect and have their moments as all siblings do!)  At the end of the day, listening to the day out they had enjoyed, and Jason bringing me a small gift he knew I would enjoy, showing me that even though I couldn't physically be with him, I was still in his thoughts.  For the blessing of a relationship with God and for his spiritual gifts. For the personal interests he'd created me with, such as the pleasure that reading gives me or creating something with wool and a crochet hook or knitting needles.

My life is not perfect, I'm not perfect.  I have my grumpy days, my impatient days, days when I'm so busy that I forget that all that I have is a gift from God.  "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17 (NIV) But when I take the time to stop and reflect, to ponder on all that he has given me and done for me, then I see how truly blessed I am.  When I reflect on this I realise that it's not about things, it's not about lots of possessions, it's not about prestige, it's not about moving up the corporate ladder. Instead it's about the simple things in life, it's about the things that money cannot buy.  Life is about my relationship with God and my relationship with others. When I take the time to stop and reflect, then I overflow with praise and gratitude to God who gives me so much.

I want to build these times of stopping and reflecting in to my daily life and not allow myself to get so busy that I don't leave room for this.  My daily quiet times with God are developing and changing to allow this, but I also want to make space throughout the day for moments of reflection.  To do this I need to be deliberate about it, so that it becomes a habit, so that it becomes second nature to me.  For example, instead of rushing from one task to the next, I can stop at the end of one before I go on to the next.  I can set the alarm on my phone at certain times of the day to remind myself to pause and reflect.  I can reflect at lunch time as I eat the food God has provided for me.  I can take a moment before settling down for the night to reflect over my day with God.

There are a number of things we can do if we will just set our minds to it.  So, will you take up this challenge with me?  Instead of being so caught up in the busyness of life, lets incorporate into our day these moments of reflections.  Times when we can stop, pause and ponder.

As Paul writes in Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (ESV)

To Think About:
Are you caught up in the busyness of life?  How does being so busy affect your attitude, your speech, your actions?

What practical things can you put in place to help you to pause, ponder and reflect?

Take some time during the coming week for some moments of reflection.  What does God show you during those times?  At the end of the week look back and reflect on how it has made a difference to your life, e.g., has it had any positive affect on your attitude, your thought life, your actions?



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