Press Pause


Life is so full and somedays you may feel like you just can’t keep up. When you have a baby or toddler at home, you’re so sleep deprived you often don’t know which way is up. Many days you may feel like you’re just surviving.

Then the kids start preschool and elementary. Homework, friends, and sports begin to rule the day. Maybe you feel more like a taxi driver than a parent?

At this point, life doesn’t slow down, does it?! Middle school and high school sneak up fast. Tougher classes, more homework, demanding sports schedules, peer pressure, hormones gone wild, learning to drive, graduation requirements, college tours, and scholarship applications.

Oh, man.

Where’s the easy button like in the commercials?!

I’ve been thinking about all this a lot. Life can be busy and overwhelming, but I don’t want to miss the moments. I don’t want to just survive. I want more for my kids, my family, and the families I serve. After all, at the end of the day, – busy is not an honor badge.

So instead of pressing an easy button, maybe I need to press pause.

What if I create space in the middle of the busy, in the middle of the fullness of life, to intentionally connect with my kids. In doing so, what if that is teaching them a much-needed skill: that it’s okay to pause in life. To breath. To slow down. To think. To recognize and reconnect with each other and our creator.

And as we remind ourselves and teach our own families to pause, maybe we’re setting an example for those around us.

Press Pause.
Eat together. Play together. Pray together. Savor the moments.

Do you need some help doing this? Some guidance on how to press pause? Join me at the NW Ministry Conference on March 24 & 25. I’ll be leading a workshop on Friday where we’ll discuss why a rhythm of pause is vital for families. Together, we’ll explore ways to model this in our own families as well as for those we serve.

Life is full and it’s not always easy.

But when we pause we can find rest and renewal.

Together, let’s pursue the pause.




Remember To Look Up

I wrote a while back about the busy culture in life (see Busy Is Not An Honor Badge) Since then, life has continued to be full. Full of teenage milestones like driving, sweet sixteen parties, and high school graduation. Full of ministry opportunities including another class, new events, running a half marathon to raise money for clean water, and reaching children and families in new ways. It’s also been a season of deep hurt and new beginnings.

I have been intentional about looking up from the busy to make sure I’m present in the moments.

Over the past few months I’ve also been out on the trails hiking and running. It’s sort of my therapy time. Time to process all the junk in my head. Time to talk with God. Time to empty out my hurts and disappointments so He can fill me with His joy.

A few weeks ago I was hiking up a mountain trail with a friend. Conversations had lead my head to recall a frustrating situation. I was lost in my thoughts and could feel my anger rising. I kept my head down on the steep section of trail, deep in thought, one foot in front of the other, focused on the step right in front of me. I stepped over the logs that went across the trail just as I had done earlier in the path. I trudged forward, completely in my own angry little world.

Then my friend’s voice behind me gently said, “Hey. Where ya goin’?”  I looked up from my tormented path to realize I wasn’t on the path at all. I was so frustrated and wrapped up in my own thoughts I didn’t even realize I was off the trail. I looked back, completely bewildered, to very clearly see the switchback to the left. Clearly. The path was clearly there. In my oblivion I had clearly missed it. Clearly.

How many times in life do we keep our heads down, focused on our own private world, and fail to recognize what is happening around us? The trail was clearly there and I so clearly missed it. How many times have I tried to do things my own way and completely missed the path that was marked out for me from the beginning??

My other recent trail experience had me on a wide path I run on along the lake. All. The. Time. The past few months I’ve been running on it at least three times a week. On this day it was rainy and miserable out but I was getting in my 9 miles with my team. Again, my head was full, I was in my own space, in my own world. But something caught my eye.

I thought I saw some animals by the waterfront. The closer I got I realized they were coyotes. I stopped above them on the trail. Maybe they were dogs. Nope. Coyotes. Another runner was coming up the wet trail and I motioned to him to see the coyotes too. Coyotes shouldn’t be on our trail! He pulled out his earbuds as he sort of kept running and said, “Oh no, they’re fake. They’re out there to scare the birds away. They’ve been there a long time.”




I can’t even begin to describe how that one moment made my head spin. It was like I caught my breath and had a huge chiropractic adjustment on my soul. In that one moment things I knew no longer made sense and things I didn’t know just did.

How could I have been running this trail and missed this? They were so clearly right there. And now that I see them, how did I not recognize them as fake. Not real. False. How have I been moving through life so focused on things that don’t have value, that aren’t real, that have been false?

How many times have I missed the true work of God around me? 

I may not ever know the answer to that question. Maybe He was giving me blinders at times to keep me focused on the path He had ahead of me. Maybe not.

I know that right now He’s reminding me to look up. Look up to Him and trust Him. Look forward on the path and see Him looking back at me. Look up and see all that He’s placing around me. Look up and keep moving forward in the direction He’s leading me. Look up and appreciate that one moment on the trail and how it’s continuing to change my path forward. Look up and appreciate the laughter, smiles, joy, and adventure of this life.


“For I know the plans I have for you…when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13


Busy Is Not An Honor Badge

My week has been busy. This year has been busy. My family has been busy. Ministry has been busy.

Life is just busy.

Do you feel it too?

When asked, “how are you?” do you say “Busy!”?

I can match your busy. Any day.

Do you ever find yourself listing out the to-do list for people to justify how busy you are. Or to one-up their busy? And do they reply with how busy they are too?

Are our kids seeing and feeling the hurried busy schedule at home? On the go? At school? At church? What are we telling them is important? To work harder, do more, be more, achieve more? Is that what we want for them?

In a conversation a few months back someone said, “I try not to use the words busy or tired”. Hmmm. She indicated that using those words gave the idea that she didn’t have time to be present in the moment with whomever she was with. She was too busy. Or too tired.

How many times have I said this?

How many times has that caused me to miss out on what’s around me?

How many times has that caused me to not show up mentally and be fully present in the moment?

With my own kids.

With the families I am a pastor for.

With the volunteers I lead.

How can I be fully present and fully engaged with any of them if I am too busy thinking of the to-do list or too tired from being too busy?

That’s a bad, vicious cycle.

Don’t get me wrong. It is good to work hard. It is good to plan, be intentional, follow through. He will equip us for every good work under the sun. But I find a caution with this:

It’s not about us doing more for God,

it’s about us being more with God.

If we are so busy running from activity to activity, trying to fit all of the busy into the finite hours we have, and dragging our children along the whole time, what are we really pointing them towards? What are we telling them is the most important? What are we modeling for them? That it’s good to be busy and fill our days to the point of exhaustion, leaving little or no time to just rest in God. To notice Him around us? To notice the blessings He is showering on us. Are we missing them simply because we’ve kept our head down in the busy?

Sometimes it’s even our old ideas or thought patterns that can still keep us in the busy. Or they can wear us down, leaving us feeling tired and worn out. We can do no more for God and don’t have the focus to actually spend time with God.

In another recent conversation I was asked to list out my busy, so they could know what I was doing and make sure I was taking time for myself. After hearing the long list they said, “Well, maybe you can rest on 4th of July”.


I don’t want to just survive these days. I don’t want to stay so busy, head down, completely task driven that I miss the moments. The moments of laughter with my children. The moments of wonder with the littles I get to teach. The moments of joy with friends. I want to show up and be so incredibly present with them. I want to invest in people. I want to be intentional. I want to bring joy.

For me, it’s time to clean out some old thought patterns again. Things that don’t serve me. That are consuming too much of my time. It’s time to lighten the calendar.

It’s time to pause and create more space in my life to just be.

At the end of the day, the end of the year, or the end of a life, busy is not an honor badge I want. I want the moments. I want the laughter ringing in my ears. I want the joy of life. I want the blessings He brings. And I want to be with Him more.

Are you wearing the busy honor badge? Are you ready to set it down? Are you ready to pause?