Several years ago, my husband and I experienced one of those life pauses that materialize when least expected. It came with a second job loss in less than a year in a topsy-turvy economy. The first loss felt like a hiccup. The second was more significant. As weeks lengthened into months with minimal prospects and dwindling savings, we grew frustrated and concerned. But amid the anxiety, we learned some valuable life lessons.
Waiting is not something most of us do well, but here are some suggestions to help you navigate a life pause:
Our culture conditions us to be in perpetual motion, juggling multiple projects, responsibilities, and activities. Often, when we have opportunities to rest, we feel guilty rather than taking advantage of the slowdown. Rest gives us time to think, process, and contemplate. Rest recharges physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When a life pause causes you to wait, allow yourself to rest rather than creating mental turmoil about what will happen next. Give in to rest and experience its benefits.
Instead of viewing a life pause negatively, consider whether waiting may be for your protection. Sometimes we forge ahead without fully thinking through plans, time frame, and possible consequences. A life pause provides a chance to step back, reassess, and consider other options.
Refocusing may also involve looking beyond self to ways you can reach out to others. At times, we are so consumed with our own lives and plans we fail to connect and interact with those around us. Especially now, as we emerge from over a year of isolation, take time to reconnect and see beyond yourself.
When we are forced to wait, our thoughts track toward a time when waiting ends and we can regain forward motion. However, a life pause may be designed to develop patience or as preparation for what lies ahead. Often, instead of learning while waiting, we chafe at what feels like time wasted. Instead, think about why you are frustrated. Consider other times when you’ve been forced to wait and what you learned in the process. Usually, we don’t realize the rewards of waiting until later, but reflecting in a waiting period provides insights that help you navigate during a life pause.
When life is hectic, or health concerns, relationship struggles, and other difficulties overwhelm, frequently our spiritual lives suffer. We become so focused on challenging circumstances that we spend less time with God, when, in fact, presenting our needs to Him provides wisdom and comfort. When life presents you with a pause, use the time to rekindle faith. In doing so, you gain peace and hope for the future, while you wait.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (Psalm 130:5 ESV).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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