When to Press Pause
By Kristine Brown
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” – Romans 8:26
As I turned into the driveway while rehashing the events of the day, one thought played over and over, “I shouldn’t have gone. I needed a break.” Only then, it was too late. I’d already pushed past the voice that had whispered so gently to me earlier. The voice that prompted me to press pause.
At 6 a.m. when my alarm sounded that morning, I started thinking about all the things on my to-do list. A day full of training at work awaited, along with errands that just couldn’t be put off any longer. On top of that, I’d just received devastating news about a family member. My heart felt a heavy weight settle in, knowing from a distance there wasn’t much I could do to help. So as I lingered in bed, the weight grew heavier. I began to pray.
“Lord, help me push past the weight. Help me to have strength to keep going today and get all the things done I need to do. Help me press on…”
But as I prayed this prayer – one I’d prayed many times before – I wasn’t anticipating the most frustrating, stressful day at work ever. I didn’t realize how much I’d let pile on, and with one more thing, my emotions would come crashing down. I didn’t know instead of pressing on, I needed to press the pause button on a few things.
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness…” Romans 8:26
It’s easy to let ourselves get overloaded in our busy lives. Between work, relationships, serving, and taking care of the home, busyness can be an understatement! In those times when I’ve allowed too much on my plate, I risk feeling weak when I can’t do it all. But God doesn’t expect me to do it all. He gives us a Helper in our weakness, and we have hope today because of Him. Hope that brings us to a new place of understanding.
Paul’s inspired words teach us that the Holy Spirit is with us, and He is there to help in those times when we push ourselves beyond what He intended. How does He do this? How does God’s precious Spirit know when we’ve had enough, when we are worn out and need a reprieve? By bearing witness with the spirit within us and allowing us to choose peace. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:16
I’d like to say I pressed pause that day and took a moment to allow the Holy Spirit to refresh me, but that wasn’t the case. The stress of the day combined with everything else going on left me frazzled, grumpy, and short-tempered. Not a pretty picture at all. Thankfully, I discovered the Holy Spirit still waited patiently for me to respond. I went into the house, grabbed a warm cup of tea, and spent desperately needed time that evening in quiet prayer. I finished the day feeling fully restored.
The next time we’re tempted to go, go, go without a reprieve, let’s remember this promise from Romans. May the God of mercy and grace continue to direct us as we learn when to press on and when to press pause.