The power of a pause

November 25, 2013 in Featured Question of the Week, Question of the Week, Spotlight Answers, Thanksgiving shopping by Chris Altrock

My family purchased an outdoor decoration for Halloween this year. It was a life-sized bride-skeleton and groom-skeleton standing together and dressed as if they were in a receiving line after their wedding. A hidden battery pack, when turned on, powered LED lights in their eyes and chests, making it look like the skeletons were alive and had heartbeats.

Each night leading up to Halloween I’d turn the battery pack on for a few hours so neighbors and those driving by could enjoy the spectacle. I’d turn it off before I went to sleep.

But one night I forgot. I left the skeletons on all night. And by morning, guess what? The batteries were drained. No glowing eyes. No beating hearts. Dead as a…well, dead as a pair of skeletons.

The Bible says that God has designed humans in much the same way. We’ve all got a battery pack. Call it your “soul.” Call it your “spirit.” Whatever you call it, it’s not designed to stay in the ON position all the time. Leave it on position continually, and it eventually runs out. No more glowing eyes. No more beating heart.

We’re designed to pause. Each of us needs downtime. Some time in the OFF position.

Even Jesus needed this. The Gospels record a time when a whole town was standing in line to be healed by Jesus. Some had pitched tents and brought sleeping bags so they could be at the front of the line when the Jesus-Healing-Event opened at 4 AM. But when the doors were unlocked and the crowd stampeded, where was Jesus? He was off in a remote spot praying and pausing. Even God’s Son couldn’t stay on all the time.

And I guess that’s what frustrates me about the backward creep of Black Friday into Thanksgiving Thursday. As a nation, we need a pause. We don’t just need a couple of hours to sit down, gobble down the turkey, and toss the dishes in the sink while we run out to the newest shopping event. We need a day–a full day–when the engine is stopped, the cash registers are unplugged, the computer is powered down, and the smartphone is turned to silent. We need a day to pause and just say “Thanks.” Thanks, God, for a pretty good year. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for just being you. Thanks, friends and neighbors, for making my journey better.

There’s a lot of power to be found in a pause. Try it this year. You may be surprised.