Human Interest

PRESSED TO PUSH PAUSE 

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave one of his most powerful speeches on April 3, 1968 at Mason Temple, in Memphis, Tennessee. Of course, the next day he was assassinated. A small passage in this dynamic speech became legendary. “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The primary topic of his speech was really about the things that drove him to the mountain. Most people understand and appreciate what Dr. King stood for and accomplished. I wanted to let you know you can accomplish great things in your life as well. First, you must be pressed enough to push pause and go to the mountain.
I had an interesting experience this week. I preached the same sermon three times in one day. I have never done that before. What made the experience interesting is that each time, using the same notes, the message came out in a unique manner that was tailor made for my respective audiences. As I have been thinking about the message, the experiences and the resulting comments/conversations, I thought I would allow the experience to inform my monthly article for Fresh Lifestyle Magazine. The message was based on Luke 6:12 in the Bible. The passage says: 12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. What made me want to share this with you are three observations that I made when I studied this text: 1) There were things that happened to Jesus that gave him a desire to pull away and spend some significant time in prayer. 2) He had a satisfying experience during his time of prayer. And 3) He did some amazing things when he returned to be with the people. I’m not going to re-preach my sermon. However, I would like to make some very practical parallels that may help you in your life situation. At various times we are going to be pressed to do something different. Everyone deals with various challenges in life. No one is immune from having situations that take your breath away every now and then. In life, you may be hit with devastating financial challenges like unpaid tuition bills; past due student loans; credit card balances with high interest rates; unexpected tax bills; loss of income; you name it. Attempting to manage these situations and all the complex nuances that can easily be associated with them, can cause you to need a spiritual reprieve. Sometimes broken or strained relationships can challenge us in unusual ways. It could be the stress of doing well amid people who are struggling. The feeling of having no peers you can trust. What about those seasons when it seems people are dying left and right? There could be any number of things that may cause you to feel the need to pull aside and search for your center. We all have those moments when we just need a break. For many, these moments call for us to pull away and pray. We are often pressed to push pause.
During the time of prayer and meditation, which I will refer to as your Pause, wonderful things can happen for you. During your Pause you have an opportunity to experience a change of environment. Sometimes, we need a change of scenery to clear our heads and get the juices flowing again. Finding a quiet place away from the things, situations and or people that may be the source of your stress, can change key things about you. A change of scenery can help you to forget about the things that may be irritating you at a given point in time. When you remove yourself from your normal environment your own senses can be invigorated, because something in the atmosphere has changed. Things may sound different, look better, or feel right, simply because you shifted to a secret place away from your place of stress. Perhaps, Pause gives you the opportunity to get things off your chest and that alone makes all things like new. It is important to hear yourself think. When you change your venue and speak privately to God about your situations, at times, you will be able to hear your own thinking in a much clearer
manner. Sometimes, all it takes is hearing my thoughts, before I speak and I will self-correct. During the meditation portion of your Pause you may be able to hear clearly the best way to approach your situations. The challenge is spending enough time listening during our time of Pause. If there is no listening, how will we know what to do? Allow yourself time to quiet yourself and just listen. You may be surprised at what you can hear. In fact, pause right where you are and just listen. Take note of every sound you hear. Look at that list. All those sounds were there even when you weren’t paying attention to them at all. Sometimes the information we are looking for is already being communicated to us, but we can’t hear it, because we are filling the atmosphere with our own voice. Sometimes we are drowning out our help. Although quiet time in Pause mode is helpful, we cannot remain in a Paused state.
There comes a time for us to come down from our mountain top experiences and return to our constituents, with a newfound zeal and authority to deal with the challenges that are set before us. The thing that really got me excited about this topic is that I realized Jesus did some amazing things after he returned from his mountain experience. In my mind, it may be a struggle that pushes you up the mountain, but when you come down, momentum is on your side! I am encouraging you to get excited about the possibilities coming behind your Pause. I have a vivid imagination and I can just see you coming down the mountain with your hands raised in complete exuberance from the freedom of the momentum you are gaining. You pressed Pause, but allowed God to push Play in your life. Upon your return to the community you will be empowered to accomplish things that really matter. For Jesus, he returned from the mountain and began to address the needs of the poor, the hungry, and the sick. What would your life be like if your stress led you to a process that would cause you to accomplish significant things in your community? I believe when we are pressed by life to Pause and get clear instructions, we can make the best plays in life on a consistent basis at levels we never imagined. So, don’t worry about the difficulties that are stressing you out. Those challenges are part of the process that leads to your most significant accomplishments. Go through your challenges with dignity and grace knowing that it is just revving you up to get to that high place on the mountain top where you will be instructed with wisdom and empowered to perform on the other side.

I am a speaker, trainer and consultant. *KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Inspiring the Audience to embrace their charge. *WORKSHOP TRAINING: Effectively enhancing the skills of your staff. *CONSULTING SERVICES: Coaching and facilitating your planning and management efforts.

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