Pauses can communicate more than words. They act as verbal punctuations asking the listener to stop for a moment. I used to want to fill these spaces with words, but something happens when you let them remain silent.

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These moments become invitations to share further. Instead of jumping to advice or another topic, the speaker can gather their words from their thoughts. Waiting in the pauses says, “I desire for you to feel heard and I’m not leaving this moment until you are ready…”

We struggle with pauses. Think of how many times you have heard the phrase, “Awkward silence.” The impatience and impetuousness of our culture has filtered to our personal lives. Filling the space replaces waiting.

Scripture reminds us of pauses. The Psalms stop us with every use of the word Selah. Isaiah implores his readers “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength…” Holy Week invites us see the pauses of Jesus’ life. Gospel writers record Jesus stepping away to pray. Perhaps, the longest pause occurs from Good Friday to the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. We find ourselves with the disciples caught between faith and doubt.

The pauses recorded in Scripture speak to our lives. We live in the gaps of silence and waiting. Restlessness overtakes us, so we venture to the noise. What if God invited us to pause? What if it was His way of allowing us to gather our thoughts? What if it was ultimately for us to experience His presence? 

Embracing the pauses of life welcomes us to deeply hear others, ourselves and Immanuel, God with us.

What have you learned in the pauses of life?

Photo credit to Jessie Schnall, you can see more of her work at Portraits by Jessie.