Sunday, 26 January 2014


A pessimist doesn't make New Year’s resolutions, but this year’s “One Word” campaign appealed to me. Instead of making a list of goals, we choose one word for our focus in 2014. 
Believe me, I don’t make a habit of grabbing the next magical fix from self-help gurus but sometimes a new tool is worth a try. 
Any step we take toward knowing God’s ways can be generously used by the Spirit who made us and loves us. When I heard about the "One Word" suggestion I considered what word could serve as a touchstone for me this year. 

I chose to focus on the word, “pause”. 

I’m not a busy person; I'd bet I’m way lazier than you are. I don’t need to insert pauses into my non-existent schedule. However, I can be impulsive in both decision-making and conversation. I still regret quickly choosing a mustard-yellow winter coat only because I wanted the shopping over with. The coat-that-will-never-wear-out shows every bit of slushy dirt and the colour isn't even flattering. Grr.
As to the other weakness I mentioned, well, let's just say I’ve had lots of practice in apologizing for abrupt comments. I long to speak carefully and choose wisely when it matters. For that I need to learn to pause.

I turned for help to one of my main authorities, the bible.
Speaking of tools, thank God for the internet!  We all know the verse, “Be still and know that I am God” but what about pausing? 
When I searched for the word “pause”, I found the mysterious Hebrew word “Selah”, which is attached to some of the Psalms, without any English translation.
Because the psalms are songs, scholars guess that "Selah" could have been a musical direction. Or it could have stood for, "The End". But some experts think that it might have meant, “Pause”, “Pause and praise”, or “Pause and think about that”. Maybe we should be reminding each other, "Selah", good advice for bible reading, good advice for ordinary moments every day. Pause and think about that.

So the next time we talk, if you hear me hissing under my breath, you’ll know that I’m whispering “Selah”, hoping that Wisdom will help me pause before I say something stupid.