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Although I had fast-forwarded through the commercials (awe…the endorphins that gives me) it still took over an hour of viewing time to complete one 45 minute show. The reason, I concluded, was the number of times I had pressed the pause button on the remote. I press pause for three valid reasons:

  •  I’m hungry and want a snack.
  • My wife has something important to tell me.
  • I need a bathroom break.

I did not press pause because I was tired, overwhelmed or burnt out. I did it because of priorities. All of the interludes were a result of a hierarchy of values or desires. I am not attempting to elevate my TV viewing to a spiritual experience. However I did extract a few strategic observations.

I have often used an illustration about a world renowned violinist. When asked to share the secret of her success she replied, “planned neglect.” She explained how she just planned to neglect anything that kept her from her violin. In other words she was living by her priorities and values.

If you are like me, perhaps you have said things like, “I need a break.” – “I just need to get away!” – “I’ve gotta turn off the phone.” – “I need more time.” We all reach our limits and need to press pause but wonder if we did so by design and not default. Do we have to reach a state of exhaustion before we check out?

I suggest we practice a life where we press pause on purpose. (Disclaimer: I am getting better at this but still struggle.) The one thing that has made the difference in my life is living by my values. When I live by my values, I can press pause on purpose rather than using the pause button as an emergency escape.

Here are my suggestions to help you press pause on purpose:

  1. Determine the Biblical principles or non-negotiables for your life (example: Philippians 3:10).
  2. Establish your Biblical values which are derived from Biblical principles (example: I want to be a man/woman of God).
  3. State your long-term goals succinctly for each value (example: I will memorize scripture).
  4. Define your short-term goals specifically (example: I will memorize one new verse a week on Tuesdays).
  5. Review your values often (example: at least once a week).

I do not recommend your list of values be too long lest it become overwhelming. I have narrowed mine to seven. You might consider the following when establishing your values: God, family, personal growth, friends and self-improvement.

It is okay to press pause. In fact we should do so on purpose. So the next time you press pause on the remote, I hope it will be a reminder to live life governed by values and not by demands.

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