Have you ever noticed the word "selah" in the Bible? It is often used in the Psalms, and means to "pause." The Psalms are actually songs, originally meant to be sung, and this "selah" was the author's way of communicating an intended pause, rest, or break before moving on. Keep in mind- this isn't the end of the Psalm, it's simply a pause!
I will share one of my favorite passages of Scripture to illustrate this. Psalm 62:7-8 in The Living Bible says:
"My protection and success come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust him all the time. Pour out your longings before him, for he can help! SELAH."
Therfore, in this beautiful Psalm, the author intended there to be a pause after these verses. A break to take in the words before moving on.
I've been thinking about what "selahs," or pauses, look like in life. Have you ever felt a ton of momentum in a particular area (personal, professional, with a relationship, a goal, a dream), and then all of a sudden it seems like things just pause?! Or, you sense a lull or that God is actually slowing things down despite efforts to speed them along?
Just like each Psalm had an author, God is the author of our lives. And, whether or not we enjoy them at the time, He inserts pauses into our stories. Here is the crucial thing to keep in mind: just like in the Psalms, these pauses are intentional AND they are not the end of our story!
Today, I want to encourage anyone experiencing one of these "pauses" or slower seasons in life. While God intentionally inserts them, they can be challenging to navigate!
Here are a few keys to keep in mind when experiencing a selah in life!
1. God is your leader, and it is safe to follow His lead!
He doesn't ask you to blaze a trail or go at life alone. He is your Shepherd and wants to lead you! Your role is to follow Him each step of the way. If you are spending time with Him, you can trust you will know when to move forward and when to pause. If He says to pause, it's always in your best interest to do so!
2. Pauses in life aren't necessarily comfortable!
You might be thinking, is this supposed to be encouraging?! The reason I wanted to point it out is that sometimes we tend to assume if we are uncomfortable, we are doing something wrong. Though, sometimes, God leads us on paths that are quite uncomfortable because our faith is expanding. Discomfort isn't always a reliable litmus test. If He initiated the pause, it's okay if you are uncomfortable! You might be right where you need to be.
3. God can accelerate outcomes and work more efficiently than you can!
His timing is not always the same as ours (can I get an amen?!), though it's helpful to remind ourselves that things are not always what they seem. God can supernaturally speed things up and get us exactly where He wants us.
Bottom line, our role is to walk with God one day at a time, one step at a time, and enjoy His presence! To trust Him to lead and to let go and settle into the following. It can be tempting to try and run ahead and drag Him along. It can also be attractive to drag your heels and question His pace or direction. I speak from personal experience when I say these are not helpful options!
Instead of trying to force your way or focusing on all that isn't ideal in your season, what would it look like to embrace the pauses in your life? If you sense Him calling you to a slower season, or to take a break from a project, or to rest for a moment before moving on, can you calm yourself enough to enjoy it?
His leadership is good, and He knows what He is doing! If He's leading you to a selah, it's intentional. Ask Him for help enjoying the journey and trusting His guidance!
P.S. For more thoughts on the adventure of following God, checkout this video!