Do I Press On, or Press Pause?

I shouldn’t have gone.


That’s all I could think as I pulled in my driveway that afternoon. I wanted to forget the whole day, let it go. But looking back I saw the destruction I left behind. The effects of my bad attitude would surely cause a ripple of negativity, and all because I didn’t respond that morning when something in my heart said…


Don’t go. Take a break.


Oh, I heard the voice alright. The gentle prompting that knew my fragile emotions so well. A loved one faced a tragic situation, and even though I couldn’t be there, my heart ached for her. At that moment, focusing on anything else seemed impossible.


But canceling the plans for the day made me feel weak. So I convinced myself to ignore the voice and just go. After all, focusing my mind on something else might be just what I needed, right?


Only I wasn’t anticipating the most stressful, frustrating day ever.


We’re told that life knows no limits. We’re challenged to break past any barriers that hold us back. But somewhere along the way, the lines that show us where to stop become hazy.


Knowing where these lines are drawn in our own lives will help us know when to plow ahead and when to take a break. (Tweet this.)


Sometimes God directs us to be brave as we face that mountain ahead. Step out in faith. Pressing past inhibitions draws us into a deeper trust in Him.


However, there are other times when we need to press pause. Take a moment to breathe. Giving ourselves permission to take a break shows wisdom.  


A limit can be defined as the “utmost extent” of something. God created our bodies with limits. We need rest, time to recharge and care for ourselves. When we get close to that utmost extent, God will give us gentle warnings, signaling us that it’s time for a pause.


Just like the warning I sensed in my spirit that day. I chose to push past it, and the result? I replaced contentment with a short temper. I chose harsh words over peaceful conversation.


But I have hope today. Hope that brings me to a new place of understanding. Paul’s inspired words teach us that the Holy Spirit is with us, and He is there to help in those times when we push ourselves beyond what He intended.


“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Romans 8:26a ESV


When we step into something we aren’t ready for physically or spiritually, we risk unwanted damage. But when the Spirit bears witness with ours, responding brings peace.


“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:16 ESV


I learned a lot about myself that day - the hard way. (That happens with me sometimes.) Maybe you've been there too? It's OK. In fact, it's better than OK, because we serve a merciful, forgiving God who desires to see us learn from His Word and grow in wisdom! So let's find sweet encouragement today in these promises from God’s Holy Spirit.


The next time we’re tempted to go, go, go without a reprieve, we can remember the verses above. May the God of mercy and grace continue to direct us as we learn when to press on and when to press pause.