Pause

Pause is not my “word of the year.”

I tried to do that one year and I was bored with it by January 15th. What can I say? I’m super good at commiting to a man, but not so good at commiting to a word. Or a topic. Or a favorite color.

Instead, “pause” is just  a reminder to myself and a commitment I am trying so hard to make in this year.

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To better explain, let me walk you through what a day is like in my brain and heart…

I wake up and post something cute or clever or captivating on Facebook. And nothing happens. I start to fret. I check back. My heart pounds a little bit as I reread and reconsider and, sometimes, delete.

My husband gets annoyed by something I say and gives me the silent treatment for a few minutes. Tears burn my eyes, my hearts starts to race, and my mind becomes full of frantic images of what this means. I concoct responses and replies and defenses in my head that I’m sure will somehow make a difference but, in the end, I never say them.

Someone at church is short with me– not mean, just abrupt. Maybe they’re distracted. Maybe they have other worries. Maybe they didn’t even notice. But I did. And I feel personally insulted. Dejected. I wonder if they’re mad at me. My mood drops dramatically.

I receive a text message and it’s curt. No punctuation. No emoticons. No detail. I’m puzzled and confused. Is she mad at me? Did I say something wrong? Maybe I shouldn’t have texted her in the first place?

I see I have a comment. Yay! Those are rare these days. I read it. It is critical. Or challenging. Maybe accusatory. I feel attacked. My chest hurts. My eyes tingle. Then I get angry. I get on the defensive. Smart, sharp replies fly from my fingers and I maybe hit publish or maybe hit backspace, but my temper is on fire. I struggle to rein it in and I fear that I am unliked.

This is what it’s like.

For real.

I am so emotional and sensitive and I feel things so intensely. I both overanalyze and overreact and it’s exhausting. I love people and interraction so much that I’m constantly putting myself out there. But then I manage to get my feelings hurt and it just overwhelms me. It’s craziness.

But here’s the truth that I am learning very, very slowly…

If I just wait a minute… if I step away and breathe a little bit… if I PAUSE, those wild, overactive emotions of mine settle down. Without fail. Every time. Even when, in the throes, I can’t believe I’ll ever feel okay again. If I wait– I do.

My heart stops racing. My brain relaxes. My wild imagination calms down.

And I can respond with ease.

This is hard for me, to be honest. I don’t like to wait. I like to react. I’m a quick thinker and a MAJOR feeler, so it’s natural for me to want to jump right in.

But it’s not good for me. And it’s not really good for others. I overreact and jump to conclusions when I don’t take time to pause.

And, so, for this year, I am hoping, if not resolving, to pause more. To simply back away until those BIG, GIANT, overriding FEELINGS of mine can settle down a touch.

And my sensitive little heart can relax.

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