My husband likes watching fishing programs on television. He was recently watching a tournament where one of the fisherman had to take a two minute penalty. If the fish touches “anything inside the boat other than the angler’s hand,” he gets penalized. He has to wait two minutes before he is allowed to proceed. In those two minutes, “the angler can do absolutely nothing except talk to the camera.” 
When this happened recently on a show we were watching, my mind wandered to children and how we make them sit in timeout. Or for those of us prior to the “timeout” era, we had to stand in the corner, which was a similar concept.
This led me to thinking about how we all need a timeout. Not because we broke the rules necessarily, but because we are all running through our lives at top speed. At least I feel I am on most days. I feel frazzled half the time, trying to multitask and get more accomplished. I have eight books I started reading and haven’t finished. I feel like every moment needs to be productive. When I have downtime, I wonder what I should be doing. It’s hard to rest because I have trained myself to keep going, like the energizer bunny we used to see on commercials.
Can you relate? I know many of us have been overwhelmed and stressed out lately. We feel we need to keep up or we will fall behind. Our devices certainly don’t help because they are constantly alerting us when we need to check our emails, messages, comments, and a million other things. But it’s not just our devices that get us in trouble. People in general have a hard time slowing down. And we fill our lives with chores, shopping, food, and anything else that we think might satisfy us.
In many cases, we are trying to fill a void that only God can fill.
Many of us, myself included, need a timeout. We need to take a timeout from running through our day. We need to take a timeout from whatever it is that we keep reaching for, instead of God. We need to learn to move more slowly.
When we first try to slow down, it feels painful. When we are addicted to movement, stopping makes us want to hyperventilate. But it is possible. And it’s vital. Our bodies cannot keep going at this fast pace forever.
Here are a few things we might do to help our bodies slow down:
1 – Don’t neglect your quiet time with God. Spend time with Him first thing in the morning, if possible. This will help set a tone for your day.
2 – Pray throughout the day. My friend sent me a meme via text recently that said, “Don’t forget to pray today, because God didn’t forget to wake you up this morning.” I appreciated that reminder. And I have found that when I pray throughout my day, it helps me to stay grounded and keep my mind focused on the Lord, not on my to-do list.
3 – Get outside. Even if it’s just a few minutes, try to get some time outdoors. This always helps me feel closer to the Lord. Either I take time to say a prayer, or just soak up the vitamin D.
4 – Limit noise. This isn’t something we always have control over. However, at times, we can try to limit the noise that surrounds us. For example, when I drive to the grocery store, many times I won’t turn on the radio. Rather, I enjoy bathing in the silence.
5 – Note that sometimes I do put on praise music though. Especially if I am worried about something. This gives my mood a boost. If you are stressed about a particular concern, try singing God’s praises. Praising Him miraculously shifts our perspective.
6 – Exercise. I am trying to carve more movement into my day, whether it is walking or a Pilates video. Personally, I am trying to pick activities that are peaceful and enjoyable, taking some time to focus on the body and not my worries. Find something you enjoy and something you will stick with.
7 – Breathe. Take moments throughout the day to stop and breathe.
Slowing down will take discipline. If you are like me and constantly on the go, then this simply means being intentional with your time and energy. As a result, we will find that we have better mental clarity and more peace in our hearts.
Thank you for reading!