By Susanne Ciancio
God solved a problem for me in a very roundabout way during the pandemic. My story in a nutshell is that I’ve found something that has truly brought about change at a transformational level for clients, friends and ultimately for myself! He hasn’t wasted one bit of this time of quarantine and He is always pursuing us with His Grace and Truth. Transformation is a big Bible principle and the subject of many Sunday morning sermons. The good news of the Gospel is that it’s not just for Sundays and Bible studies. God has come near and brought all of His benefits and resources for anyone and everyone.
In my search for strategies, exercises and meditations to support clients’ clinical work for stress and anxiety I happened upon something rather spectacular! A client with PTSD shared an app she uses to relax and de-stress. Of course, I had to check it out before I passed it on. It turned out to be the answer to something I’ve been praying about since 2018. But it exceeded what I had been seeking The Lord about. (More about my story later.)
The App my client told me about is called The One Minute Pause. It’s free, simple and easy which is spectacular in itself...but the best part is the cumulative effects. It keeps working even when you’re not working it! The app is based on a new book by John Eldredge called, “Get Your Life Back.” During the time of the pandemic so many are desiring to get their old lives back. Understandable! But this app is not about getting your old life back This is more like getting the life you always wanted.... which is the life God planned for you. There are inspirational excerpts from the book included in the app along with 4 “pauses” ranging from 1-10 minutes. There’s beautiful music and Eldredge himself instructing us to give everything and everyone to Jesus. His voice and the language are very calming and peaceful. They make one recommendation: set an alarm so that twice daily you receive an alert on your phone to remind you it’s time for The Pause.
The beauty of the app and why I’m distinguishing it from other similar apps is because of the aftereffects! As I intentionally engage with the right hemisphere of my brain during The Pause, I simultaneously disengage with my left brain effortlessly. The left brain is my enquiring mind that wants to know...information, facts, doctrine but it can also lead me down needless rabbit holes of fear, anxiety and worry. Christian psychiatrist Curt Thompson says in his book, The Anatomy of the Soul, that we sense who God is in our right brains. The right hemisphere experiences life viscerally, creates images...senses things like who God is and how He feels about us. Our right brains are designed to then send messages over to the left brain to “make sense of what we sense.” *
When I begin to understand my hardwiring, I can tend to my soul like a wise and loving gardener tends to his garden. As I choose what I’ll focus on (and in turn what not to focus on) changes are made on the cellular level. Structural changes are made in our very DNA as we release pressures and anxieties to the Lord. **
Why does this app work so well? What’s the secret? Could it be that the discipline and direction the app provides causes us to slow down and when we slow down, we find ourselves on Gods’ frequency? And that frequency is always rest! *** There are many “calm” apps and they’re probably all effective to some degree. What’s different about this app is the spiritual foundations. It’s the language of the Bible and abiding and union with The Lord.
The One Minute Pause had and is still having an impact on me personally. After several months of doing The Pause at least twice a day I started noticing character changes in me. Stress would arise and I would be much quicker to release it. I’d be more mindful, less reactive, able to connect with “the heart Jesus gave me.” **** Doing the pause was a delight and very uplifting! But the changes I saw in myself were more internal—it felt like the sheer joy of transformation! And I wasn’t even trying! I was just enjoying the music and language of The Pause.
The initial answer to prayer I received was being able to come back in the evening to the same restful state in which I started out my mornings. I would be reminded by the alert on my phone or iPad at 7:00 or 8:00 PM to do a pause and sometimes my husband would join in. This was new for me and a victory. That was a long-standing goal I had for myself, but I never was intentional about setting any times or disciplines to achieve this. Consequently, I had no results prior to The Pause.
Is there an area of your life that you would really like a victory? Have you tried and tried? How about substituting training and practicing for all that trying? Prayerfully, you just may discover as I did that the most important spiritual tool we have is releasing or surrendering! It does require consistency...Just a word of caution, don’t try this at home! TRAIN! It takes as little as a 1-3 minutes a day. Do you have a couple of minutes a day? I pray you’ll take the challenge. What have you got to lose? Some anxiety or fear? Some weight? Some irritability? Trauma? Or stuck-ness? The cumulative download you receive from practicing will be worth it! 2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Colossians 1:26-27 the mystery that has been hidden throughout all the ages.... Christ in you, the hope of Glory. (Paraphrased)
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Happy Pausing! Let me know if there’s an area in your life you’re thinking The Pause may help with. Please leave a comment below.
*Restoring the Soul podcast featuring John Michael Cusick LPC with Dr. Curt Thompson, M.D.
**Curt Thompson, M.D., The Anatomy of the Soul.
***Bob Hamp, “Think Differently Learn Differently” from Think Differently Academy (see website TDACAD.com)
**** “Living from the heart Jesus gave me” is a term Dallas Willard used in his writings and lectures
Her Life Speaks is all about Her testimony, Her life, and who God is in Her story. Here we write our stories in hopes of helping other women find their relationship with Jesus Christ.