The Permission to Press Pause

Over the weekend, my son’s disobedience prompted the internal thought, life was so much easier before we had kids.

It sounded like the volume of my son’s screams were directly tied to volume of this internal notion, and both were shouting.

His actions certainly justified my thoughts. To think, he was throwing such a fit over the fact that his car seat didn’t allow enough leg room for him to stretch his feet out.

How childish.

Yet, in the midst of the chaos, when all I wanted to do was lose it, I hit pause. While my mind wanted to drift back to the independence and the freedom before kids, I didn’t go down that rabbit trail.

I chose to be present.

Screaming back at my son wasn’t going to aid the situation and certainly my lack of restraint wouldn’t teach him discipline. I quieted the internal disruption and I set my emotions on the shelf.

This has been a learned process laced with imperfection and many failed attempts, but I’m slowly learning.

There is great power in learning to press pause—in learning to be present.

The Power of Presence

I haven’t always had the discipline to press pause. In fact, last week, at a pickup basketball game, I threw the pause button out of the window. Within seconds, the argument escalated and I had to remove myself from the game.

I quickly realized how childish my actions were and I apologized.

Today, I want to remind you that life does have a pause button. In fact, I give you permission to use it today.

Seriously, stop.

One of the greatest powers we have been given is the power of self-control. It takes a mighty act of the will, but we must not underestimate this power that has been give to us.

Fear and anger and justification are much easier to choose, but they lead to death. And by death, I don’t mean physical death. Rather, separation from true life.

Those lesser emotions seek to remove us from the present, rendering us powerless.

Instead, self-control gives us the ability to transcend our circumstances, not letting them steal from us the most precious thing we have: our freedom to choose how we will respond.

Pressing pause has taught me the power of presence.

When I’m present, I’m more engaged in my surroundings, my perspective is alert, I am whole.

In those moments, I see life enriched.

If you’re looking for richness, don’t wait for permission.

Press pause and be present.



Matt Ham is an author and speaker seeking to help people see life from a fresh perspective. His first book, Redefine Rich, is a journey of discovering a more full, enriched life. To learn more, or to inquire about speaking, click here.

Matt and his wife, Liz, live in Wilmington, North Carolina and have three sons.

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