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January 18, 2021

Ann Farabee column: Ready to press pause?

By Ann Farabee

I recently heard an account from a fifth-grade teacher about a student accidentally bringing the family’s remote control to school one morning. I immediately envisioned a desperate family member at home diligently searching for it throughout the entire school day. For once, looking underneath the couch cushions was not going to be the answer.

Remote controls can be pretty important. I have learned that when I am interrupted while watching a movie or video, I can often press a “pause” button, and come right back to it later.

Sometimes — in all areas of our lives — we need to practice using the pause, don’t we? Some of my favorite times to pause are: When my patience is impatient. When I need a break. When I remember I should be praying more. When I remember that family is more important than work. When I need to take time to serve others. When I feel overwhelmed. When someone is having a face-to-face conversation with me, and I realize I keep looking down at my phone.

A pause can provide peace.

A pause can provide perspective.

A pause can prioritize priorities.

A pause can produce productivity.

A pause can provide perception of purpose.

And, a pause can provide pleasure. On most remote controls, the word play is either connected to the pause button, or is very close by. This close connection between pause and play should encourage you to pause and play. How you play is up to you. One example of a way to pause and play would be to pause and play with your children or grandchildren. That usually provides great pleasure.                                          

Just in case, you are not familiar with the remote buttons or use them infrequently — here is what they may look like:

     <  ||  >

The first button ( < ) will take you back to the part you missed. That may or may not be important. You decide. Keep Philippians 3:13 in mind: Forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forward to those which are before.

The last button ( > ) will move you forward, but don’t go too fast. You may miss out on something. Keep James 4:14 in mind: What is your life? It is a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

The middle button ( || ) is the pause. It is in the middle for a reason, because quite often, you need to press pause when you are right in the middle of something. Keep Ecclesiastes 5:18 in mind: It is good and comely for one to eat and to drink and enjoy the good of all his labor.

Ready to press pause? Locate the pause button. Place your finger on the button, and press pause! Enjoy.

Pause is powerful. Don’t be afraid to use it!

As for the student that had the remote control with her at school — the item that had been so important earlier at home became useless when it was no longer close to its source. Just like in our lives — whether it is work, rest, or play, God is our source. So, be sure to pause during your day — and spend time with him!

Ann Farabee is a teacher, writer and speaker. Contact her at or

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