Another day awaits—children to dress, school lunches to pack, laundry to do, people to call, groceries to buy, and a full-time job to squeeze in. At the end of the day, it is not yet over. There is still feeding the family dinner, bathing the kids, bedtime stories, and ironing. Finally, you fall into bed, and your husband says, “Fancy a cuddle?” You reply, “A cuddle? Do you know the day I’ve had?”
Sound familiar? Maybe you don’t have the kids or the husband, but I can guarantee as a woman, you are multi-tasking, and it seems no matter how great we get at the things we do, there is always more. For many of us, life has become a treadmill, and the only button we have is an emergency stop. I have learned, however, that God doesn’t want you to stop only in crisis. He wants you to learn to punctuate your life well.
Here is a lesson in punctuation that can change your life!
( , )
Commas are used to insert a pause in a sentence, and in the sentence of our lives, we must allow for the effectiveness of a pause, a selah moment. A few months ago I went on a train ride to London. The train on the way down was direct. It was great, no interruptions. After my meetings, I returned home, only this time the train was not direct. It kept stopping at other stations. I found myself getting increasingly annoyed. Why were all these people in my space and why was it taking so long?
It was then I felt God whisper, “Which is most like your life? Are you a speeding train with no time to stop or are you a vehicle that helps others to reach their destination?” I realized I needed to work on my pauses and incorporate them into my daily routine.
( . )
This is different than a pause. A full stop ends a sentence so a new one can begin. Many of us can be terrible at ending things well, but God needs us to be good at starting and finishing in areas of our life. Our gift to God is not just our willingness to serve him, but our availability. Have you ever had someone say that they would help you, but then they couldn’t make it? Or they were willing, but not available?
We have to insert some stops in our world to free up our availability. God wants you to use the time you have wisely. Recounting the story of Ruth from the Bible, Naomi said to Ruth and Oprah (her daughters-in-law), “Look I am going on, but I don’t just want you to follow. Decide for yourselves what you want.” Oprah decided that, for her, this was a full stop moment. Ruth decided that this was a pause, but she was carrying on. Naomi wisely made them add their own punctuation to their lives. Do you need some full stops on conversations, wrong thinking, and relationships? Until you insert a full stop, no new sentence can start.
( ! )
I know this may seem a strange last choice, but I am a girl that loves to have fun, and I don’t see enough people enjoying their lives. An exclamation mark says, “Hey! Stop, wow, look at this!” It is time to add exclamation marks to your ministry, your marriage, your friendship, and your kids!
My daughter and I bake cookies and then drive around the local village delivering them to the shop keepers. This teaches her giving—with fun attached. My husband and I have date nights as a couple because we are determined to punctuate our life well! I want to encourage you to do the same.
So, beautiful lady, I encourage you and pray that before the alarm clock sounds on another day, you make sure that you add punctuation to your life. Who can you pause for today and encourage? Where do you need to add a full stop? And what moment this week can you mark and enjoy? You only have one life, so spend it well!
Charlotte Gambill is an int’l speaker and author, best known for her messages of life and purpose. Charlotte and her husband, Steve, are the lead pastors at Life Church, England. They have two children, Hope Cherish and Noah Brave. Visit www.lifechurchhome.com.
Hear Charlotte in person, along with award-winning recording artist, Natalie Grant, at “Dare To Be…The Journey Continues” on Jan. 23 from 6-9 p.m. at Wave Church, 1000 N. Great Neck Rd. Women are invited to unwind, be refreshed, and celebrate life with other women in their lives. Learn how to follow your dreams, challenge yourself to do more than you ever thought possible, let go of your fears, and embrace who you truly are. Visit www.daretobeevent.com or call 757-481-5005 for more information. Gen. admission: $20.