Pat Layton Pat Layton Pat Layton: Sweet Tea for Surrendered Sisters
Pausing to Ponder
I have always loved the words in Luke 2:19 (NIV) that say:

"Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart"

The word "ponder" means to consider something deeply and thoroughly; to meditate; to weigh carefully; to consider thoughtfully.  

Pondering takes being still instead of rushing.
Pondering calls for silence not answers.
Pondering requires quiet. It is an process of the heart, not the head.
Pondering requires a position of submission, not control.

Pondering seems a bit slow to me.
As a matter of fact. The idea is quite fascinating.

A few months ago, we had a consultant come to our ministry. He completed a "test" of sorts on several of the key staff in the ministry, me included. The purpose of the test was to identify the leadership styles of the team in order to help us work together more effectively. My test results came back classifying me  as what the consultant referred to as a "Quick Start". He was actually taken aback by how high my "Quick Start" score was. He had never seen higher. He went on to say that "Quick Starts" are idea people and are often "founders, creators, inventors" of new endeavors. They are people who identify a problem and are "quick" to respond. Every one in the room was nodding their heads as he talked.

I am a high energy, new idea lovin' girl. I like action. I like activity and deadlines. I love "To Do" lists with things marked out or checked off so that I can move on to the next thing. It is not that I don't have the discipline to follow through. I have been in the same ministry for over 20 years and with the same man for 32. But I do love a new thing. I love change and challenges. I love progress and productivity.

Sometimes to a fault. Sometimes I find myself in a life spin that causes me and those around me to feel overloaded. Sometimes, I get so deep in ideas and projects that I have no time to "ponder". No time to be sure that I am on God's track. To hear what He is doing, see what He is doing, stay with what He is doing.

God promises to "never leave us or forsake us". He warns us when we are on overload if we will listen. 

I have been warned.

Over the years that I have lived my life attempting to be surrendered to God, I have had to WORK on not WORKING! I have gotten so much better at this but I tend to "default" to this weakness when I am not careful.
I have not been careful lately.

Over the past few weeks I have locked myself out of my house. Lost my car keys in Walmart. Thrown an important document in the trash can and enjoyed the pleasure of digging it out (there is a word picture in that!), bailed out of a ministry commitment, cancelled some friend time and popped off some emails that look like they were written by a 5 year old.

I think I might need to take a Ponder Break!!

How about you? Has the Holiday season dragged you into overload? Do you find yourself having more to do in a day than the hours will permit? 
Maybe I am all alone in this but I think not. 


I just keep thinking about Mary. About why God chose her. About how she handled the choice the He made to choose her. 
About all that was going on around her. 
About what she was a part of. 
About what she was seeing and knowing.
About her fears. About her faith.

About the things that "she pondered in her heart".

I think I might be due for a Pondering Pause. 

I don't want to miss anything that God has to say to me, or show me or ask of me because I am to "quick" to "start" the next thing.

Mary took the time to ponder and God knew that she would.
I want Him to know that I will as well.











4 Comments:

Anonymous Tim Layton said...

Hey Mom -

Did the test have a scoring category for "being too hard on yourself"? I bet you would have scored high on that one too. It's funny that you post this...I was thinking to myself twenty minutes ago..."If I could JUST figure out a way to have a completely new career every three months!" (and survive). I'm the same way...thanks!

I think you're doing a great job. I know you're a whole lot like me (or maybe it's the other way around) and have a hard time with the "doing great" because of those things like "five year old" emails, Fire Trucks on Turkey Day, and staff nodding there head about a test score (while you wonder "is this good?") where you are, to no little dismay, not perfect.

I like the direction Phil. 4:8...think (ponder) about the good things "whatever is excellent or praiseworthy".

I'll ponder that!

Love,

Tim

Anonymous JaNahn said...

Hi Pat,
I've been enjoying getting to know you on your blog and after reading this entry just had to comment... because I so relate! You are such a blessing!
I'm going to go ponder a bit. :)
Merry Christmas!
JaNahn from Crossroads Church

Blogger Melinda said...

Sweet friend,

This has always been one of my favorite lines of the nativity story, as well. I always imagine her stepping outside the situation to take it all in, thinking to herself, "this is a moment I will never, never forget." The pondering and rolling of the moment to view it from all sides, does require a pull-back of sorts and I always feel it most keenly at the first of a new year.

'Course, with my January, I won't get the opportunity until February for some serious pondering, but I WILL do it. I WILL.

Hugs and loved spending time with you the other day,

Melinda

Blogger Sandy said...

Pat:

I very much relate to this post. I love the way you said you have to work hard at not working. I've often felt like I need to strive to stop striving...try to stop trying...on and on. So very well said.

God has been extremely efficient at causing me to ponder. He has stopped me dead in my tracks time and time again, for weeks at a time.

I believe He's slowly but surely drawing me to a place of complete and total dependency on His timing, His abilities to carry the load, and His knowledge of all that I will face in the coming days.

I'm realizing that He alone knows what I need to do today to prepare for tomorrow.

So I'm learning to listen and obey to what He's asking me to do today...


Nothing more, nothing less.

Your home is lovely. I hope your party was fabulous.

Blessings,
Sandy Cooper
www.godspeakstoday.blogspot.com

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