Reflect in your heart while on your bed and be silent. Selah (Psalm 4:4b CSB).
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I open my eyes to a new day and it’s hard to resist rushing into it. I’m learning the power of pausing, inspired by the invitation found in Psalm 4:4. “Reflect in your heart while on your bed and be silent. Selah” The word “Selah” appears over seventy times in the book of Psalms, yet in many ways it remains a mystery because there is no English equivalent.
Author and worship pastor Jason Soroski says, “Many commentators think that Selah meant ‘to pause’ or ‘to reflect’. This could have been a request for the reader or listener to pause and think about what has just been said, or it could have been a space for voices to pause and for instruments to play alone. We don’t really know for certain.”
What I do know for certain is that I need moments of Selah in my life. I used to think “busy” was a badge of honor, that it proved I had worth and was wanted. I saw anything like Selah as an interruption. But after ending up on the brink of burnout a few years ago, I began to see it as an invitation.
Our God didn’t design us for maximum productivity but for relational intimacy. We so easily forget this and think we’re on this earth to do as much as we can as quickly as we can. But the One who spoke the world into being in six days has no trouble with his to-do list.
What if the pauses in our lives are more important than what we can produce? To be honest, this question scares me. To come to God as I am with nothing in my hands seems to be an act of great vulnerability. But this is exactly why I need Selah. Because without pausing I forget how much I’m loved. I forget I have nothing to prove. I forget that I’m not made for striving but for relationship.
Selah is placed with intention throughout the Psalms. We can also place it intentionally throughout our days. It’s tempting to think we need to wait until we go on vacation or even retire to slow down. But Selah can be found in the here and now, wherever we are.
Selah goes well with morning coffee, with the cozy corner of a couch, prayer closets, and carpool lines. Anywhere we can find a sliver of time. Selah doesn’t demand hours. It asks only for a deep breath, a few moments, and a little rest in the middle of the rush.
As we focus on the cross and resurrection, let’s also remember God placed a holy, powerful pause between the two.
Dear God, You invite us not to productivity but to intimacy. When we’re tempted to hurry through our days, draw us back to Your heart. Show us how to not only choose Selah in big ways but in small, everyday ones—especially during this Easter season.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What is one way you’ll intentionally incorporate Selah into your life this week?
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Holley Gerth is passionate about helping women thrive in who God created them to be. Her latest book, Introvert by Design: A Guided Journal for Living with New Confidence in Who You’re Created to Be, releases soon. For more about the book or to take a quick (free!) quiz to see what percent introvert you are, visit holleygerth.com/introverts.
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