Have you ever noticed the Hebrew word Selah in the book of Psalms? While there's much debate over it's full meaning, many take it to be a rest (similar to the rest symbol in sheet music)--signifying the need to pause and ponder what was written. However accurate this may be, I've taken to heeding the call to pause and ponder as I'm reading the Psalms.
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah." (Psalm 68:19)
That's definitely worth pausing to ponder. I need to rest there a while. He daily bears my burdens. The full weight and significance of that is easy to miss if I skim over it or quickly move past it. Selah reminds me to stop and let it sink in.
"I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done. I spread out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land. Selah." (Psalm 143:5-6)
If I don't bother to camp out there a bit, I miss the whole point of the passage. I'd quickly read onto the next verse--"Answer me quickly, O Lord..."--without bothering to first remember, meditate, consider, and thirst for Him. Yes, the Selah is perfectly positioned.
My soul is in need of a selah. It needs to pause, rest, slow down, and pull back. It needs to be still, fully hear, and be embraced by total peace. It needs to linger instead of hurry, remain rather than rush, hold fast instead of let go, loiter rather than leave.
Between the demands of our culture and my own personality, selah is very hard for me. It's hard to slam on the breaks when I've been going full-steam-ahead for so long. Cognitively, I understand that it's not only fine but necessary for me to slow down. It's still hard for my heart to accept and do.
But it's time. And I know it.
I am trying to heed the call to pause and ponder.