Have things ever gotten out of hand in your life? Sometimes things get out of hand in a good way. Like that time you won a new car, but couldn’t pick it up because you were on that 6-month long vacation around the world, celebrating the fact that Ben & Jerry’s named an ice cream flavor after you. Okay… so maybe we are mostly overwhelmed by negative things. Like that time you couldn’t take a vacation because your old car broke down and all you could afford to eat was generic brand ice cream sandwiches. Things do tend to snowball. One baseball manager said, “Losing streaks build faster than winning streaks.”
Sometimes you just need to stop the swell of losses and reset. This happens during a season, and during a game. During a game each team has a certain number of opportunities to stop the clock. These are called ‘time-outs’. Coaches can use time-outs for whatever reason they like. But a coach will often use a time-out to stop the momentum of the opposing team. This is especially true in fast paced games like basketball. The game may be close, and then all of a sudden the other team goes on a run, out-scoring your team 12-2. A game that was tied at 15 is suddenly 27-17. The crowd has come alive with deafening cheers, and the atmosphere becomes so heavy, the players have a difficult time turning the tide. This can happen even if a team is in the lead. If your team is leading by 12 points, and within a minute the opposing team scores 10 unanswered points, the momentum shift may require you to call a time-out before things get crazy.
In life, we have momentum shifts. There are times when the enemy makes a serious run at us. The tide turns. Though you were winning last month, things change and instead of feeling like you having the tiger by the tail, you sense the tiger has you by his teeth. You are drowning in trouble. A bad doctors report, your car is in the shop, you have to meet with your child’s teacher because of disciplinary issues, and your boss is about to lay off a couple of people in your department, and you are sure your name is on that short list. Life has quickly become overwhelming for you… and not in a good way. You hear spectators cheering against you, and your own friends are actually booing you. It may be time to call a time-out. Take a minute to reset your strategy, catch your breath, and stop the momentum.
Taking a time-out may be the last thing you think you can do… but you can, and you should at the right time. During a time-out you can pray. You can think. You can breathe deeply. You can read the Bible. You can call that friend in your life who is truly encouraging and always brings a good word into your life. The enemy will try and make you think that you have to keep running at 100 miles an hour. But you have time-outs available to you. You don’t gain any points by stopping the clock The score will not change during your time-out. But you will. And you will set yourself up to step back into the game refreshed and with a new attitude.
Calling a time-out in life does not mean you are losing. It means you don’t want to get so caught up by the whirlwind of opposition that you lose your bearings and mission. It shows that you will control the tempo of life instead of letting it control you. Sometimes you take time out on the weekend, but honestly every day there need to be times that you stop play in order to get your game together. Even Jesus did this. The disciple Luke records this, “The news about Jesus spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16)
Use your time-outs wisely today… but use them. As a cool side note, there are two types of time-outs in basketball. There is a full time-out, which is 60 seconds. And there are also 20-second time-outs. Sometimes you need a minute to reset. Other times you just need a few seconds. Utilize both of these in your life today. There are also time-outs called by the officials during a game. These are mandatory clock-stoppages if the teams have not used their own time-outs by a certain point. When God stops your life for a minute, take advantage of that to re-order your life.
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.