in the practice of stopping

Written by Nikole Hahn

Nikole Hahn is a recovering perfectionist blogging at "Life Upside Down" at She is also the publisher of The Relevant Christian Magazine (@TRCMagazine). She is a member of Word Weavers International, a book reviewer, writer, and coffee addict.

April 30, 2011

Why didn’t they stop? I wondered that years ago when my world crumbled like old Roman architecture. Business meetings continued; church continued; chores wouldn’t wait; and the world continued fast and furious, in a hurry, always late, and I wanted to throw up my hands and yell, “I”m in pain. Why don’t you care?”

I often think of those moments. Usually, it’s when I am walking or driving somewhere and I see someone, a face, walking somewhere, going somewhere, always moving. I have made it a habit of practicing the art of stopping. I stop when a friend asks me to stop. I stop when the phone rings and my mother-in-law needs me. I stop when my husband is having a bad day. I stop and realize that in the practice of stopping I notice other things, too.

Like the little boy who ran across the grass today–I noticed him. His mother chased after him. The sun light sprinkled over the green grass and contrasted against the generous tree trunks hugging the ground. The bees buzzed from yellow flower to yellow flower unmindful of our blanket spread across the grass—an impromptu picnic with my husband. The smell of a cigar somewhere in the plaza and the laughter of a little girl playing chase around the trunk of another tree made me playfully push my husband to the ground. He, of course, pushed back, and we laughed.

Those are the things I notice when I stop. Stopping allows a friend to approach me and stopping allows for more than the shallow, “how are you?” to pass from our lips expecting nothing more than a, “fine, thank you,” from the person (and in fact, wanting nothing more than a, “fine, thank you.” ).  The stopping allows for prayer. It allows for so much more richness in our lives than what we presently allow. It allows room for God to grow in us through His Word. But we have to practice stopping.

Outside our personal space there exists a whole world. Beyond the everyday lunches, school work, the soccer schedules, the quiet afternoons, the family squabbles, the gossip, the neighbors annoying cat, and the barking dog are the people God loves who don’t know Him. They buy into false doctrine. They continue to believe things that don’t jive with the Bible. They live every day making concessions to sin, believing even that they aren’t worthy of God’s love or forgiveness. That’s the world we need to practice stopping for and continue to show them that they are worthy if they only believe in the man who walked willingly to the cross. Believing in Him is so much more than a rock ‘n roll-like Christian culture; it’s living in the everyday working with calloused hands and not flinching at the broken pasts or the bleeding scars.

Do you stop? What do you notice when you stop?


  1. Kathleen Beard

    What a wonderful insight. Stopping right in the middle of life, busyness, hurrying to get somewhere, just to look around and observe life around us. I like this better than the old “stop and smell the roses” cliche, it speaks of so much more than just roses. Thanks Nikki.

    • Nikole Hahn

      I was inspired to write this when a network friend posted about being sick inside and the world not stopping. It made me remember those painful couple of years when no one noticed my pain. Things went on as normal and I thought, what if we just stopped?

  2. Sheila Lagrand

    Stopping is risky. Which is why we must. Thanks for reminding me of that, Nikole,

  3. Andrew Brewer

    Great reminder, Nikole! I oftentimes think that stopping will halt me from being productive and fruitful with my life. Yet, just as you remind us of this in your post, it’s usually the stopping, not the running, that prove to be most fruitful! Thanks and many blessings

    • Nikole Hahn

      Thanks for stopping by, Andrew! Stopping is quite fruitful.


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in the practice of stopping

by Nikole Hahn time to read: 2 min