April Yamasaki’s book invites the reader to ask a series of important questions: What would it take to feel renewed every day? What if we could take time out every day to be refreshed by God?
If you think a life like this is beyond your reach, if you’re too busy to read a book that asks these questions, or are concerned doing so will simply add to your to-do list and your sense of guilt that you should be doing more, then April Yamasaki’s new book Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal is the book for you.
The first thing I did when I received my copy was flip to the Table of Contents. The second thing was flip to the Recommended Resources. Both suggested this was a book that was worth my attention. I was particularly thrilled to see that Yamasaki devotes an entire chapter to the subject of having fun.
Yamasaki weaves theological and theoretical context with personal stories. Her book is divided into 18 chapters with each chapter describing a different type of sacred pause including creating space, slowing down, praying it like it is, getting outside, and ending well. Readers are invited to “Feel free to use this book in any way that works for you.” It can be read cover-to-cover, or the reader may dive right into the “sacred pause” that most appeals.
Each chapter also includes a description of how to put that particular sacred pause into practice in daily life. Rather than a prescriptive “How to slow down” or “How to engage Scripture,” these sections feel more like brainstorming sessions, inviting the reader to explore and experiment with the best way to engage this value in his or her own life. The chapter on “Making Music” for example, includes suggestions for listening to, moving to, or making your own music.
Yamasaki is lead pastor at Emmanual Mennonite Church, Abbotsford, B.C., who also blogs and has taught at Columbia Bible College. Her writing style is invitational and encouraging. There are no guilt trips here. Rooting her ideas in Scripture, her personal experiences as a follower of Christ, and as a pastor, Yamasaki invites the reader to believe another kind of life is possible – a life where the answer to the question, “How are you?” isn’t “Busy,” but “Thriving.”
Helping people recover from busy sickness and develop balanced lives that allow them to be the person that God created them to be is a personal passion of mine. Sacred Pauses is a good book to begin to explore that sort of life-style; I look forward to sharing it with people I care about.
—Rachel Twigg Boyce is pastor of House Blend Ministries, Winnipeg.