Guest Blog: Katie Tippett Introduces Selah ~ Pause and Praise

Guest Blog: Katie Tippett Introduces Selah ~ Pause and Praise

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Five years ago, I put my fussy baby in the car and started driving. She didn’t want to nap, but she was just so tired. And sometimes a car ride would soothe her. I had so much to do, but she was screaming, and I was desperate for just a moment to myself. I was a new mom in a new city. I had no friends, and 3 part time jobs. We had moved to a new place – this pretty little island – for a fresh start. But it just didn’t seem to be clicking. We had given up so much security to make this move because we felt led – guided – to THIS place. And now? I was honestly just exhausted. I had no direction. I was dragging my baby all over town to my day jobs, and handing her off to my husband at bedtime to go to my night time job. I felt like everything was a big mistake. Why did God bring me here?

Island lifeAs I drove endless loops around the island, I gritted my teeth and tried to sing soothingly. I didn’t want her to pick up on my anxiety. I wanted to be a place of rest and peace for my baby. So with a white knuckled grip on the steering wheel, I sang lullabies while my heart wrenched wildly for answers. And then, finally, silence in the back seat. She had dozed off, but I didn’t dare stop driving or singing for a long time. I focused on signing lullabies in the quiet car, feeling alone and wondering what it was all for.

After a few songs in the quiet stillness, the tears began to fall. I wept all by myself in the car with my sleeping baby riding peacefully in the back seat. My tears turned me to prayer, and I angrily asked God, Why did you lead me here? This is not working. I feel like I’m meant for more than being exhausted. What do you want from me?

Expecting silence – nothingness – I was surprised when He answered me. As if He were right there in my passenger seat – a gentle friend, unafraid of my tears and my anger – He breathed peace over me, Stop. Lay this all down. Be still and focus on your family now, and I will do the rest. Trust Me. I have a plan for you.

I breathed deep and calm, but my heart raced with the excitement of His presence. I found my resolve in Him, and that day, I began to lay it all down.

Waves of LifeI left 2 of my jobs, and within a year, I would leave the last job as well. I withdrew myself from social media, and turned my attention to my little family. In the beginning I was bored and lonely and confused. When I was busier, it was easier to avoid my pain. But now at home with my baby and no distractions, I was forced to face my pain. And over time, God worked in my heart, and a question rose to the surface.

I asked myself this one question when I was struggling with contentment, overwhelmed with uncertainty, or exhausted from mothering a toddler while pregnant with the next babe. I asked it again and again when I felt lonely, or without purpose, or even apart from God, I asked it – a question that would eventually evolve into my mantra, my mission, my message born from my mess. I would ask simply, Where is my joy in this moment? And I would search for whatever sliver of truth or beauty I could find in that very moment. Once I found it, I said only, Thank You for Your gift.

This very small and simple practice made a thousand mundane moments meaningful. It shaped a vision and a purpose in my life. It glorified God in the in between spaces of mothering – the dish washing and the rocking and the laundry and the vacuuming. Those spaces became sacred and holy spaces – overflowing with gifts of grace from my Father. My joy in a moment might come from the color of my baby’s hair or the sound of her laugh. It might come from the feeling of a cool breeze at my back or from the flash of a bright red cardinal swooping across my yard. Miracles abounded. When I just looked.

After months of this practice, I stumbled across a word in Psalms – Selah. It felt lyrical and lovely, and it appealed to me instantly. When I looked up the meaning, I knew God was naming the question I had been asking myself.

[bctt tweet=”Selah means to pause and reflect – or give praise.” username=”songdovemd”]It’s mostly used in the Psalms to prompt a pause in reading – as if instructing the reader to pause and find the value in the passage. And isn’t that exactly what I had trained myself to do in my life? Pause and find the value? Pause and praise.? Selah. It was named. And when something is named, it is known and knowable. Once Selah – my practice of pause and praise – was named, I began teaching it. And today I’ve taught it to hundreds of women. Selah is why God told me to be still. It’s why He needed me to sit in my pain. It’s what He needed me to learn to transform my own life, and to love His people better. He needed me to be still so He could prepare me for the work he had laid out for me. It is still the message in my heart and my prayer for you – to learn to Selah. You can do it right now, where you are, whatever your life looks like. He is waiting for you to be still so He can show you something beautiful.

So sister, if you find yourself in a season of uncertainty, overwhelm, or exhaustion – or if your life just doesn’t look the way you thought it would – keep your heart. The God of the universe crafted you for purpose and for abundance. So Selah. And see all that He has prepared for you.

And the best part? Friend, He tells us just what to do find Him in the midst of it all. He gives us a plan right here in Scripture:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8).

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Do you see it? He’s telling us to train our minds. To control our thoughts. Take every thought captive…

So what’s flowing through your mind today? Can you take captive every thought? Can you think about what’s lovely and pure and noble and praiseworthy? Once you can, then you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. He’s waiting to show you what He has for you. Selah, sister. Pause and praise. And you’ll find Him.

You can practice Selah in any moment. At a red light, washing the dishes, in car line, doing your makeup, changing a diaper, cooking dinner, or paying bills…pause, breathe, and name what you find. There will be good right there in that moment. And you know what? Nothing is too small to be named. Nothing is too insignificant to point to God. It could be your baby’s smile or your hot coffee. It could be the roof over your head or the sun on your face. It’s all abundance and it’s all meant to be delighted in. So delight in it. Don’t hold back. Grab every true and beautiful piece of your every day life and praise God for it. If you can do that, you can change your life.

Love + Light,


From the Selah Toolbox:
To start practicing Selah, you’ll need a plan. A great tool to begin your own practice is to set a few pause and praise triggers throughout your day. Think through your day and find a few spaces in your day that you can make pause and praise triggers. Every time you come to the trigger, no matter your current state of mind, just take a deep breath and pause to look for reasons to praise. One of my triggers is a sign over my couch. It says Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. I can see it from my kitchen sink, and every night after dinner, when the kids are running wild and my back hurts and there’s a sink full of dishes, I take my place to start washing and I see that sign. It triggers me to reframe my situation. Instead of feeling like a tired mama with an aching back, I begin to see myself as a daughter of a King. Blessed with beautiful and lively babies, a strong body, and a wildly abundant life. Try creating your own triggers and let me know how it goes!

Katie TippettKatie is the founder of Selah St. Simons, where she coaches women to transform their lives by renewing their minds. She is the creator of The Selah Journal and the The Selah Journal for Kids. And she lives in St. Simons Island, GA with her husband, Jordan and their three daughters. You can connect with Katie at

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