Have You Had Your Smoke Break Today?

I was standing at the counter waiting to check out, when one of the employees told the manager that she was going on her smoke break. As I was driving home, I saw a large congregation standing outside, at the back of the building where they’re employed. They were lifting up smoke offerings.

Now, this post isn’t about smoking, really. Not at all. I’m not going to mention the dangers of inhaling carcinogens, or talk about the heart issue behind addictions. Nope. So, if that’s where you think I’m going, I hope you’ll change course with me for a moment.

The point of that opening illustration is . . . smokers typically can’t go through a day without getting their nicotine fix. They arrange their life and schedule around it. They break up their work day with it. They use it as a diversion when the pressures mount.

When I was a waitress in high-school, when I was a school teacher, when I was the mommy of very active little ones, and even when I worked in a Dallas high-rise, I had to have my “smoke” break too, but it wasn’t to lift up literal smoke offerings from a cigarette. Even today, I’ve stopped working a few times and stepped outside to take my break.

But, I’m lifting up a different kind of offering when I have my “smoke break.”

My break isn’t so I can smoke, but so I can “Selah.”

Have you built the action of “Selah” into your day? 

What I mean by that is, are you intentional in taking worship breaks where you “lift up offerings” to the Lord?

Let me explain what I mean by using Psalm 3:4 for an example:

[box]“I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah”[/box]

That word at the end of this verse is extremely important.

This small word is inserted no less than seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in the little book of Habakkuk. It may be a musical directive (scholars have debated its exact purpose for years). But one thing we do know, it is giving purposeful direction to the reader.

Selah is an action word, a verb, and the literal translation is: “to lift up, exalt.” 

When I see the word “Selah” it is God’s personal reminder that it’s time for me to: Pause and lift up worship; exalt God with an offering of praise.

My favorite way to do this is to step outside (the 16th floor of the Dallas sky-scraper wasn’t too handy for this part), close my eyes for just a moment, and take a deep inhale of God’s grace. I focus on His truth, His mercy, His faithfulness, or His steadfast lovingkindness. I focus on God’s character and spend a moment briefly worshiping Him. I think about what He taught me in the Word that morning, or I spend some moments just crying out to Him and expressing gratitude that He’s listening.

The Benefits of Selah:

  • Selah doesn’t take long; your boss won’t be robbed of work time.
  • Selah doesn’t require any accessories.
  • Selah doesn’t negatively impact your health.
  • Selah can be “habit forming” but not in a destructive kind of way.
  • Selah can happen while you’re loading the dishwasher or folding laundry.
  • Selah takes you into God’s presence which translates into “fullness of joy.”
  • The offering you lift up during Selah is free of offensive smoke and can be performed inconspicuously in a crowd of people.
  • Selah allows for needed moments of rest from the pressures of a stressful day.
  • Selah takes your heart to the throne of God . . . and that is always a good thing.
  • Selah values and glorifies God—and that’s why we’re here.

So instead of a smoke break, how about asking your employer for a “Selah” break today?

Have you had one, yet?

Image courtesy of usamedeniz/


  • Chris

    Kim! I LOVE this analogy … I’m getting ready to walk down to the chickens … I think I’ll ‘Selah” along the way! Thank you… 🙂 “I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah”

  • Sheila

    Actually, a “smoke” break is quite appropriate as we offer up the “burning incense” of intercession, which is so pleasing to God. It’s a much better option than giving my mind and heart over to anger and hatred, especially with all that is going on in our world today, and especially in many so-called “Christian” circles.

    Psalm 119:53 (NASB)
    Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.

    So, my hope is to turn my burning anger into “holy smoke.”

    Thank you for the reminder calling me back to my assignment!

    God bless!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Sheila ~

    Thank you for adding that thought and Scripture to this concept, so appropriate! Enjoy moments of Selah this week!

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Neat, Chris! Glad you’re already applying it!! I love that He invites us to moments of “selah” whether it’s on our way to the chicken pen or in the middle of bumper-to-bumper traffic!! 🙂