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What Does STOP Mean to You?

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I have a bad habit that habitually gets me in trouble: I disregard ROAD CLOSED signs. Painful lessons associated with this habit have a way of never dying, perhaps because they are kept alive by new episodes.  

A recent version comes to mind. In fact, each time I drive past a certain intersection, I tremor with embarrassment. I would prefer to just turn my head and look away. The location and I share a secret I now bring myself to confess.

On a particular day, I was in a hurry and had a lot to do. Racing out of my home, I set out on the dark cloudy afternoon with low blood sugar and high expectations. Productivity was my goal, and nothing would deter.

The ROAD CLOSED sign was not part of my plan. So, I thought to myself, "That sign may be there for others, but it is not there for me. I need to use this road, and I need to use it now."

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Well…this self serving attitude launched me down an asphalt version of chaos. Determination kept propelling me forward, and as long as no one was looking, I felt quite fine about “driving” ahead. Covering several miles, I assured myself this was the right decision and it would land me where I needed to be much sooner than if I had taken the well marked detour. After all, detours are for sissies. I quite relished the fact that I actually had the road all to myself.

Until I rounded a curve...and found myself face to face with two imposing versions of the latest in road equipment. Their presence left no option. I had been bested.

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Forced to turn around, I struggled with a dicey three-point turn—now invoking the help of The Almighty— and barely avoided a nasty looking drop off. In a semblance of humility, I delicately drove back to the point of decision at the intersection, and all the while holding my breath that no one would see me.

Once I was back at the point of error, I dutifully took the detour. Whew. I will never do that again.

Oh really? At least not until the same opportunity came up a brief two weeks later.

Again, I found myself in the same spot, faced with the same decision. I thought, “Surely they don’t mean ROAD CLOSED still. They failed to remove the sign—this is just a good suggestion. I know can get through. After all, this way is much faster that going around. I do not have time for a detour, and I am confident I can poke my way through.

Let me spare you the details and just say, that once again I did not stop, I did not heed the warning, and I barreled right through the ROAD CLOSED sign. And, yes, I once again met the same modern day version of Balaam’s Donkey in the form of menacing pieces of road equipment.

Is STOP only a road sign, or could it possible be a life sign as well? What if we listened to the Holy Spirit and took heed when told not to proceed?

Would conversations be transformed if we obeyed STOP?

Would relationships be preserved if we honored STOP?

Would marriages be saved if we observed STOP?

Would fellowship be preserved if we respected STOP? 

Ah, but we are quick to ignore the ROAD CLOSED signs, and we rush ahead to give our opinions, defend ourselves, and pass judgment.

Why don’t we just  STOP? I am not completely sure, but I am at least attempting to be more respectful of the sign when I see it.

Living With Eternal Intentionality

When is the last time,  in a conversation, that you should have stopped and did not? In a decision?