Hoping to share the love, joy, and grace I have received in my own life.

Running Stop Signs

on November 2, 2017

Have you ever run a stop sign?  I did.  Yesterday morning on my way to work, I ran a stop sign that I have stopped at hundreds of times.  I didn’t crash.  No one was hurt.  I narrowly missed a van that had the right of way on the highway that I crossed as I passed by that glaring red octagon.  Oddly enough, the van kept going and I pulled over to collect myself.  That was a wake up call to me.  Although I have known for the past two weeks that something in my life had to change, it took me running a stop sign (which could have been deadly to both myself or someone else) to make me realize this was serious and I really needed to make a change.

Our lives get so filled with things to do that we start missing the really important things (like a stop sign.)  As a full-time seminary student, a full-time church employee, a full-time mother/wife, other family obligations, a volunteer/nominated servant of the church where I am a member, and all the things we all do to get through this life…my life is jam packed.  I have known for a few weeks that something had to change.  I am getting sleepier, more stressed, not feeling my joyful self, and really out-of-sorts.  I cling to all the things on my to-do list, because I don’t feel like there is anything I can let go of.  I don’t want to let anyone down. As I was driving to work yesterday, thinking of the multiple worship teams I am on for seminary, all of the reading and writing that I need to get done, projects at my job, struggles that many people I love are facing, the annual church conference for my home church coming in just a few days, and all the other normal life duties that we all have, I ran right through a stop sign.

It woke me up.  I think that’s why it happened.  I think that I needed something to shake me and wake me from the downward spiral I was on.  Yes, it’s only been a few weeks.  Yes, people have way worse lives than mine.  I am not complaining.  I love my life, but yesterday was my warning that I was missing more than a stop sign.  As I have written about before, for several years now I have been spending the first 30 (or more) minutes of my day with God.  Most often I read a devotion of some sort.  then I look to Scripture to discern what I have read and then pray and listen for God.  It is a practice that I had no idea would become life-giving to me, but meeting with God every day saved my life.  Do you know what I wasn’t doing the two weeks prior to running the stop sign?  I wasn’t spending my first 30 minutes with God.  I needed 30 more minutes of sleep.  I needed to stay up 30 minutes later to complete an assignment.  I needed 30 more minutes to catch up on laundry, sweeping…the list goes on and on.

I am blessed with so many wonderful people in my life.  On Monday between classes, a couple of my peers (thank you, Mark & Kellen!) at seminary helped me discern a few things that I could let go of to get back on track.  One of them recognized I wasn’t myself.  Then yesterday, Pastor Rob, my boss/mentor/friend listened to my lamenting and talked me through all of it without making me feel like a total train wreck.  His last wise words to me were, “First, get that 30 minutes back.”  So I did.  This morning I got up at that early hour and continued a study that I abandoned in July when I started studying for seminary.  I am confident it was not ironic that the lesson that I returned to was a lesson about my neglect of my time with God.

I read and reflected on Exodus 34:28-35.  Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai after receiving the Ten Commandments from God and from being in God’s presence, Moses’ face is so radiant that the Israelites were afraid to look at him.  This was the perfect lesson for me today for a couple reasons.  For one, I was able to share a part of it with my husband, to help him with something that he has been discerning.  For two, I was reminded that the mark of radiance on Moses faded.  The greater the gap of time since he had climbed the mountain, the more his radiance dissipated.  The two weeks that I did not begin my mornings with God, my radiance dissipated, too.  I wasn’t reflecting the radiance of my God, who assures me that although I may not make time for God, God is always making time for me.  I can’t do it all, but to be the best me and to keep working towards being the best Christian/mother/wife/friend/pastor I can be, I need to keep my eyes on the One who has brought me this far.  Also a nugget of wisdom from Rob, I need “to say “no” to a few things now, so that I can say “yes” to more important things later.” I am hoping that as I get through the next few days the radiance in my heart (and hopefully on my face) from my time with God will return and I will be back on track.  On my drive to work this morning, I didn’t run a stop sign.



One response to “Running Stop Signs

  1. Leah Clue Vanstone says:

    Oh yes we have all been there 😦 so distracted by our bussiness…Thanking God you are safe and praying your “Yes can be Yes and your No be No ” …James 5:12 💒

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