My husband and I came upon the above awkwardness one afternoon while we were out and about. Me, being the weird person that I am, took this picture for a laugh. But as the months have worn on, I keep scrolling back through my photos to look at this particular one. Like the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words,” this picture has definitely been speaking to me.
Right about now, my life looks like this sign. I’m here, but I’m pulled in so many different directions. In all appearances, I’m still mom, wife, daughter, friend – just as this is still a stop sign – somedays I’m simply just hanging on by a thread. I have meals to cook, a house to clean, bills to pay, fights to break up, endless running for baseball games, grocery shopping, appointments, planning for a new homeschool year, stress over life changes, new relationships to build, the endless thoughts to write down and the list goes on and on and on…..
I find myself so caught up in just living that I no longer enjoy the things that define who I am. So at 2:05 AM, here I am. I’m so thankful that when I’ve got nothing left, the Lord awakens me and speaks life and hope back in to my exhausted being. I’ve come to the place where I need to S.T.O.P.
Stop. Tarry. Observe. Proceed. Just take a moment here to appreciate the acronym. And yes, I truly came up with this myself. 🙂 I actually want to give the Holy Spirit His credit. These words were spoken to my heart and like I said, I share here in case anyone else needs a little encouragement.
STOP. We all need to come to a complete stop, don’t just continue rolling while casually glancing around when you see the signs telling you otherwise. Stop taking on more than you can handle. Stop letting others dictate your life for you. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop being stubborn. Stop holding on. Take a moment to focus. Where am I? What direction do I need to go?
TARRY. Wait. Listen. Linger in expectation. Turn down the distractions. It’s while you’re waiting, watching, and listening that you’re more capable of making the best choices. You’re more conscious of those around you and the consequences of your choices. And good things come to those who wait, right? Don’t make rash decisions, patiently linger.
OBSERVE. Using your past experiences (mirrors, if you will), are you headed to a place you’ve been before or on a road you said you’d never travel? Is this what you want or what God wants for your life? Be aware of any danger ahead or coming at you from behind. Life has a way of running us over. Be on the lookout for pedestrians. God places us where we can be used by Him, to minister to a lost or hurting soul, those places can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but oh so worth it. And sometimes, we are the lost and hurting soul that needs to receive.
PROCEED. (slowly and with caution)…. If you know all is well, continue toward your destination. Live on, but obey the signs – burnout, depression, anxiety, health issues, overwhelming stress, financial difficulties, marital problems, constant chaos – those are all signs to STOP and check your gauges. You’ll go nowhere without gas, water, and/or oil. In other words, we need to take care of ourselves. Eat right, get plenty of sleep, take vitamins, drink water, visit the doctor, ask for help and most importantly and number one on the list make sure you’re getting in time with the Lord -quality time. And if at the stopping point you realize your on the wrong road, it’s a perfect place to turn around.
I’m at a STOP right now. I’ve got priorities to rearrange. I’ve been driving way too fast lately, I’ve missed out on my slow, quiet moments. I’ve also been selfishly going on my own. Thankfully, the Lord knows me so well. He uses my struggles to teach me lifes biggest lessons. As I give the wheel (and my will) back to Him, I’m going to focus on the following verses, these are reminders that He knows best.
Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21
I will lead the blind by a way they do not know; I will guide them in paths that they do not know. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These things I will do [for them], and I will not leave them abandoned or undone. Isaiah 42:16
Praying for you!