I complained about the road work.
Typically, I zip around this tiny town of mine, back and forth all day every day, transporting children. Pick this child up. Drop her off. Go back and get the other child. Drive her somewhere else. Return to the first location to pick up one child and deposit another.
This schedule has been meticulously planned out. I have charted the routes I travel, timed stoplights, and considered traffic flow.
We have exactly 12 minutes to drive from one place to another and it takes exactly 12 minutes to make that drive. No second to spare.
Then they decide to repave my main thoroughfare.
I sit for over five minutes staring at a man in an neon orange jacket holding a STOP sign. I start out cheerful. It’s a beautiful day. I enjoy the sun. I even feel spiritual and pray, “Thanks, God, for this lovely morning.”
I am proud of how well I’m handling the delay.
Then I start rifling through the papers on the seat next to me. I collect some of the trash that accumulates everywhere in a minivan when you have four kids.
Then I grow impatient. I start sighing and tapping my fingers on the steering wheel.
When that fails, I grit my teeth and talk to the hapless man still standing there with that sign that is halting all my progress for the day, “Come on!”
Eventually, he spins that sign around from STOP to SLOW and I am finally released to normal driving, which at this point means being stuck at a stoplight behind a long line of other cars with equally frustrated drivers for another 5 minutes.
I left my house 10 minutes early because of the construction and I’m still 5 minutes late. I’m flustered and bothered, annoyed, stressed.
So I whine to this woman, and she says to me, “That’s when I know it’s time to stop and BREATHE. God gives me these moments so I just listen to what He has to say for a bit.”
This month, in my 12-month pursuit of the presence of Christ, I’m taking breaks for beauty. I’m seeking out the beauty of the Lord by marveling at the beauty He creates.
And still I got it wrong. He gave me moments to rest in His presence, to enjoy the beauty of a spring day (from inside my minivan) and I fretted and fought instead.
In an hour, I will walk my four-year-old daughter, my baby girl, into a brick school filled with cheerful classrooms and hand over the papers to register her for kindergarten.
She is excited. Every 30 minutes this morning, she asks me if it’s time to go.
I am sad. I decide maybe we can just wait another 10 minutes. Could she just be my baby girl 10 minutes more? And then another 10?
Tomorrow I will place my 6-month-old son on a doctor’s scale and marvel at how he’s grown. I’ll probably come home all proud and tell my husband how big this baby boy is, how strong, how healthy.
But really my momma heart will mourn a little because six months never went by so fast.
So when God gives me 10 extra minutes in that minivan to stop, to rest, to breathe, to listen to His voice…surely I should relax into His presence.
This lesson chafes hard against my driven soul. God brings me here again and again and again.
And I wrestle instead.
Funny how 10 minutes of inactivity can be more stressful to me than a whole day of rushing from task to task.
If I want to feel God’s presence in the going and the doing, I must willingly remain in His presence during the resting and the being.
God gave Moses this great task, leading a nation from slavery to promise, but He also gave this assurance:
The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14 NIV)
The rest is in His presence whether that’s driving from place to place or idling in front of a STOP sign for 10 minutes.
The rest is there because His presence is there.
Today, let us enjoy the gift of time He gives, the gift of quiet moments and unexpected pauses, the blessing of His presence in the rushing and in the stillness, the beauty of His voice in the whisper and in the storm, the time with those we love because that time just rushes right along.
To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below! Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Enjoy Beauty’?
- Finding Room to Breathe: A 12-month pursuit of the presence of Christ
- January: Be Still and Know
- February: Pray Simply
- March: Unplug
- April: Enjoy Beauty
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King
3 thoughts on “What to do (and what not to do) when staring at a STOP sign for more than 5 minutes”
A much needed reminder!
Because Abba blessed me 5 years ago with my desire to retire from my career & enjoy life as a homemaker, TIME has become a central part my growth in Him. He has taken away my stress & replaced it with time to practice being & growing in His presence. I don’t succeed every day, but am grateful for His grace when I do. I love the common sense behind using a stop sign as time to enter into His presence. So simple a lesson. Thank you Abba. And thank you Heather for sharing His lesson to you.
Sometimes I need those physical objects and reminders to apply the lessons He is teaching me!