When you think about it, signs really are amazing things. In a simple picture or a single word, a sign can convey a life-saving message. If it is understood and followed, the lives of those who see it can be kept safe and on course. However, if it is seen and ignore, or simply missed because of a moment of distraction, the consequences can be quite deadly.
I had an experience many years ago with a sign and it has stayed with me to this day. I was traveling on a crossroad between two county highways, and it was a foggy, rainy day. All three of my sons were in the van with me and they were having their normal brotherly competition, while being strapped down in the back seat. For a brief moment I looked at them in the rear view mirror, giving them “the eye”, and in those few seconds I missed a road sign that flashed by in the fog. Twenty seconds later we drove right through a “T” intersection, crossed the highway, flew in the air over a ditch and came to rest, safe and sound, in a farmers field.
The boys, in childlike fashion, were laughing and loving the thrill ride they had just been on. They, in fact, wanted me to turn around and do it again. I, however, was not laughing, but I did manage to contain my emotions so as not to plant fear into my son’s lives. I simply told the boys, “no, we are not doing that again because we will be late”, and I drove the van out of the field, got back on the road and we continued on our way.
Fortunately for me, and my entire family, I did not suffer the deadly outcome that could have been possible. Had I not been so lucky, my life, those of my sons and the lives of others would be much different than they are today. The point being, when we miss a sign at one point, it has the possibility to make a dramatic, and at times a deadly change in the final outcome of our destination.
Here is another example that happened about two years ago. A local man who lives not far from me, finally retired and bought his dream bike, a big Harley Davidson low rider. He and his wife were still quite active and for months they had been planning what they would do with their free time. They finally decided on a cross-country road trip on that bike. So, the man paid cash for his “Hog” and got his license. One beautiful summer day he took his wife out for their first day trip together, just to test things out.
They took a favorite biker road that is not highly traveled. It is filled with sweeping curves, the smell of pine trees and elevated inclines that lead to dramatic over-looks showing the grandeur of the hills and river valley’s that cover this area. On their drive, his cell phone rang, and contrary to all he had been taught, he reached into his pocket and pulled it out just to see who was calling. At the moment he looked down, he missed the road sign that identified a sharp turn just ahead, and he missed the warning to slow down. As he returned his phone to his jacket pocket they entered the curve but the bike was traveling way too fast. It shifted to the outside edge of the road, went into the gutter and then hit the guardrail. In the impact he lost the lower part of his right leg, but his wife was thrown from the motorcycle and instantly killed. It was a heart-breaking tragedy that did not have to happen if he had simply seen the sign.
I say the above because a new year is quickly coming and I believe it’s time to ask ourselves a few very important questions. #1. What signs am I missing right now because of the fog of activity and the distraction of others in my life? #2. What roads am I on that have warning signs of deadly things ahead, yet I am still answering the unimportant things that should not get my attention? #3. What good things are others doing that I should say “NO” to? If you will focus your life by honestly answering these three questions, who knows what things ahead may yet be avoided.
For some it may save their marriage and for others it may reconnect them to their spouse, children, relatives or friends. For many it may bring them the love and personal relationship with God they have always needed. There will be some who find inner healing, personal growth and new satisfaction in living the life they have. Whatever you might find, it cannot happen unless you make the decision to slow down and look around. Take the time to really see where you are going and who you will impact if things don’t change.
The point in all the above is quite simple. Without honest, personal evaluation, the fog and distraction of life will remain. Unless you are willing to get rid of the unimportant things that consume your time and attention, you are going to eventually hit the guardrails, and what will that cost you and others? Until you learn to say “no” to the good things others are doing, you won’t be able to say “yes” to what God is calling you to do.
In this final blog of 2015, let me encourage you to look for the signs that are all around you. They are found in the people you love, the friends you have and the leaders you respect who speak into your life. If you will take the time to see what they are doing, and hear what they are saying, it could change your life. More than that, it could change the lives of so many others. If you will slow down, unplug, say no and wait, the fog will eventually clear. Who you really are, and what you are really made to do will rise to the surface. I can tell you for a fact, that this is worth waiting for, and if you do it you will not be disappointed!
Have A Merry Christmas And A Blessed And Prosperous New Year