One of the intersections I pass through every day is at the foot of an interstate off-ramp. Because of the duration of the light pattern, drivers tend to pull out their cell phones, put on their makeup, fix their hair, dust off their dashboard, and even clean the inside of their windshield when the light turns red.
One morning, while sitting five or six cars back in a long line of traffic, the light turned green. As the cars began to stream through the intersection, the car in front of me did not move. As I looked at the driver, their rearview mirror was angled in such a way that I could see that the person was texting. I patiently waited, thinking, “Surely, the movement of other vehicles in their peripheral vision will get their attention." But alas, they obliviously continued staring down at their phone.
Not wanting to be “that guy” who immediately jumps on the horn, I waited. Seconds felt like hours. The guy behind me finally stomped on his accelerator and whipped around us both. When there were no more cars in between the driver and the traffic light, I finally tapped my horn lightly. The driver immediately looked up, realized what happened, and zoomed through the now red light. And, as you guessed, I now was the first person in line waiting for the next green light.
Sitting at the light, I was humored by the irony that the distracted "texter" was driving none other than a Mitsubishi Endeavor.
As I continued driving, my condescending smirk disappeared as the Holy Spirit gently nudged me with the revelation that the person in front of me was not the only one who was obliviously ignoring a green light while in an endeavor.
You see, two years ago, I stepped into a divinely provided endeavor, walking away from the security of executive leadership to build a legacy of encouragement living out my life verse, Isaiah 50:4. It has been a joy watching God graciously provide "an instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary" in numerous and unique ministry settings.
However, this last week, I found myself at that very off-ramp intersection. No, not physically, but instead, spiritually. And, this time, I was the one oblivious to the green light in front of me, sitting in an idling endeavor. And, this time, I was the one distracted, not by a cell phone, but instead, by an employment opportunity. This intriguing job offered the potential for higher pay and the chance to tap into skills from my previous employment. As I shared what I was considering with a couple of my close friends, I was surrounded by affirmation and encouragement to embrace the challenge. So, I applied and interviewed for this seemingly perfect no-brainer. So there I sat. Idling in my endeavor.
I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit is willing to be "that guy" at times. Thankfully, He did not honk a horn in anger at me. Instead, He gently whispered in love to me, saying, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
A wiser man would have immediately set this job opportunity aside and continued through the green light already provided. Instead, I looked up, nodded in acknowledgment of the Holy Spirit's direction, then looked back down at my distraction, choosing to gather more information about this potential job. (This is the part where you use your best Napoleon Dynamite voice and say, "Idiot!").
Not surprisingly, the more I learned about the job, the foggier my mind became. Honestly, the only clear thought in my head was the gracious counsel of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the question was not, "Can I do this job?", but rather, "Should I?" Reflecting on the path that led me to this place, prophetic words spoken over my life, and the lavish way that God has provided resources and equipment in these past two years to do what I am currently doing, my heart settled with this realization. Can I? Yes. Should I? No.
As I clicked "Withdraw Application" on the company's website, I was saturated in God's peace. While walking later in the day, the Lord gently whispered, "I'm proud of you, son." I nearly wept, thankful for God's protective mercy that restrains and for his relentless love that constrains.
Perhaps, though the light is green in your current Spirit-led, God-given "endeavor," you are stopped, distracted by the appeal of a shiny, new opportunity, glistening with potential. Would you pause for a moment and allow the Spirit of Truth to capture your attention with His counsel, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should"?
As you walk this journey of faith, know this, precious one. God does not tease, trick, or dangle carrots in front of us. Instead, out of His profound, relentless, extravagant, and outrageous love, the One who is "generous to everyone... will give you wisdom without criticizing you." He promises, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you" (Psalm 32:8 NLT, James 1:5 NCV). Today, rest in joyful intimacy with God, knowing that the Lord will, indeed, fulfill His purpose for you! (Psalm 138:8 ESV).
Did you know there is a Volume 2 of 31 Days of Encouragement? Purchase on-line today! With beautiful simplicity, these 'keep one ~ share one' devotionals open reader's eyes to the activity of God in their every day lives and encourage them to take another step in their faith journey.