When You Face Yellow Lights in Your Life
I was glancing out the window at an interesting landmark when I heard my three-year-old chattering along.
“Green means go. Yellow means slow.”
I whipped my head around to look at the traffic light we were speedily approaching, which had been green just a moment ago, and made a split-second decision to press the gas. My infant was sleeping in her car seat in the back, and I knew a brusque halt would jolt her awake. We easily cleared the intersection while driving under that yellow light, and I thought we were safe.
“Mama,” a surprisingly authoritative voice came from the back. “Yellow means slow down, not go faster!”
Why yes, yes it does. Hadn’t I just explained the traffic light colors to her earlier that week? Yet I was surprised to find my little mini-me eyeing me suspiciously in the rearview mirror.
“You’re right, sweetie,” I conceded, biting my lip to keep from smiling. “Yellow does mean to slow down. Mama made a mistake.”
She didn’t seem convinced.
“Next time,” I tried again, “I’ll slow down.”
With a curt nod, she accepted my explanation and proceeded to look out the window as we got on the highway. My husband seated next to me could hardly contain his laughter.
And while I was quietly chuckling to myself, the whole ride home, I kept returning to the scene of that stoplight. How often does the Holy Spirit issue a yellow light to my soul, warning me to slow down and carefully heed my surroundings, yet I speed through the moment anyway? Honestly, it’s more often than I’d care to admit, and I’m guessing you’ve had moments like these too.
- We run to the cupboard in search of something sweet to take off the edge of our frustration with the kids.
- We fill our Sundays with activities instead of filling our souls with rest.
- We swallow the words of the Gospel in neighborly conversation for fear of what they will think.
- We press play on that show instead of pressing into God’s Word.
And listen–there’s no condemnation here. I’ve done all those and worse. I would be a hypocrite to wag my finger in your face when obviously I’ve written all these from experience and run a yellow light beside. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect, but that doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit stops calling me to holiness. And it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance–He wants closer, more intimate fellowship with us, and that’s only possible when we confess our sins and get right with Him.
So those gentle whispers from the Spirit, those yellow lights for your soul? Heed them. Slow down. Look around. See what He’s calling you to do, and then do it!
- Turn from the food cupboard and find satisfaction in Jesus.
- Block out some time each week to rest in God’s presence.
- Learn a simple way to present the Gospel and share the Good News with your neighbor.
- Set aside the phone or tablet and pick up the Bible.
Sanctification isn’t as complicated as we make it out to be. It’s simple, really. When we pause to listen to the Spirit’s caution to our souls, we allow Him to shape us into the people He wants us to be.
So whatever yellow lights you’re facing in your life today, slow down. Listen to His Voice. And obey.
Easy? Not always. But simple, yes. So much so that even a toddler gets it.
It seems intuitive in us that the matter of accomplishment in our lives takes precedence over literally everything else. We feel we must become successful in our marriages, employment, rearing our children and the like. Competent performance with regard to these tasks we feel falls primarily and squarely upon us. Jesus had one overriding concern in His life on earth which was to please the Father with every action and every word. He had other interests but all were driven by this one overriding concern. Pursuit of pleasing the Father was the object of His immediate and sustained attention at every moment of His life. Because He embraced the disposition of being so attentive to the Father and knew Him so intimately, Jesus was enabled in obedience to Him and was further enabled in genuine knowledge of what true selfless obedience to the Father actually requires at any moment. We would do well to consider this when we pursue the temporal and spiritual responsibilities of our lives. Few of Christian believers expect that our destiny is not mere emulation of the life of our Savior here on earth. Is it not clear from His own words and teachings that we are actually destined to embody Him as we live our our lives? Every “accomplishment” of the life of Jesus arose from His insatiable desire to please the Father. How often we immerse ourselves in futile effort and ignorant concern when our true sanctification rises not from our accomplishment, spiritual or otherwise, but from taking upon ourselves the disposition that our only real task in life, from which all others may be accomplished, is to seek at every moment the pleasure of the Father as Jesus did. Our taking the time to discover what His pleasure really is, and not what we may surmise, requires vulnerability to Him, not of our “stuff” but of ourselves. It soon becomes clear that His pleasure is to become the object of a sustained act of love by us with every breath we take, just as we are so loved by Him. From that disposition established within us will arise the solution to every other concern. In order to love Him we must set aside our concerns in deference to His, especially those we regard as being of a “spiritual” nature, taking upon ourselves the opportunity of becoming personally vulnerable to Him which will foster and enable knowledge of Him. When we are sustained in availing ourselves of every opportunity to come to know Him, we will be driven by our passion for love of Him to obey Him, enabled in obedience by our knowledge of Him. This is not because He has become first among a multitude of concerns but because He, as in the regard of our Savior has become our all. Our lives of new found sanctity will then have then become the product of immersion in His own without impediment or constraint.
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