Follow the Signs

After spending a couple of hours on a specific task with a specific goal and getting nowhere except frustrated and annoyed, I gave up. At least for now anyway. Perhaps it’s my ignorance or lack of skills causing my wheels to spin, or maybe it’s simply a stop sign in the road telling me to wait. What for what? Good question.

What I know for sure comes from experience: pushing through obstacles when there’s a stop sign only causes crashes. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t push through struggles. I mean, the title of this blog site clearly indicates my belief otherwise. What I am saying is that some struggles exist to change our direction or path, some exist to get us to stop and wait for traffic to clear, and others are meant to simply be pushed through.

Victory always waits on the other side of a struggle, though it is often not achieved the way we envisioned nor does it always look like we imagined it would when we get there.

A Change in Direction: Exercise has always been a part of my life since I was a teenager 25 years ago. Yet, no matter what method, intensity or frequency I choose, my body cannot handle the level of exercise I envision as ideal (think Jillian Michaels). My body has continually sent me messages letting me know what I can and cannot handle (mostly through injury and fatigue). I’ve had to significantly change direction with regard to exercise, and my view of victory in that area has had to change too. Sometimes we must take a different route to our planned destination. And sometimes, the destination has to change.

Stop and Wait: Along the road to any victory, there have been places I’ve needed to stop and wait. The waiting was often just for the traffic to clear before moving forward, but sometimes it was for the purpose of recalculating my route and choosing a completely different path. But always, it seems, the stopping was for my benefit. Sometimes, I needed to rest and refuel. Sometimes, I needed to be protected from the MAC truck barreling through the intersection. And sometimes, I needed to realize I was going completely the wrong way and that my choices to some extent were simply mistakes.

Pushing Through: When I hit 30, my health began to decline. Doctor after doctor and diagnosis after diagnosis, and only symptoms were being treated. I knew there was a root cause, and I was determined to find it. After 10 years of struggling and pushing, the cause was pinpointed (food allergy & several sensitivities), and I’m on the road to victory as my body heals. Had I not pushed through the many obstacles, my health would still be on the decline. Some struggles serve to test our persistence as we push through them to victory. Stopping is not an option. As I hit dead ends along the way, I did need to change routes, but the victory was still waiting at the end of the road.

What is God doing? To some extent, I think the verse “God does not allow a temptation we cannot bear without giving us a way out” (1 Corinthians 10:13) is at work here. He either gives us a way to bear it (push or struggle through), or He gives us another route to follow. Also at work in this is the verse “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This is where we stop, bask in His protection and grace, and allow Him to be God. In any case, He is offering us guidance and protection.

How do we know? In the daily stillness before Him. In the perfection of His Word. In the act of spinning our wheels. In those places, we find Him directing traffic. Signs are everywhere. We simply have to take time to see and obey them.