You come up to that neighborhood stops sign that you are so familiar with. You think you know the area and the traffic patterns so well, that you can just roll through it, or ignore it all together. The stops sign isn’t really meant for you… it’s merely a suggestion. You’re on a roll, and you’ve got things to do, places to go, and people to see. There is no time to stop!
Then one day, you have a near miss (or someone nearly misses you), and you suddenly become more aware of the stop sign. You realize that the stop sign isn’t merely a suggestion after all, it’s meant for your protection. It’s purpose is not to keep you from getting where you are going, it’s purpose is to have you check for potential hindrances (cars, pedestrians, etc.) that if you collide with them could cause harm to you or them. It’s purpose is to help you get where you are going – safely. From then on, each time you see that stop sign, you have the choice to obey it, or defy it.
Yes, that actual stop sign scenario exists in your day-to-day world. But did you realize that it also exist, symbolically in your personal life? Those moments, those hiccups, those hesitations, those gut feelings, those crossroads, those set backs…they are all stop signs. Do you respond to those in the same way that you respond to the neighborhood sign? Do you roll through it or ignore it, or do you stop and obey it?
Here are 5 reasons to obey the stop signs in your life.
They are telling you to stop and take a breath. In craziness and busyness of life, you run around 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. If one thing doesn’t need you, you think another thing does. If that one is satisfied there are 657 things in your back seat waiting for your energy. You hit that moment where you have run so hard, that you can’t breath. You can’t breath because you aren’t willing to stop at each sign that your life gave you. Each moment that you felt the fatigue and frustration increase was a stop sign, but rolled through it. Each moment you felt like you just couldn’t do one more thing was a stop sign, but you ignored it. Obey the stop sign. Catch your breath. Then proceed on to your way.
They are telling you to stop and course correct. I know you hate being told what to do and how to do it. But, your stop signs may be telling you to course correct. The gut gnaw (I know you know what that is) was telling you to stop and turn left, but you were hell-bent on turning right because that was YOUR plan… that was a stop sign. The stop signs allow you to stand still for a moment, get your barring, find your land marks, check your compass, and adjust or correct your course accordingly.
They are telling you to stop making excuses. Be honest with yourself here. You often don’t stop at the signs because when you do, you will have to face the excuses you’ve been making for not having reached your life destination yet. If you slow down and stop, you will get a view of the things you need to face in life, the personal changes you need to make, and the accountability you need to take for the road you are on. The feeling of spinning your wheels and feeling like you are getting nowhere, that is a stop sign telling you to stop making excuses.
They are telling you to stop and dive deep. If you have ever been swimming, you know that keeping your body in motion keeps you towards the surface of the water and moving through it. once you stop moving, you start to sink. You go deeper in the water where there is more pressure, and more silence. The stop signs in life are telling you to be still, and go deeper. That does not mean to sink to the bottom and stay there. It means to delve deeper into knowing you and knowing why you are on the road you are on. A shallow life is much less fulfilling that a deep one. Obey the stop sign and go deep.
They are telling you to stop and be grateful. You’ve had a moment when you’ve traveled to your destination, but really had no memory of the drive. You’ve been on auto pilot along the way and your awareness of what is going on around you has become so routine, that the world around you just fades into the background. You forget to appreciate all the working parts that are in place, and all of the people that had to be following the rules of the road in order for you to get to your destination safely. That happens on the literal road, but also in life. When you encounter a stop sign, take a moment in gratitude for all that you do have and all who you’ve encountered – even if you haven’t gotten what you think you want. It brings you back to the moment and back to your awareness of the now. It also helps you remember the journey.
What are the stop signs in your life? Learn to obey them. Recognize that they are not present simply as a suggestion. They are not to be avoided or ignored. They are NOT meant to keep you from reaching your destination. Stop signs are in place to catch your attention, make you aware, and to help you proceed with the proper care needed to move you forward to where you need to go with awareness, with safety, and with effectiveness.