Life’s Traffic Lights

This month marks the 106th anniversary of the first electric traffic system installed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Four sets of red and green lights told drivers when to stop and go. The Cleveland Automobile Club praised the system, saying they expected that it was “destined to revolutionize the handling of traffic in congested city streets.”

Ever wish for a few traffic lights to handle the congested traffic in your life? I have. Some days are over-filled with commitments and activities to the point of sheer exhaustion. And then I wonder how I allowed it to happen. Even now, I seem to spend more time in video-conference meetings than I ever did in physical meetings before the pandemic!

The problem is not that I don’t have traffic signs and traffic lights in my life. The problem is that I don’t always pay attention to them, both in my personal life and in my writing life. For me, those traffic lights include:

Daily quiet time

If I fail to start with a quiet time set aside to spend time with the Lord, I’m in big trouble before my day begins. Tuning my spirit to listen to His Holy Spirit is the best way for me to proceed into a daily routine that’s often far from routine. Someone once said, “If I’m too busy to spend time with God, then I’m too busy!”

Reading and studying the Bible

While this is part of my quiet time, it’s more than just reading a few verses in the morning. It’s application, too. As I study the Bible, I learn biblical principles that help me make wise decisions – including decisions about how I spend my time.

Setting healthy boundaries

I have a tendency to be a people-pleaser. I want to be liked, so I will say yes when I should say no. And that gets me into trouble. Setting healthy boundaries – aka, knowing when to say no – is not easy for me. But if I start my day right with that daily quiet time, it’s easier (though never easy!) to follow the Lord’s leading.

Wise time stewardship

Ever feel as though you never have enough time to write? I do. Yet I know the traps that can drain my time faster than a bullet train. Social media is one that pulls at me. But it has an off button. And I need to click that button more often than I do. That’s just plain old self-control. No excuses!

Traffic lights can’t help manage traffic if drivers don’t pay attention to them. We all know of accidents caused by people who’ve run a red light or raced through a yellow one. The same is true in life. So my commitment today is to follow the traffic signals God has placed in my own life.

How about you? What are the traffic lights in your life?
What are the traffic lights in your writing life?

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