A few weeks ago I went home to Houston for my little brother’s wedding. My parents still live in the neighborhood where I grew up. The trees are bigger, the houses a bit worn around the edges in places, but all in all it is still very much the same.
On one particular street, I got my very first speeding ticket. I used to do what my friends called a “Holley stop.” I would barely pause at a stop sign before moving along again. One morning on the way to buy concert tickets for the Houston rodeo (country music, anyone?) I made that pause a bit too short and discovered flashing lights behind me. A fine and defensive driving school got me back in good standing with the law and my days of “Holley stops” were forever over.
Now, ironically, that stop sign is gone. The street is a straight shot all the way from one end to the other. But every time I go home I still instinctively push my foot to the floor and slow down at that corner. If I live to be eighty, I will probably still always stop at that spot.
So I started wondering, “What are the stop signs we carry around inside?” Perhaps a bad experience, a hurtful relationship, a mistake that still stings. The lesson has long been learned, the rules don’t even apply anymore, but still we move cautiously. We slow down, our hearts quicken, and we look around as if someone is going to get us at any moment. But the reality is, the stop sign now only exists in our imaginations.
I don’t know who took down the stop sign on the corner but I do know who takes them down in our hearts. God is the great Remover of Stop Signs. In Him, we live in grace and freedom.
The next time you find yourself pausing at that old familiar place could be your moment to push the pedal to the floor and find out just how far God wants to take you.