Originally posted in November 2014
“You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run…” – Kenny Rogers, The Gambler
Pay attention: There’s something about reading the signs. While it’s an amazing, even difficult thing to sit still, it’s an even more tasking thing to read the signs. There’s a reason God took the Israelites roundabout through the Wilderness- it was probably to teach them how to listen and be led. In the movement of the Israelites- from slavery in Egypt to the land of Canaan through the wilderness – God gave the Israelites the cloud as a sign. Cloud by day, to lead them and Pillar of Fire by night to protect them. Ultimately, the cloud was the compass by which the Israelites navigated the wilderness. As long as the cloud remained over the tabernacle, the Israelites would stay there. However, as soon as the cloud moved, they would break camp and follow the cloud, stopping only when it stopped. It has a striking parallel to the New Testament, when the wise men followed Jesus’ star till it rested over the manger where Jesus was.
In life, it’s important that we are reading the signs and reading them right. And in a world that’s just as busy as it is noisy, it’s never been easier to get lost. It’s hard that there’s no simple thing as a cloud to look at and follow. But we all have God’s spirit living in us, to direct us.
Sometimes we sit still and get complacent, forgetting that that place is only a temporary camp and not the Promised Land. Or maybe we start building monuments on a land that isn’t even ours. Then the cloud shifts. Your cloud shifting maybe a boss that’s suddenly hostile, a job that no longer brings you joy, a friendship that no longer serves it purpose or even a house that doesn’t feel like home anymore. When this happens, do not look back in anger or be bitter. Pay attention to the tremors. They are signs of a far more powerful shifting going on underneath the surface. Signs that it’s time to move on. It’s knowing when to hold on and when to let go; knowing when to walk away, when to run and when to just sit still. And above all, it’s understanding that we must stay on track because the journey itself is the reward. In Oprah’s words:
“Every challenge we take on has the power to knock us to our knees. But what’s even more disconcerting than the jolt itself is our fear that we won’t withstand it. When we feel the ground beneath us shifting, we forget everything we know and allow fear to freeze us. Just the thought of what could happen is enough to throw us off balance.
What I know for sure is that the only way to endure the quake is to adjust your stance. You can’t avoid the daily tremors. They come with being alive. But I believe these experiences are gifts that force us to step to the right or left in search of a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Let them help you adjust your footing”- Finding Balance
Eventually, we will arrive. Every last one of us at the destination. And while some of us will skip happily home unscathed, I think that those of us who limp home on bleeding feet, smiling because they’ve seen the beauty in trials and learned to read the signs are the ones who will be more fulfilled.