While driving hundreds of miles on our recent family vacation, it’s a noise we heard several times on the highway. It wasn’t coming from the countless road construction projects we passed. No. This unusual sound came from special ridges carved into the surface of the road to warn drivers that they had crossed the lines and were headed off the road into danger.
The sudden sound is enough to rouse sleeping pre-teens in the back seat and cause the daydreaming driver to steer back to safety. (Not that I had any personal experience, mind you. I served as the navigator and keeper of the ancient map.)
Sometimes, both in driving and in life, we drift off the marked path. That first inch across the line doesn’t hurt us, but if we continue our errant course, we could find ourselves either far from our destination or rolled-over in a ditch. That’s why it’s good to listen to the warning and stay within the lines.
So, what does life’s warning sound like? For me, sometimes I remember something my parents, teachers, or pastor said. Or a Bible verse pops into my head and I realize that what I’m living doesn’t line up with what I’ve been taught. Other times, the warning is more obvious and someone tells me I’m getting off track.
Or, like a couple of months ago, my body starts to shut down. Physically, spiritually, creatively – the well runs dry and I realize I’ve been pushing too hard and chronic fatigue is setting in again. If I’m paying attention, I can pick up on earlier signals and never get that close to the edge.
While I’m thankful for the warning, I think I’d rather stay in the lines.
What about you? What are the warning sounds in your life? Do you listen? Or do you tune out the warning until it’s too late?