A Mandatory Timeout
Photo credit: www.joshfults.com
As I hastily typed in my password, for the 4th time, a nasty-gram displayed on my monitor, “Password entry is disabled. You must wait for the timeout to expire”. And a clock began to countdown from 60 seconds in route to 0. As I screamed, “Are you kidding me?” to this inanimate object in front of me, clearly it was not playing. I was at a stand still. No amount of typing, banging, screaming or yelling, was going to get it to budge. I simply had to wait…
Initially, I did the long nail finger tap. You know that tap, when you roll through your fingers as loud as they can tap on a surface that amplifies the sound. You know that tap, the one that screams much impatience without you uttering a single word from your mouth. Yeah, THAT tap. Yet in spite of my frustration, impatience and yes, loud grunting and tapping noises, I still had to what? WAIT. Until that clock reached zero, nothing, not a thing was going to take place on that computer.
Why can’t we just stay on
a permanent vacation?
At about the 32 second mark, my frustration waned and I begin to just take a welcome breather from the hustle and bustle of the day. You see, I had been on vacation for a week and this was my first day back in the office. I love vacations, I just dislike returning from them. Why can’t we just stay on a permanent vacation? Well, that’s a topic for another day. Anyway, I was rushing to get back into my computer to continue to knock out the lovely list of items patiently awaiting my return. And this situation right here was not helping me out any.
However, as my frustration waned and I begin to take a deep breath enjoying the involuntary break, I begin to wonder…how much more should I wait for the timeout to expire in other parts of my life? Likewise, what timeouts have I missed because I forced my way through them instead of waiting? And should I really be forcing my way through a timeout that the One who created me, knows all about me and every intricate detail of my life, thinks is best?
Wow, as frustrating as mandatory timeouts are in our lives, imagine the things that can be cleansed, refreshed, renewed and deleted altogether if we just took the 60 seconds to allow God the opportunity to do His best work in us. While I felt helpless, I really was in the best spot possible – one of being still. Elijah learned this lesson about being still in 1 Kings 19. Surely, God would speak when with winds strong enough to shatter the rocks passed through…nope. Okay, well surely God would have something to share after the earthquake shifted the land…nope. Well, surely God will chime in after the fire…nope, wrong again. And then there, there in what the CEV Version of the 12th verse describes as a “gentle breeze”, He spoke. Right there in the midst of all of the quiet, his Dad spoke to him.
Elijah had fled from his oppressor only to run smack dab into a mandatory timeout. BAM! But once his surrounding rocks had been cracked, the destroying heat had stopped by and his foundation had been shaken, THERE, in this mandatory timeout, he heard God.
Maybe, just maybe it’s time for you to volunteer for a mandatory timeout. Not check out, but take a time out. Settle yourself, get still and await further instructions from our Father. Allow Him to cleanse, refresh and renew you on the inside. And then when He is done, He’ll ask for the password to gain access to your journey again. This time though, you will not be so hasty…but slow, deliberate and intentional with which you gain access to what is next for you.