Signs Are Not Suggestions

I don’t always pay attention to signs. Often I assume I know what they’ve said. photo

Or in my little world I don’t really care what they say. At the moment anyway.

Every now and then one grabs my attention. Certain words tend to jump out and grab you, whether you’re really paying attention or not.

I was on the California coast with my two sisters. We were sharing a few days together–our yearly “sister time”–in Sonoma Valley. We’d spent time with our brother, and now we were playing explorers/tourists in the middle of some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen.

We took the scenic route to the Pacific Ocean just west of Santa Rosa. The day was glorious. Blue skies and bright sun. The closer we got to the ocean, however, the more we noticed the wind picking up. And the temperature dropping.

We could see and hear the ocean from quite a distance. The waves were crashing into the sand, and every tree was bent in unison with the wind.

But we weren’t to be deterred. We were going to wade in the Pacific Ocean.

When we arrived at the beach, the first thing we saw was a huge sign.

“Dangerous Surf”

photoIf that didn’t get our attention, a few other choice words did.

“Surfing, wading, swimming not advised.”

Surely that didn’t mean us? We only wanted to put our feet in. Wade a little bit. Not a lot.

Clarification is wonderful.

“Shark area, strong undertows, currents and sneaker waves.”

OK, so it probably wasn’t a good idea to go in. Even a little. The whole shark area and sneaker waves picture had me visualizing myself in the mouth of a Great White. Close to shore.

However, the sign people understood human nature. That signs are so often seen as merely suggestions. So their addendum had great insight. And great humor.

“Enter at your own risk.”

They washed their hands of responsibility with those five words. They knew people would try the ocean. Even with the knowledge that it wasn’t in their best interests.

They knew

I admit, I push the boundaries. Most of the time. Too often I feel my way is a good way. The better way. And yet that’s where the trouble lies.

It’s how mankind lost fellowship with God in the first place. Wanting to do our own thing. We consistently choose our way over His way.

We ignore His Words. His signs.

And yet God is very clear how we can live life the way He designed it–abundantly, with joy.

“Jesus said, ‘If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.’”  John 15:10-11

Not only is He telling us that obeying is good. He set the example by obeying first.

The result of such obedience? Of listening to His words? Complete joy. Not partial. Not a little.

A lot.

Isn’t that a sign worth considering?

10 responses to “Signs Are Not Suggestions”

  1. So, did you go in?


    1. Absolutely! Wouldn’t you?


      1. No WAY! I push the boundaries sometimes but not when it comes to being shark bait! Ha! Ok, maybe a toe… 😉


      2. You’d so put the toe in!


  2. alice fredricks Avatar
    alice fredricks

    Gorgeous spot! Been there many times BUT not great for swimming OR even wading….yet you say you did it, Dayle! A risk taker! 🙂


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