Today I came to a traffic light that had been set to blink the yellow caution light. Normally it served as a standard traffic light with red, yellow and green. In many countries, including the United States, the lights order from the top red to yellow to green. In other countries the lights order from green to yellow to red. Each color means the same in each country. Red means stop, yellow is caution and green means go. The yellow light is the variable. Some people are more risky than others and speed up when they see a yellow light to make it through. Others slow down or prepare to stop. The light means caution.

The signal that I came upon had been set to flash yellow which means proceed with caution. There are no further instructions. No green light to tell you it is time to go. No red light to tell you that you should stop. Only a warning light for you to proceed with caution. When I came to this light, there was a car stopped at the traffic light. They had been sitting there for as long as I could see when approaching the light and they continued to sit there as long as I could view them in my rear view mirror. They were looking up at the traffic signal. I am not sure if they were waiting on it to turn green or red, but it is clear that they wanted to be told specifically what to do. They needed instruction instead of permission.

There are many areas of our lives where we have clear instruction. We know what we should do based on prior learning or experience. Our worldview may shape certain things to be right or wrong. After experiencing the blinking yellow light, I began to think about crossroads and opportunities that we come to in our lives. Very rarely do they come with clear instructions. Most opportunities come with flashing yellow lights: proceed with caution. The reason that many people fail to take advantage of opportunities they are given is because they are looking for instruction (a red or green light) instead of permission (a yellow light).

Many people sit at intersections of their lives looking at a flashing yellow light hoping that it will turn red or green so we will know clearly what we are supposed to do. We are paralyzed with fear of what may happen if we make the wrong choice or we go at the wrong time. We just sit there. We would rather someone else make the choice for us and give us instructions instead of taking a small risk and proceeding with caution.

Many opportunities will be missed in your life, marriage, family or organization if you are always waiting for instructions instead of proceeding with permission. It is wise to use caution. It may be prudent to slow down and examine the surroundings when making a big decision. But stopping until we receive instruction will often keep us paralyzed in places where we were never meant to stop. Don’t be stuck at a flashing yellow light in your life waiting on someone to tell you to go or stop. Proceed with caution, but proceed. There are some amazing things waiting on you!