No Outlet. Two simple words that let you know, “If you think you’re going to get somewhere on this road, you’re mistaken. Turn around because you’re about to hit a Dead End. This road goes nowhere!”
I’ve hit a lot of No Outlet signs in my life. I run across a lot of obstacles that are broadcasting the news to me that I’m headed for a Dead End. I may have thought that this path was going to take me somewhere awesome, but now I’m faced with the ominous news that somehow I’ve stumbled upon a No Outlet street.
The No Outlet sign pictured is located at the intersection of my street and another more populated one. In case people come down the busier road thinking they can get back onto the main road from our little street, the city was kind enough to spare them to trouble of getting all the way to the end and having to turn around in frustration. If they keep driving, they are going to come to the gate.
This gate blocks my neighborhood from the one next to us and prevents people on our side of the fence from using their streets as a short cut to the main road. Huh.
This gate is that neighborhood’s way of saying, “You can’t get there from here” or as folks from my neighboring state of Maine would say, “Ya’ cain’t get theyah from heeyah”. (You’d have to hear it for yourself to really understand the vernacular!)
How many situations in our lives have looked like No Outlet situations? A troubled marriage that gets worse be the day. A certain age that makes you feel as though you will never achieve your dreams. Consequences from life choices that seem to hem you in and constrict you – no kids, too many kids, not married, married too rashly, unemployment, workaholism, not enough money, slave to money. We all experience situations that seem to say, “No Outlet. You can’t get there from here. Turn around if you can because the road you’re on is going nowhere.”
But God has a different message for you. He says that there is no obstacle you can’t move or get over with His wisdom, guidance and strength. Just because something is impossible for you, doesn’t make it impossible for God. Just because you have run into a Dead End – a gate that keeps you out of the nicer neighborhood – doesn’t mean that it’s over. It’s just time to see what God wants to do in that situation.
For instance, the gate at the end of my road keeps me out when I’m in my car. But guess what? I get around that gate almost every day when I run! I walk around that gate and I bike past that gate. Gate ain’t holding me back, no way!
I know this is a simple analogy, but think about how much time and energy we waste trying to make our plan work when it’s not supposed to work. And how discouraged do we allow ourselves to become when we hit that ugly gate and can’t get around it with our current means of transportation? But hallelujah! You can get out of the car and walk around the gate. Or you can jump over the gate. Or you can skip around the gate. Or you can let someone toss you over the gate. Who cares how you get there! All that matters is that we stop whining and start looking for the opportunities for winning!
In my life, I have seen how God has used the most unusual connections to get me to where He wants me to be. Case in point: Years ago, our family finances were very tight. Let’s say, we had hit a wall. Because I didn’t have much work history outside of the home, I had limited ways to contribute to our family’s income in any substantial way. So then one day, my daughter read an article that Starbucks offered full time health benefits to every employee, even part-time employees. No experience required! I applied and was hired. Quite humorously, I was the oldest barista on the floor by a couple decades; but I used that opportunity to be a Mama Bear (a great nickname!) to the girls I worked with. What an honor.
Meanwhile, the Lord was setting me up for the next connection. The CEO of a local company was a regular customer. One day, he offered me a job at his company as his assistant. I had absolutely NO experience working in an office and was terrified. The learning curve was steep, but God gave me the grace to learn a lot in very short period of time. After being at that company for a few years, I found the Executive Assistant job at the company I am now with and I couldn’t be happier! It feels like a hand in a glove. If I had let the wall of my lack of work experience and education be a Dead End there would have been No Outlet. But thank God that He makes a way where there seems to be no way!
What situation are you facing that looks like No Outlet?
- Can you trust that God might have a way through it, around it or over it that you haven’t thought of yet?
- Can you believe that you don’t have all of the answers or know all of the infinite ways that God could open this situation up for you?
God is so creative. Look at the sunset. There have never been two sunsets exactly alike in the billions of years that earth has had an atmosphere. So if He has so much creativity that He can make sunsets new every evening, creatively getting you through your situation isn’t going to break His bank.
God is All-Powerful. While we humans have a will, God in His sovereignty knows how to influence our will, how to reach us and touch us right at the heart so that we hear the truth and see what we were blind to previously. Nothing and no person is beyond hope.
God is Tender. We, in our human nature are battering rams. If your head is bruised from banging it against a wall, don’t blame God. He never pushes or jams us into position. He tenderly leads us and guides to where we need to be. And don’t worry, if you are pursuing the Lord’s will for your life, He won’t let you miss it!
Jeremiah 6:16 (CEB)
The Lord proclaims:
Stop at the crossroads and look around; ask for the ancient paths.
Where is the good way?
Then walk in it
and find a resting place for yourselves.
“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”