It was one of the very first things my parents taught me as a child and one of the first things they taught me when I was learning to drive a car; always look both ways before going forward. It seems simple enough and logical. I mean, why wouldn’t I check to see if there’s a car coming from both sides of me before stepping out in front it?
Unfortunately, many people find that seemingly simple habit a hard one to form. Whether they’re in too much of a hurry, thought they’d looked both directions but only glanced, or it never even occurred to them that they are sharing the road with other drivers, they just can’t seem to make it a regular practise to look both ways. The consequences of not doing that one thing while driving, walking, or in life, could be deadly.
In California, one of the bad habits people tend to pick up is failing to stop before turning a corner. Infamously known as the ‘California’ stop, it’s more of a slow-down, check to see if anyone’s coming and then drive right through the stop sign, than it is a stop. I must confess, while living there, I was just as guilty as anyone until I moved to Texas and was caught by the hidden camera around the corner. That hefty $75 ticket helped me to get over the California Stops real quick.
Just like pedestrian crossings and stop signs, in life we also need to stop and look both ways from time to time. Those decisions to not look both ways when we are young bring with them a heavy price that, when we’re older, we don’t want to pay again. Still, some people will look both ways in life, but because they are risk takers, they plow ahead anyway often nearly escaping tragedy or bringing it into other’s lives as well.
Whether we’re making a career choice, a relationship choice, choosing where we would like to live, or what kind of toothpaste to use, taking a moment to consider the options is a wise habit to consider. One never knows what might be crossing our path unexpectedly just before we’re ready to move forward with our plans.
The key to developing a habit of looking both ways in life isn’t just learning the hard way, it’s practicing prudence. Instead of just saying yes (or no) to anything we’re offered, asking ourselves what potential dangers could come from our choice will help us to make good choices. Also, considering the consequences of our decisions on others around us is a good way to get into the habit of looking both directions. It may be a good decision for me, but it may not be a good decision for the other people in my life.
Lastly, depending on the weight of the decision, taking a few moments to seek the guidance of an all-knowing, all-loving God certainly will help us avoid getting side-swiped by unexpected or hidden dangers. Speaking from experience, having God in the front seat of our life will only help us to make the right decisions and with perfect timing. Besides, He also makes great company while driving through life too…