Looking for a Sign


Sometimes you can look for a sign when you're wondering what to do. Or you can sign up for a change that might yield different results. Or you can resign yourself to the status quo.

I've actually tried all of these tactics when I've been stuck in a lifeless little spot. It's a bland kind of place, not exactly hard or discouraging, just rather unremarkable. Ordinary and mundane.

So over lunch with a friend last week, I ask her if I should shake up my life to meet new people. I tell her I’m really thinking of going the online route, but I’m reluctant.


“Hmmm,” she says thoughtfully. “Why don’t you just go to the noodle place?”

Noodle place?


I haven’t heard about meeting people at a noodle place and wonder if it’s a new trend.

She elaborates that even though she’s long been married, she met a talkative, attractive man at the noodle place recently while picking up a to-go order for her young daughter.

She said they chatted about their orders and she was impressed that they had the exact same thoughts about noodles.

I suddenly remember an encounter I had at the grocery store.

I tell her a man caught my eye over the lemon bin and said I looked as if I were a real expert at picking lemons. Could I tell him how to choose one?


"Yes! That’s exactly what I’m talking about," my friend says. "What did you say to him?"

I say that of course I told him I knew nothing about lemons and wheeled my cart over to the strawberries.

She sighs and rolls her eyes at me.

Maybe looking for a sign to spark a life-change should take a backseat to working on my less-than-stellar flirtation skills.

But while I’m hesitating about which way to go {or thoughtfully pondering, as I prefer to tell myself} I still dream of the answer amazingly appearing in front of me, clearly pointing the way.


Lately I've felt as if I’m stuck in neutral or just treading water, without any spark to shift into second gear or swim out into the deep end.

Maybe I'm just tired, maybe work has been filled with unsettling changes, or maybe it's just been a long hot summer with the memory of my spring trip to Rome fading into the background.

I feel as if a hundred times a day I wrestle with the opposing mindsets that I'm grateful and perfectly content just where I am, yet believing that there must be something more.

But what is it? And how should I get there?



I'm always charmed by the signs I encounter when I travel.

I'm talking about the actual physical signs hanging outside of restaurants and businesses or on the sides of buildings that just invite me to notice them, not interpret them.

I admire the artistry and sometimes wonder about the thought behind them and what they were intended to communicate, because sometimes it's a little hard to tell.

But when I turn a corner or glance down an alley or curve around the side of a building or look up and unexpectedly encounter a whimsical, quirky or beautiful sign, I'm delighted by the sight.




I imagine it's a little like that when we're looking for a sign in our lives to help us move on, get going or take a step forward.

What we're looking for to confirm our decisions may not come when we want it to or in the manner we'd prefer, but God doesn't leave us directionless, adrift or alone.

He waits for us, comes back for us, and goes ahead of us, inviting us to search for him.

And he promises to be found. {Jer. 29:13}

That's the sign of hope I'm holding, welcoming the days ahead.


Before my friend and I finish our lunch, I tell her that I've signed up for a cooking class next week.

I’m going to learn pickling and preserving.

I look at her hopefully and say maybe there will be someone interesting there?

She raises an eyebrow.

“Well I guess there could be,” she says doubtfully.

“But I’d still try the noodle place if I were you.”


A little note on the photos: the signs are from Rome, Milan, Paris and New York City.

I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.


Comments

  1. I understand that wrestling between contentment and longing for more., and I agree, it's hard to make sense of the signs God gives us at times. It is comforting to remember that he wants to show us the way and to be found by us. Praying for clarity and direction for you, and let us know how it goes if you do try the noodle bar!

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      Making sense of our circumstances is sometimes impossible isn't it? But I'm so grateful for your prayers for clarity - -and I'll definitely keep you posted on the noodle place! :) xo

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  2. I loved your post! So happy I discovered you on the link up today. I agree with your sentiments, I also feel "as if a hundred times a day I wrestle with the opposing mindsets that I'm grateful and perfectly content just where I am, yet believing that there must be something more." I am in a season of growth, and waiting. After reading your post (and enjoying the photos) I plan to take more time to see the signs that surround me as I continue on my journey! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Robin,
      Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by. Seasons of growth and waiting can be so rich and beautiful yet hard and challenging, can't they? I'm still discovering that they show us so much more than we can imagine!

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  3. I see a lot of me in your words today. Looking for that sign, one spelled out in bold letters directed toward me only. I like snapping shots of signs too, Valerie. Yours are wonderful. More important is recognizing the signs God posts in our lives, isn't it? Finding reassurance in your words today.

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    1. Hi Debby,
      I love it that we're on the same page with our photo-taking ideas -- signs are so much fun to find! But you are so right that recognizing God's direction in our lives is the most important way-finding we can do. xo

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  4. I love this. I look for signs in all of my important decisions, and I too and trying so keep my mind open to signs I may not expect. I can also vividly imagine you telling the grocery store story and your friend's response. Hopefully next time you are mistaken as a lemon expert, you will roll with it and just squeeze out any info on lemons you may have! ;)

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    1. Haha, Brittany! Leave it to you to come up with a beautiful pun! :) I should have consulted you before publishing and could have used that as my last line! xo

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  5. How much can I love this post? A bunch. I have a single, 40 year old son?

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    1. Hi Susan,
      I'm not sure he would appreciate the age-divide but I'm so flattered! :) xo

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  6. Love these photos, Valerie. It's like taking a mini-vacation from my desk!

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for being here! I love it that you came along on my virtual-sign-searching travels! :)

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  7. Hi Valerie, We’re neighbors today (Thanks for stopping by my place!) and you highlighted one of my favorite verses in this article, Jeremiah 29:13. I love the promise that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts. How good is that? Loved your beautiful pictures!

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    1. Hi Leslie,
      Yes it was so nice to be neighbors! That verse is one of my very favorites too! :)

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  8. Wouldn't it be nice if God placed road signs in our lives?! There wouldn't be much faith or seeking or dependence then, would there be. There are so many times in my life when I've felt His gentle nudges, or He's opened a door, and I've convinced myself it was the wrong direction because I was too afraid or I didn't have "peace." Now, I realize that had little to do with God, and much more to do with the fact that I'm fearful. I'm hoping to bypass that fear, and walk through those open doors, brave. You're amazing, and I pray He leads you to just the right place, person, or noodle - and I hope you follow! ;)

    PS...love the new space!

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    1. Hi Tiffany,
      I'm with you! Peace isn't necessarily linked to what we should do, is it? I discover that as I read stories in scripture that so often what God needed people to do had very little with to do with good feelings or all the circumstances lining up right! So good to hear from you today and thanks for your sweet words on the blog's shiny new coat of paint! :)

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  9. Oh, my word! Fasten your seat belt, and get ready for a totally new direction and shift in your life, sweet friend! God has you in a state of "restless anticipation", because He is now preparing your heart. Oh, I HOPE it is a new romance! I have a hunch it may be...whatever it is, it is going to rock your world and require you to step out of your comfort zone because it will stretch you...all in a good way. God is wanting to propel you to the next step on your life's journey, because He no longer wants you to stay where you are. It is going to require a whole new level of trust, but you will be SO glad you took the leap forward, and the rewards will be great!! I can't wait to hear of the amazing things He is getting ready to do in and through you!!! Many blessings on your new adventure!! The sign posts are already in place, and God is going to add the signs as you go!!!!!

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Thank you for your vote of enthusiastic confidence! I consider this a prayer and thank you for your wonderful words! xo

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  10. Hi Valerie! It was so great to see this in my mailbox! :) :) I love your pictures of the signs - they are so cute and artistic in their own kind of way! I am so excited for you about the new things ahead! I have few friend who found their spouses like that! I have heard it can be really good. I know God has some wonderful new things ahead. Sometimes its the quiet before the wind shifts that feels kind of flat. However its just because we can’t see all that’s brewing in the atmosphere! I am so thankful our Father is good and is for us and is working in our behalf and will complete what he began in us! That brings hope during the mundane I think. So thankful for this post and connecting with you today! with much love and hugs ! :)

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I hope fall ushers in a new season for you to join us back in the blogging community -- I've missed you! I love what you wrote about the quiet spaces before the wind shifts -- such power and beauty in your words. I'm not sure which direction I'll head but I'm so grateful you're along for the ride! xoxo

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  11. Those signs are darling and your encounter over the lemons made me laugh! I know I was just as awkward in picking up on flirtatious signs back in the day! And oh how I identify with the "thoughtful pondering"... probably time for me to call as it is and stop hesitating! I feel your pull to look for the big flashing arrows pointing us but something I read a while back says sometimes you gotta stop praying and just do something about the thing which you keep praying for- if it's something within your power and doesn't go against God. I vote to give the noodle house a try-- no pressure if you say to yourself you just might make a nice new friend at the least! Keep praying His will be done Valerie, and as you try new things I know He will point you in the right direction ♥♥ xxoo

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    1. Hi Heather,
      Missed you! I may just continue to thoughtfully ponder (drag my feet, hesitate) but I'm glad you're cheering me on! I completely agree with you that often we have to do something for God to work with us, but I'm not sure how close I am to real action. :) Hoping your summer is sparking loads of creative ideas! xoxo

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  12. Oh dear, poor lemon guy....Mom

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  13. I have to say, Valerie, that I would recommend the noodle place as well! Haha, you had me laughing here. :) The cooking class sounds pretty awesome, though -- even if there isn't anyone special, at least you will be somewhat of an expert in pickling after that!

    It really would be so nice if everything came with a perfectly clear sign to point us to where we are supposed to be going. But I guess we don't learn trust that way, do we? I pray that God will point you to great things, nevertheless! Be blessed, dear friend.

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    1. Ronja,
      I'm trying the cooking class first before gearing up for any other action! :) You inspire me with your prayers! xoxo

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  14. Valerie - this was delightful! The signs, the conversation! I think a cooking class is a wonderful way to start. Or photography - or doing something that interests you that involves a group of people. When we were visiting France, I kept thought the patisserie shop was the noodle shop for my son! LOL He was not amused. When you give the search to God, he never fails. Enjoy cooking!!!

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    1. Hi MaryLeigh,
      Thanks so much for stopping by -- it's nice to see you again! :) Somehow in France, I think a patisserie might be where I'd spend a lot of time -- and you'd never know who you'd meet! :)

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  15. Dear Valerie, I have had you in my thoughts & prayers a lot lately! I thought it was mainly because my son & his family moved down to Orlando this summer to attend the YWAM training school there, but now I think God has had me praying for you during this season of transition you feel yourself in! May you be blessed with the same encouragement that you have so often brought to me! Hugs!!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      Wondering if you're going to make a visit here since your son is here? :) I treasure your thoughts and prayers -- how wonderful it is to feel surrounded by your friendship! xo

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  16. You always make me smile and think. I have missed you this summer! By the way, I would have totally done the same with the lemon guy. :) That probably doesn't make you feel any better though!

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      So glad to know we'd be on the same page -- haha! :)

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  17. "Lately I've felt as if I’m stuck in neutral or just treading water, without any spark to shift into second gear or swim out into the deep end." I love this description. I can resonate with the no spark to shift or swim deeper! But I am blaming hormones. :) My two-cents on the cooking class verses the noodle house? Cooking class for sure, 'cause it's for you, which brings out your joy, and then spills on to others, just like your trip to Rome did. I've enrolled in a cake decorating class for fun! I think your friend may roll her eyes at me too. :) Great writing again!

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