Stoplight Creativity

Stoplight Creativity


by Jan Powell



“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret…” (Psalm 37:7, NKJV)


My daily travel by car is minimal. I have two jobs, but do both from home. Regular excursions to my church, my bank, my post office, and the grocery store extend less than three miles in any direction. My monthly writing group meets at my house. Every six weeks I do go farther for acupuncture and therapeutic massage to relieve stiffness in my neck and back developed from leaning over my desk, but in general, I spend little time on the road.

Going any distance requires waiting at lights. I’m usually on time or a few minutes early, so I stress if I’m running late, especially if the light turns yellow and I don’t make it.

I left for a massage appointment last Friday, an eighteen-minute drive, and gave myself eight minutes to spare. I encountered three emergency vehicles at different locations. The first seven traffic lights were red, and I floored it to clear the eighth on yellow.

Instead of fretting or using my phone at the intersections, I looked for traces of God. I discovered ways to repurpose the stoplight experiences in my creative journey.

First, observe.

Think about one of your most frequent intersection stops. I tried to picture an eight-foot wall privacy wall that I’d seen hundreds of times. Though I remembered the color as tan, it’s actually terra cotta. We can learn to see more during the waiting periods of our writing journey, as well.

Second, infuse your routine stop with imagination.

Writing resembles travel. We cover the same sentences with increasing skill as we write and edit, just as we navigate roads better in familiar territory. While on this editing journey, we must continue to seek new insights. Fresh analogies strengthen our message. Awakened senses enliven our descriptions.

Third, expect to encounter God.

When we put down our phones, we can engage our minds and spirits. The Bible refers to waiting over 140 times, and intersections are a great place to train. Connecting to God at stoplights can help us tune in when he wants us to learn to “wait patiently.”

Our hurried society demands fast and immediate living, but God matures us through the discipline stopping points between seasons.

Let intersections offer us time to draw close to God. Minutes spent at stoplights can become opportunities to tune in to God’s creative whispers to our souls.


Dear Lord of patient waiting, help me seek you at the stoplights of my life. Amen.




Jan Powell, a graduate of the University of South Florida has two small businesses. Through Writing with You, she offers writing services: editing, rewriting, coaching, and ghost writing for fiction and non-fiction. She loves to help polish manuscripts for others. She has been published in The Wordsmith Journal and Splickety Magazine.

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  1. Love the reminder to tune into God’s creative whispers. Thank you, Jan, for the encouragement!

  2. Janet Rockey says:

    Excellent analogy. Thank you, Jan!

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