I hate waiting at stoplights. Seems like the wait has been getting longer and longer lately too. Made me think the other day while I was waiting at another one, just how long we spend here – so I looked it up. One online source wrote that the average American will spend 6 months of their life waiting at stoplight. SIX MONTHS!! Yikes – that’s just crazy.

So, what can we do so that time isn’t wasted?

Well, if you’re a martial arts student, thats a great time to go over vocabulary. For example, can you say the names of all the techniques you practice in Japanese? That down time at the light is a great time to go through that list, or any other terminology that you might need a little extra work on.

How about instructing? I’m a real believer in saying things out loud. So take a basic technique like a back stance, and imagine you’re teaching it to a new student. And as you’re sitting there, tell the student out loud how it goes. Or maybe an introductory class, or a point of etiquette, etc etc etc. Going through it out loud will really help prepare you for when that opportunity comes around at the dojo, and help you to nail down in your own mind those foundational basics that make it work.

More importantly, as Christian martial artists, how about some scripture time. Reading through the Bible every year is important to our school, and we require all of our Black Belt students to do that every year. Now to be honest, sometimes it can be a tough read, like when we’re in Jeremiah for instance. So I have gotten into the habit of asking God to show me something specific in that daily reading that I can take away for the day. And with that anticipation and expectancy it’s been amazing to see what has been there all along. That time sitting there waiting for the light to change is a great time to think about what you’ve read that day, and what God might be wanting to tell you through that portion of His Word.

Or here’s a no brainer – how about some prayer time? We all know lots and lots of people, places and circumstances that need prayer, and its so easy to get so busy during our days that it seems like we just don’t have time to pray. And then, there we are, waiting at the stoplight. Almost as if God arranged a little downtime just for us to get to work!

Hmmm – maybe I really don’t hate waiting at stoplights at all. Maybe the frustration I often feel is when I forget to use that time to do some things that otherwise would fall through the cracks in a way too busy day.

So next time you find yourself stuck at the light, count your blessings!

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