An Unscheduled Stop

An Unscheduled Stop

So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again. Numbers 12:15

Miriam’s sin brought the entire nation of Israel to a screeching halt for seven days while God dealt with her and brought her back in line with His will. It must have been devastating for Miriam to realize she was the cause of an unscheduled stop.

How do I know presume to know what she was feeling? Because it wasn’t too long ago that I discovered I’m a Miriam.

Have you ever said yes to something because you thought you should, or continued serving even though God was leading you in a different direction? In my zeal to serve God, I’d become prideful and thought I knew better than Him. I once again ran ahead of His will. I’d said yes to too many things and become a stumbling block to a ministry I love.

For years I’ve known that trying to do too many things at once meant I wouldn’t be able to do them well. But I seem to be a slow learner, or at least someone with a poor memory. When I pay attention to the Holy Spirit, this misguided urge stays in check, but when I stray, life gets stressful . . . for everyone.

My desire to serve overcame my desire to be obedient. When that happened, everyone around me suffered. My family had to take up the slack because I was doing things I hadn’t been called to do. I was grumpy, tired, and frustrated—emotions that affected all who came in contact with me. What started off with the best of intentions, ended up causing stress and grief.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity make things right by turning over some of my responsibilities to those God had called to serve. And as I sat, listening to them express their joy at that opportunity, it hit me how selfish I’d been. Not only was I disobedient (bad enough) but I stood in the way of others who wanted to serve. In effect, I brought the whole ministry to a screeching halt while God dealt with my disobedience.

It felt good to apologize and let go of the duties I’d disobediently taken up as mine. As I once again aligned myself with God’s will and let Him be the only one in charge peace began to take over. It was a difficult lesson to relearn, but when I heeded God’s discipline the stress receded and the joy is returned.

Edie Melson About Edie Melson

Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker— is the author of numerous books. She’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world in person and on the web. Connect with her on and on Twitter.


  1. Edie, I think most of us have been like a Miriam and some of us more often than others! My daughter tells me, “Mom, stay on the bus. it’s not your responsibility to——!” She is the one with the brain injury, but smarter than I!

  2. Wow Edie. This hit me square in the heart today. Jude is right. We are all Miriam sometimes. Thank you for the reminder and sending us to check our hearts and commitments with God today.

  3. Janet K Brown says:

    Good words of wisdom, Edie. God first wants obedience. Being a people pleaser can sometimes keep us from being a God pleaser. Thanks for your post.

  4. Laurie Driesen says:

    That was such a great post, Edie! Thanks for sharing. You really clarified that we can think we’re doing something good for God (serving) but if He hasn’t called us to that particular assignment, then it is wrong for us to do it. So simple! Yet we all get caught up in this at times. I guess, in the reality of living this out, we just can’t see it sometimes. Thanks for surfacing it for us. I also loved how you used Miriam as an example of how God deals with us. Great reminder!

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