It’s happened to you too. You have been driving down the road, enjoying your day, when all of a sudden you see that big bright orange DETOUR sign. Oh no!!! This is going to take you way out of your way, make you late, and throw you off schedule. And then trying to keep track of those signs so you can get back on the road you want to be on is nerve-wracking.
You know where this analogy is going. Life has detours too. Sometimes they are short-lived like when the baby spits up all over you when you are ready to walk out the door; or you get a flat tire on the way to a wedding; or you’ve been saving for something and have to spend it on a surprise repair.
But there are those more heart-wrenching, life altering, emotionally devastating detours that we dread. They seem to send us careening off the road. Like when you or your husband loses a job; you realize you must see a marriage counselor; your precious teen-age daughter tells you she is pregnant; your closest friends move away; you move to a new city; you are experiencing the painful void of your empty nest; or the darkness of depression overcomes you.
No one signs up for these detours – or wilderness journeys. But they are inevitable. We will experience several of them during our lifetime. This past year, I experienced several of them all at once.
- Two sons married and my daughter was away at school. The house was quiet and sad without the liveliness of the kids. I was experiencing the empty nest.
- My job had shifted from being around people all the time to working out of my house. I was isolated much of the time.
- My marriage needed serious attending to. We looked for marriage coaches and started the grueling process of getting of renovating our marriage.
- And the Seasonal Affective Disorder that I experience every winter turned into the dark hole of depression.
I was in a maze of detours!!
Let’s lighten this up now! I’ll tell you the ending first. My life is back on track. My marriage is blossoming; the depression has receded; I have taken steps to be around people more; and I am on a brand new adventure that gives me new direction.
We all need to be reminded in the middle of our detours that, with God’s guidance, we will find our way. We also need to draw on what we know, tools we’ve put in place, and our faith we trust is guiding us. I am glad that over the years I learned how to live intentionally. That helped me recognize the darkness I was experiencing. I am grateful I had a Life Guide Statement that helped me see the road I needed to get back on. I am appreciative of friends who loved me into healing. I value my relationship with God who I trusted to give me direction. And I embrace my precious family who stood by me.
Let me share this story with you.
I know that a GPS is really the rage now. But I have to say I like my map. I like seeing the big picture and looking at my options and seeing the other cities that are around. My husband likes the simplicity of a GPS. He’s happy to program the destination in and just let the lilting voice give him directions. I DO like the feature that helps you find restaurants and shopping. On our way to Michigan recently I was looking for a Starbucks. He handed me the GPS and told me how to have it look for Starbucks. It guided us right to one and it was heavenly. We got back on the road and pretty soon that lilting voice was telling us to get off another exit. We ignored her and then she had us getting off a different exit. I finally figured out that she was taking us to ALL the Starbucks in the area!!! My favorite feature of the GPS is “recalculating route.” If you make a wrong turn then the lilting voice simply says, “Recalculating route.”
When life takes us on one of those wilderness journeys, sometimes our entire route changes and we need to do some recalculating. If we keep trying to go down the same road we will miss the blessing God has for us.
Imagine you are looking at your life from an aerial view – kind of like what God sees. Is God directing you to a new road? How can you get there? What recalculations need to be made; new “maps” acquired; or experiences gained? Breathe deeply and know that you are on your way to getting to the next place in your life journey. Fasten your seatbelt; grab your map; and be prepared to see where this expedition takes you!