You’ve experienced them – DETOURS! You are on your way, making good time when suddenly the road is blocked and you have to take a long way around. Many times it’s not even marked and you get lost. I think most of us would admit that when this happens, our joyful mood turns sour. We become anxious, disappointed, disgruntled, and angry.
My son and daughter-in-law were recently held up on the highway by a serious wreck ahead involving three huge trucks. Traffic was at a standstill for 3 hours. They had a six-hour drive ahead of them to get home. I was so amazed when I heard about how they kept a good attitude while stuck in that detour. They took pictures of each other and posted them on Facebook; they played made-up games; they gave each other massages. They found ways to pass the time cheerfully. When they finally got off the highway, the traffic was just crawling along the two-lane road. So they found their own way through the countryside. Instead of trying to make it all the way home they called a friend and stayed at their house for the night.
We all face detours of life: we lose our job; a spouse leaves; we have unexpected financial burdens; someone disappoints us; we move to a different city; a health issue slows us down; and countless other life issues that take us a different direction than we expected. What emotions do you feel? How difficult is it to find your way back? Do you have to make a completely new itinerary? Let’s examine some ways to handle these detours of life in a healthy way.
My husband and I were traveling from Carmel, California – the most charming coastal village close to San Francisco – down the coast highway toward San Luis Obispo. This drive is often closed because of road repairs but on this day of travel it was open and I was ecstatic, anticipating the gorgeous ocean views of the rocky coastline. However, as we set out that day, the fog along the coast covered the view I longed for. My heart sank. I had a choice to make: let my mood take over or choose a new way to handle this situation. As I thought about it I hoped that maybe the fog would lift so we slowed our trip down. We looked for places to enjoy along the way. We stopped for coffee and sauntered through the gift shop; we stopped at an art gallery; we found a bookstore and read about the beautiful bridges we were seeing. Then, as I was studying the map, I found a place to park and a path that took us under the highway and to an overlook. There was a stream that emptied from the cliff onto the beach in a beautiful waterfall. Wow!!! I had no idea that was there! I had never seen anything like it!! Had we not been slowed down that day, I would have missed this gem along the way.
Okay, so when faced with a detour, here are some things to try:
- Ask God, “Okay, Lord, what is it you want me to see? What surprise, delight, lesson, or change of direction is important for me to tune into right now?”
- Look at your “map” – whether it’s an actual roadmap or the trajectory of your life – and see what alternate routes are available for you. Maybe there is a new route that will bring new delights in your journey.
- Shift from the “future” to the “now.” Instead of focusing on where you think you “should” be and “when” you should be there, be in the present. Experience the person/people you are with; enjoy what’s around you at that moment; notice the things you are truly grateful for; and “see” with fresh eyes.
- Trust God to show you the way. Surrender the experience to Him.
Please share in the comment section ideas about how you deal with the detours of life. Let’s support and encourage one another.