I headed to work this morning, deciding to avoid some of the rush and traffic around Asheville on my birthday, chose a route that I had not used in a few weeks. As I was driving along having a nice relaxing commute I was suddenly confronted with a big orange sign informing me that the road was closed ahead and to follow the posted detour. This sign was soon followed by a barricade along with another sign pointing me in the direction of the detour, which I followed. After that I wound up on a series of small, winding country roads complete with one-lane bridges that I would never have dreamed of taking on my way to work today. There were times that the road was so small that I wondered if the person who had developed this detour really knew where he was leading me. This detour added miles and time to my drive that I had not planned or intended; and I loved it! I got to see some beautiful sights along that country drive that I never would have seen if I had been allowed to continue along the path that I had chosen, and it made me think how similar our lives are to my commute this morning.
We set out in life and create all of these dreams and plans for what we are going to be and how our life is going to look and the time-frame in which it is all going to occur. Then the detours happen. Dreams morph into reality. Plans get changed. Life starts to head in a direction that we had not intended, and begins to look like something other than what we had foreseen. And if things we planned do occur, they rarely fit into our neat little time-frames. I know that the life I envisioned for myself when I was in college is not what I have now. In fact, the path that I saw my life taking two years ago is not the same path I’m on now, and that’s okay. It’s not even just okay, it’s perfect. Just like my detour through the countryside this morning, each roadblock and detour in my life has led me on a journey that has brought me to where I am now; which I believe is exactly where God intended for my life to be at this moment.
That’s not to say that all of the journeys have been easy. Let’s face it, some of those detours can be narrow and winding. I had a major roadblock in my life a year and a half ago that popped up in the form of a job loss. This was definitely not a road I would have dreamed of choosing; but it led me to a job that I never would have considered taking if the job loss didn’t occur, and taking that job led to a promotion to a job that I love. Had that roadblock not popped up, forcing me to take a detour that I didn’t want to take, I would never have had the opportunity that I have now.
The hard part for us is to be able to let go of our own selfish plans and desires and look to God for direction in our lives. Our purpose in life is not to achieve the things that we desire; our purpose is to fulfill God’s desire for us, the other things are just icing on the cake. Psalm 31:3 says “For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me”. God is always there to lead and guide us if we are open to his direction. All we have to do is trust His plan and enjoy the journey, detours and all.
How can I stand here, and watch the sun rise.
Follow the mountains, where they touch the sky.
Ponder the vastness, and the depths of the sea
And think for a moment, the point of it all, is to make much of me
Much of You by Steven Curtis Chapman
What detours and roadblocks have you experienced in life that turned out to be better than your original path?