Road closed ahead,
the gps told us. Follow directions for
detour. Expect delays.
We pulled off the highway at the exit, following the signs
and the line of cars along a winding, narrow country road, past quiet houses on
the outskirts of nowhere. The trail of traffic crept slowly, a line of red tail
lights stretching into the distance. We often sat motionless, idling in grid
lock, wedged between rumbling engines with no end in sight.
Inside our car, patience wore thin. We moaned and muttered about
the injustice of this delay to the start of our vacation.
“By the time we get out of this, the week will be over.”
“We’ll have to turn around and go home.”
But as we waited behind a smoking diesel semi-trailer, it occurred to me that I didn’t know the reason for our forced delay, but God did. I considered that an accident may have closed that stretch of highway, or a construction team was working to make the road smoother for others. I began to appreciate that God had rerouted us along scenic country roads where the sun set behind distant hills. I gave thanks that our detour carried us around a scene of potential danger and got us moving again in the right direction. Despite arriving at our hotel three hours later than we anticipated, tired and irritated from the long delay, I felt grateful that we were safe and able to continue on our travels.
We are often forced to take detours in our lives. Trips
don’t always go as planned. Routes change. Unexpected events make demands on
our time, and unforeseen obstacles block our paths.
Too often we focus on our desired destinations. We fret
about schedules and estimated times of arrival. We grumble and complain about where
we want to be, when we should instead give thanks and appreciate whatever road
we are traveling.
Today I pray you are grateful for the detour you are facing. Know there is a reason you are exploring that winding, twisting route along a road you may not have expected to see. Remember that God is leading you safely around any barriers that block your way, and He will put you on the correct path to your destination.
Where is your road taking you today? How do you show
gratitude for the delays in your journey?
We often impose schedules on our road trips through life,
mandatory departure windows and estimated times of arrival. We barrel down the
highway, watching the speedometer, eager to reach our destination where the
real fun will begin. Our goal is to put miles behind us, covering ground while
keeping our eyes on the road ahead; but if we don’t take time to pause and
consider our expectations and reasons for traveling, we may miss many important
sights along the way. The following are a few reasons we should slow down and
make time to for periodic stops along our journeys.
Stop to . . .
Listen to your spirit and decide which move forward is right
Ask yourself if the time is right for this particular
journey and what you hope to discover at the end of the road.
Calculate the cost of your new adventure and prepare all you
will need to take with you on your way.
Think about your reasons for embarking on your travels and
know that your motivations remain true to your heart.
When you have decided set out on the trip you have planned, make sure to take time along the way to . . .
Look around and get your bearings before proceeding on your
Evaluate your progress and make any needed course
corrections, right wrongs, reverse wrong turns, and reconsider your next steps.
Enjoy the breathtaking views along your route, the
unbelievable beauty of the world, and the unexpected ways God provides for all
Explore your new level of understanding as you encounter new
experience and grow into new wisdom.
Once you have reached your final goal and celebrated your success, remember to . . .
Pause again to recognize how far you’ve come.
Appreciate all you have gained and give thanks for the
courage, spirit, and determination you found to complete your journey.
Realize that success is not in achieving a goal but in learning a lesson and sharing what you have learned with others you meet.
Nurture a relationship and know that our most important blessings
are the people who travel with us throughout our lives.
Finally, stop to pray in gratitude for all the twists and
turns on your road and how all have contributed to the person you have become. Be
happy that your journey is unique and special to you.
I wish you many blessed discoveries on your journey!
Where are you planning to travel this summer? Where do you
expect to pause along the road ahead?
I love a road trip. I love planning it, studying maps and
guidebooks, reading about travelers who have gone before me, looking for the
fastest routes to the most intriguing views. I love the anticipation phase,
packing suitcases, trying to calculate every situation that may arise and every
change of clothing I may need when I get there. I love hitting the road with
excitement and hopefulness, watching the scenery shift and expand outside the
car windows, asking “Are we there yet?” at every crossroads, and the rewarding
moment when the road signs finally respond, “Only one more mile.”
My first books were Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series. I
loved following the Ingalls family on the adventures of their permanent road
trip. I envied their family togetherness and their willingness to encounter miles
of totally unexplored countryside.
A road trip is a good metaphor for life, I think. We have to
have faith that whatever lies beyond our current field of vision is worth the
effort and the risk it takes to get there. It is only when we venture beyond
the places that are comfortable and constricting that we learn more about the
world and grow from our experience. When we have the courage to step away from
the stories we have been told, we return home with new wisdom and insights
This spring I have been traveling. I have spent many hours
seated in a car to finally walk through ocean waves. So far I have learned that
God is able to take us anywhere; but we have to be prepared to take many rest
stops along the way, adjust routes and schedules around unforeseen detours, and
appreciate that our companions through life are what make the road worth
Today my bookshelves hold many volumes that inspire me. The book She Explores by Gale Straub reminds me that women are brave travelers who are free to follow their individual paths to adventure. (You may order it from Amazon here, though I’m not affiliated, just sharing a book I enjoy and value.)
This summer I will be writing more about the roads I have
traveled and the lessons I have gathered on the way. I have another road trip
to take in July. My route is planned, my bags are already, partially packed,
and I’m looking forward to bringing back new insights to share with the people
who travel the road with me. I pray you embark on many journeys and find many
new and exciting stories of your own.
Where are your travels taking you this summer?
What do you anticipate learning on the road?