I’ll never forget a solo road trip I took from St. Louis to Des Moines. It was a sunny day. The sky was bright blue and filled with white, fluffy clouds. I had never been through Iowa. The lush, green cornfields and picturesque farms took my breath away.
I was meeting up with a friend. As time was ticking away, I realized I had taken a wrong turn going eighty miles out of my way!
I called to tell her I would be late. Just then, the fuel light went on. The lovely fields of corn stretching out for miles and miles weren’t so lovely anymore!
Thankfully, I was able to find an exit to turn around and a gas station where I was able to receive directions and refuel. My wrong turn took me on a detour two hours out of my way, but I eventually made it to my destination.
We All Make Wrong Turns
On this journey of life, I’ve certainly made a lot of wrong turns, not just on the highway. But that’s where God’s grace comes in. God lovingly allows us to make our choices and is always there to lead us and guide us especially when we pay attention and ask for help.
Practice Thinking “But Then” Instead of “What If”
It’s easy to go down the road of “what if” thinking. What if I hadn’t taken that job? What if I hadn’t gotten into a relationship with that person? What if I had just waited instead of rushing into things?
When those “what if” questions start to swirl in your mind, practice saying, “But then” instead.
Here are some of my own examples:
What if I had not returned to my faith (which I turned away from for twenty years)? But then I would not have met my husband Robert or have my wonderful friends and church family (and a million other things!).
What if I had stayed in the radio business? But then, I would not have published two books or be creating and writing to the degree that I am now.
What if I had decided to play it safe and not trust God to provide? But then I would have missed out on all the amazing people I’ve met and opportunities that have come into my life.
What areas can you think back on and change your “what if” questions to “but then” answers?
We all feel lost from time to time. It’s a terrible feeling.
I’ve not felt really lost until I left my corporate life behind to pursue my writing dreams. Writing can be a solitary life sitting alone behind a computer for a lot of the day. There’s no longer an office to go to full of co-workers to talk to and bond with.
Unless someone responds to an email I send, or comments on a blog post or social media post, I have no idea if all this writing I put out into the world has any value to people.
When I have those times of feeling lost, I remember the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Jesus says:
“If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.”Matthew 18:12-13
I find comfort in knowing that I am sought after in my lostness. These lost feelings don’t last for long.
Detours Can be Positive
I love this definition of detour from the Cambridge Dictionary:
A way of getting to a place that is indirect and longer than the usual way, and which is taken in order to avoid a particular problem or to do something special.
The famous Greek mathematician, Archimedes, is credited with, “The distance between two points is a straight line.”
Our life’s journey is rarely in a straight line. I love how the definition says that detours can actually avoid a problem or do something special.
Maybe the detours in your life have taken you away from a problem unbeknownst to you.
If your detours have taken you down a dark road, know that the Good Shepherd will search for you and bring you back to where you are supposed to be.
You Need a Destination in Order to Get There
You can’t get lost or hit detours if you have no idea where you want to go! But that’s no way to live a life! I hope you choose to live full of joy and FLOW.
In The Four Steps to FLOW, Step One is to Fancy something. That means to want something. It’s a dream you have, a purpose, your heart’s desires.
When you decide what you want, something very powerful happens. People and opportunities come into your life as you take steps to follow your dream.
God wants to give you the desires of your heart when you trust him to do so. Psalm 37:4 says:
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Wrong Turn? Pay Attention to Your Internal Guidance System
If you’ve taken a wrong turn, tune into your own guidance system. Everyone has a still, small voice. It’s the voice of your own spirit within. You might call it your gut or your heart too. It’s an internal knowing when something is right or not right.
Along with your own spirit, you have God’s Spirit within you. It’s the voice of Truth. You can hear it, but only when you are still enough to listen.
Don’t Run Out of Gas
It’s important to take good care of yourself physically through proper rest, hydration, and eating nutritious food to fuel your body. If you don’t, you can allow fatigue and depression to seep in. That makes you vulnerable to those feelings of being lost and thinking those “what if” thoughts.
Fuel your spirit through prayer, reading your Bible, meditation, reading inspirational material, and getting out into nature.
Keep moving in the direction of your desires. As you do, those feelings of lostness won’t last for long. Most of all, remember that there are no wrong turns, only detours on the spiritual journey that you’ve chosen.
If fear, anxiety or “what if” thoughts drown out your still, small voice, you can easily silence them through a guided meditation. Listen to samples of these God-centered, guided meditations. Read how they are helping others find peace, clarity, and direction to make the right turns.