Recently, I visited my family in Pittsburgh, which is a four hour drive from where I live. Since I visit frequently the four hour ride is not in the least bit a nuisance to me. However on this particular visit, when I was leaving to return home, part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike I have to travel to get to Maryland was shut down because of an accident. I had to take a detour. The detour was a route I never drove before and needless to say it was long! It was one lane for two hours through the Allegheny Mountains and various small towns. I became increasingly frustrated as the ride grew longer and slower. I was accustomed to my four hour drive with plenty of lanes and not many surprises. After a while I realized being annoyed wouldn’t get me home any quicker and I decided to make the best out of a different route.
Detours are inevitable in life. One moment you’re moving along your normal path and bang! Some situation makes you change course. It is unnerving to travel down an unfamiliar road. But, sometimes there is no other choice, but to take a detour. While riding down the windy one lane road I began thinking about how detours in the road of life could be beneficial. The next time life throws a big orange detour sign in your face don’t automatically assume the worst, instead think about what it can teach you.
Here are a few lessons I came away with:
A Change of Scenery Does the Body and Mind Good
I believe God sometimes wants us to have a change of scenery. He makes us look outside of the familiar places, people and things we grow so used to and experience a different outlook. Detours allow us the unique opportunity to absorb beauty and life in a way that we may not of if we continued to stay on our normal route. Think about how much you’d miss if you never took an alternative route.
Patience is a Virtue
After two hours of one lane traffic, I can truly say my patience was tested! Yelling out loud did absolutely nothing to shave off minutes from my drive. When I decided to be patient, I found myself enjoying looking at the little towns, talking with my daughter, and feeling content with being in the present. Detours slow us down and remind us to be patient and allow everything to flow on its natural course without us trying to control it. Detours help us to relinquish control and be open to allowing the alternative route to take us where we’re supposed to be in its own good time.
Proceed with Caution
You have no idea what the road pattern will be like when you take a detour. Detours can help you avoid head-on crashes you couldn’t possibly see when you’re rushing along. They make you realize that when in unknown territory it is wise for you to proceed with caution. Detours teach you to be observant, slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. It is important to test the waters, use discernment and sound judgment when heading down an unknown path.
Alternative Routes May Be Necessary to Get Home
There will be times in our life that in order for us to get to the place we need to be, we’re going to have to take an alternative route. It may not be a detour you ever planned on taking, but it’s necessary if you want to get to the place God needs you to be. If you don’t follow the detour signs you’ll remain stuck in the same place, never moving forward along your journey and missing the destination God has in store for you.
Pray for Direction
We need God’s direction! Not every detour is marked with clear signs leading the way home. Detours can cause confusion. It’s easy to get lost along the way and not have the slightest idea on how to get back on the right path. It is vital that you pray during every step of your journey. God will guide you along the dark, unknown road. He’ll be your compass and turn you around when you take a wrong exit. On those dark traveling nights He’ll light your path, but you have to pray and be willing to take His directions.
Detours can be scary, discouraging, long, and may appear to be an unnecessary distraction in your daily routine. However, detours can also lead to wonderful discoveries, new paths, and enriching experiences if you don’t fight the road. Life is full of twists and turns, some will be pleasant and others may break your heart, but know God’s purpose for you is behind every detour if you trust Him.
Copyright © Chere Williams, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved