Last week, I had a meeting in a neighboring town. After the meeting, I decided to swing by a few stores on the way home. The highway to my destination is undergoing construction, and as I neared the exit I needed to take, I saw what appeared to be only construction traffic in the far right lane. I kept going, thinking the exit lane was beyond the long line of dump trucks. I was wrong. Quickly, I saw the exit and there was no way to squeeze between bumper-to-bumper traffic. I had to go several miles to the next exit, cross the bridge, come back, and exit on the other side of the highway.
Sometimes, life is like a fast-approaching exit just beyond a long line of unmoving traffic. Many things factor in to our ability to assess the situation, navigate through it, and reach our destination. Here are some things to consider:
Perceptions and Assumptions
When I neared the exit last week, I saw an area blocked off by barricades and trucks moving in and out of the area. To me, it appeared that the trucks in the right lane were an extension of the movement and work in the barricaded area, so I assumed the right lane was only for construction traffic. What I couldn’t see was the traffic beyond the trucks, made up of cars, vans, and SUVs. Had I been able to see the full line of traffic I would have realized, in time, that it was the exit lane. Instead, what I perceived led to an incorrect assumption.
Assumptions can get us into trouble. Often we make assumptions based on what we perceive and our perceptions aren’t always accurate. At a glance, we can’t see what is beyond the immediate or know the master plan behind current circumstances. Or we make assumptions based on a prior experience or someone else’s opinion.
If possible, take time to verify that what you perceive is accurate, and avoid making assumptions without additional investigation.
I was annoyed about missing the exit and having to travel several miles beyond, and then back, to reach my intended destination. But in the process, I discovered the exit on the opposite side of the highway had less traffic, no construction zone, and deposited me closer to my destination.
Life is similar. Often, we grow impatient with detours and delays only to find we’ve been saved from events or relationships that could have been detrimental or sent us in a direction far from our desired location.
Delays are never easy, especially if they involve illness or some other slowdown that makes us feel we’re going nowhere and missing out on opportunities. But by looking for positives in detours and delays we gain perspective and maintain forward motion. Today’s delay or detour may result in an unencumbered path farther down the road.
Reaching the Destination
Once I reached my destination, I was able to complete my mission in a short amount of time and then access the road home. The journey was not without peril. I had to pay close attention to speeding drivers, avoid distractions, anticipate quick lane-changers and sudden slow downs, and exit ramp backups, but, with focus, I made it home safely.
Our goals aren’t always easily reached and the journey to our destinations a straight shot. Detours come, roadblocks materialize, and alternate routes challenge, but by learning along the way, trusting God for direction, and moving forward, we complete the mission and reach our destination.
You may feel you’ve encountered a roadblock for which there is no by-pass or a detour that has you wandering far from your intended destination. Ask God for insights, help to find creative solutions, and directions to a straighter path. Realize your current waiting period may speed you ahead in days to come, and trust the process, no matter how tedious and slow.
“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP