Are Detours Really Detouring?

A few months back, I was dropping off a friend at the Indianapolis airport and got all turned around in construction. I don’t live in Indy. I work there. And I’m new. Worse yet, the construction is near the airport. Without going into the details of my frustration, it wound up taking me about 90 minutes to do what should have taken 30-40. I was extremely frustrated as I was detoured and taken to a place which was unfamiliar and a dead end. I had to turn around, circle back, and find an alternate route to finally get back on track and get to my destination.

Fast forward two months.

I’m headed toward the airport to pick up some folks and get the address. As the directions were communicated and I was following my Google Maps on my iPhone, I navigated right through the same spaces I had two months before efficiently and with confidence. Why? I had been there. I hadn’t wanted to. But because I had, navigating was easy. I was able to find the people I was supposed to with virtually no trouble.

I was taken on an unexpected detour.  One that took me to places I didn’t want to go.  One that happened at a time which was very inconvenient for me.  One I fought.  But later I stumbled back onto unwanted roads but had my bearings and could move through them because of my experience.

Question:  How often do we fight our detours and count them as distractions?

As I smiled heading through the roads less traveled for the second time with ease, I was reminded of several instances in the past few weeks where I had been distracted or taken down a pathway I didn’t want to go.  I fought it.  It was inconvenient.  But later it made sense to me why I went down that detour because it helped me in the future.

What’s The Difference?

Camping at SBC

“Your word is a Lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105  Even if we haven’t memorized this or know where it’s found (full disclosure, I didn’t remember), we’ve heard this verse.  A few years back, Grace and I went on a camping adventure to Somerset Beach Campground.  She was maybe 7.  We set up the tent, made s’mores, went out into a boat to fish with a Barbie fishing pole and worms on a hook (didn’t catch anything), snuggled under the stars on a blanket, and went for a hike in the woods at night.  It was on this hike that I had one of those “Good Dad” moments.

As we hiked in the darkness, I had a flashlight and the verse hit me.  We somehow got into the conversation and I showed Grace what the lamp looks like and what the light looks like.  I pointed the flashlight at the ground in front of us and we looked out on the dark path.  I showed her that this is what faith looks like.  That our Abba lights the next steps but doesn’t necessarily show us the whole deal.  For one reason or another, our role is simply to be obedient to the next step.  We can’t and don’t see the big picture.  We just need to be obedient in the moment.

Bending My Will

We’ve got some pretty straightforward instructions in Scripture and they don’t involve words like control and me.

Maybe some of those detours are Abba taking me away from places I know to places where I’m given opportunity to submit to his agenda and will.  Maybe life isn’t going to do what I want it to.  Meet my expectations.  My comfort.  My agenda.  Actually, as I understand Scripture, Bonhoffer had it right that the message is really to “Come and Die”.  Who’s will wins?  We know the answer.  If we think there are choices, we’re not living in reality.

Maybe what I’m learning along the way is a simple lesson I taught my little girl years ago.  One step at at time.  And even further, when the steps take me where I’m not familiar, understand, or want to go, maybe I just need to be obedient on the detour.  Maybe what I think is a detour is right where I need to be.  Or maybe where I’ll need to be in a few weeks.

How about you?  Are you a little OCD?  Control freaky?  C’mon.  Admit it.  What are some ideas you could take to begin to give it up?  To bend your will toward Abba?  To lighten up and go with His flow?

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