When Life Takes a Detour You Didn’t Expect

On my way driving to work this week I saw the dreaded sign of any trip- “Road Closed”

Road Close Sign

You know the routine. 

“Road closed ahead.”


“Local traffic only.”

“Proceed with caution.”

As soon as I saw the sign, I began to sweat and get irritated.  I knew that this meant that my daily routine and commute to work was going to be there was going to be a detour and I would have to find a short cut around the problem.

We’ve all been there.

The path was chosen, the course was clear, our destination intentional and then, to make the trip even more difficult… a detour.

Change in the name of progress I guess.  It’s result… a longer trip than normal.  Oh, not a lot longer, but still. 

Our time is precious, isn’t it?  And here I lost a few minutes to a detour!

A few minutes?

Is my life that structured that a few minutes makes that big of a difference? Based upon my initial reaction, I would have said yes but in truth probably not.

A detour.  An opportunity to see new things.  Not always the way we probably look at road construction.

It’s unavoidable in driving.  There may be an accident ahead, traffic construction or weather issues.  Detours promise I will still get to my destination, but not as I had planned and not when I had planned.

And such is life.

Have you ever been cruising through your day, only to be sidetracked by something unplanned?  An unexpected problem to deal with.  A sick child.  A broken door as you’re headed out.  An unhappy client.  And on and on.

Or maybe even bigger things.  A job lost. An unexpected death.  An accident leading into a long hospital stay.  Life is full of unplanned detours.  Some small.  Some big.  And on the surface, it can be hard to look at any of these as being good.Image result for why me?

“Ugh.  How long far behind is this going to put me.”

“Why does this always happen when I’m so busy.”

“Why me?”

Does any of this sound familiar?  I know I’ve been there.  Cruising along, hitting on all cylinders – and then – bang!  Road closed ahead.  Sending a clear message to me that I have to find a different path through life.

It all can be frustrating.  Maybe you want to pull your hair out.  Or just crawl into bed and never come back out. Cry. Throw something.  Retreat.

What if. 

What if, we looked at life detours through a different lens?  You may have done this before.  What if we looked at life’s detours as something to embrace.  In many cases, we can’t just barge through the “road closed” signs in life.  Taking a detour is the only way to keep moving forward.

In life, we always have a choice as to what that detour will be.  And that’s a choice of our attitude and the path we choose to take.  When we can see the positive, the good that’s out there – those detours in life can be very life-fulfilling.  There’s so much out there in our world.  And so there’s no way we can see and experience everything life has to offer.  Taking a few detours along the way – and really experiencing them – what a great opportunity to see a different path in life.  Meet new people.  Build new relationships.  Develop new ideas. Start a new career. The list is endless.  Especially if we’re open to seeing the possibilities that exist on these “detours” life often throws at us.

That’s not to say that some detours won’t be sad or frustrating or challenging.  There will be detours that are.  Still, even in these detours of life, we have a chance to grow and learn more about ourselves – as hard as some of those hours may be.  It may be allowing the pain we feel to surface and come out. 

When we do this, when we start to accept more deeply the detours in our life, even these very difficult detours – that’s when we’re ready to experience a richer and more abundant life.  Even if it doesn’t feel like that “in the moment”, there is abundance waiting for all of us, if we allow it in.

Life detours happen to all of us.  There’s just no way everything is going to go just as planned in your life.  In fact, looking closely, it’s hard to go very long at all without some sort of “life detour” thrown at us.  Some can be really big. Some really small.  And anywhere in between.

My own life has been full of detours, routes I never planned or anticipated.  I’m sure you have seen them as well.  The problem with a detour in our faith is we easily lose our way, lose sight of the goal and wander off course.

A detour will present itself for any believer who decides to pursue God.  It always happens. It might take moments or days to get back on course, but we dare not forget where we were going.

All through the Bible our relationship with God is described as a walk.  A walk has certain elements to its success- a start, a destination and the path to get there.  Often, as we walk with God a detour can come.  It might be as simple as a distraction, a health issue, a family crisis, a job change.  Detours happen in every life. The problem comes when we forget where we were going and wander off to other passions and desires.

It’s not the detour that is ever the problem.  

It’s how we respond to them.



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