So, most of you have noticed I’ve been a bit MIA for a few months and have pulled me up on it (YAY for accountability!) I’ll be honest, I haven’t been 100% and my faith has been tested on huge levels. Instead of facing my issues head on, I decided to bury them deep and pretend they’ll either: a) one day fix itself or b) disappear and be forgotten about. Can anyone else relate with me? When you have a mountain of problems caused by yourself and/or others and you hit the snooze button for months… #epicfail.
I knew I had to somehow get my act together, build relationships again that had broken down and get back to being myself – joyful and wholly focused on God’s will, but instead I’d become complacent and only focused on what was best for me, or so I thought. Here within begins my detour journey – literally and figuratively.
On the surface, life is going great, hubby and I had just been promoted, we paid off our holiday to Japan, we’d got our car fixed after a million things went wrong with it; things were really on the up! So what’s there to worry about? I noticed I was happy, but I wasn’t filled with joy, if any of you know my best friend Bea, you know there’s a huge difference between the two…but that’s a story for another day! Anyway, I wasn’t joyful, as flattering worldly gain is and definitely appreciated, I knew spiritually something had died in me that was throwing me off course. I wasn’t praying often, my devotionals were irregular, my use of certain words/topic of conversation alarmed my friends, my anxiety was back and kicking again, I was overthinking 24/7 which caused me to go to bed with a migraine and wake up with one – painkillers did nothing. I was exhausted after sleeping for 9 hours and even though I’d increased exercising thinking it would give me a new wave of energy, it just made it worse. I lived like this for a good two months, just doing my usual routine, not challenging myself, not applying myself, not making any effort to really shine and be the woman God called me to be…until last Friday.
I set home from work at around 4:45PM and thought to myself “woah, what a week!” I’m sure I had worked close to 55 hours in just 5 days, if we’re counting e-mail exchanges I’d sent from home and in transit to work. I was so exhausted and couldn’t wait to get home to sleep. I knew my usual driving route would probably be congested at this time on a Friday afternoon, so I set my Sat-Nav to the quickest route home, giving me live updates on traffic and changing my route frequently to avoid it. I zoomed closely at the route and I was really unsure, it was really unfamiliar and almost in the polar opposite direction to how I’d usually get home. Nonetheless, what did I do? I took the detour, thinking I’d be home before I knew it.
About half way in, I was really struggling to figure out exactly where I was. My Sat-Nav was telling me I was 20 minutes from home, but I’d never taken this route before. I decided to ignore my Sat-Nav for a while (so stubborn, right?!) but eventually, I gave in, and took the next right as instructed.
As I stopped at a red light in the right lane, I noticed a left turn was coming up in less than 1000 feet. I slowed down to position myself in the left lane. I saw a white van in my left mirror and I was tempted to just drive on to avoid waiting for it to pass (impatient driver problems!) but I’d taken a detour all up till now and it really wasn’t fun, I’d made such a mess of my route thus far so this left turn was vital for me to take to get back on track. I didn’t anticipate the van speeding up as I indicated, and before long, the van mounted the pavement to avoid colliding into me, and I swerved quickly almost colliding head on to another vehicle. I was shaking, but I was in such a dangerous position on a busy 30mph road, I had to drive on and miss my turn. Fifteen minutes later, I got home and texted my husband, he was at a work do so I didn’t want to disturb him, but I just wanted to assure him I was okay. Then, I sat in my car for an hour, contemplated the events of that afternoon and how it’s parallel to how my life had been for about 2 months, avoiding the path I should be on, coming up with a million and one excuses to procrastinate and how in the space of 30mins, due to my careless actions how it could’ve cost me something. I paused. It all started to click in and make sense. My detour, my lack of ability to be vigilant to others around me, almost cost me something. Granted, probably not my life entirely, but something. Something life-changing that could’ve easily been avoided if I had just been more careful, more patient and MAYBE just taken my usual route, instead of trying to rush ahead of time. It spoke volumes to me, and reminded me of the Prodigal Son, how he had left his father’s house and went on a big spending spree, to be left with nothing in the end and the only option to return home. How fitting that at the end of my detour, I too ended up home physically, but also spiritually, united with my Father and longing to be in His presence once again, because I too had been detouring (perhaps not as lavishly as the prodigal son, I’m married y’all! My cash is my husband’s and vice versa so frugality is key here! Haha!) but I’d been detouring on key relationships, on commitments, on my personal goals and so, so, so much more.
Relatable? C’mon, don’t leave me hanging here! Have you taken a detour on life just because things aren’t exactly going the way you want it to go, so you play God and just take the wheel and decide to go left instead of right? You know really you should go right, but because of your desire to control the script as you think you know best, you go left and end up being in an uneasy situation and you think, hmm if only I went right, my route probably would’ve been less congested and more smooth. This could be a figurative story of our lives, heck it is mine, time and time again! Not only trying to outsmart my Sat-Nav, but essentially, outsmart God, thinking that remaining in complacency and familiarity, is better than moving in boldness, peace and fulfilment.
Friends, I pray it doesn’t take a near life or death situation for you to realise that sweeping issues under the rug will never make you whole, cutting out people without exhausting every option for reconciliation will never bring you peace, and taking detours ‘to explore other avenues’ is not cute nor ‘the way to go’. It’s dangerous, destructive and selfish. The world constantly screams me, myself and I, taking care of number one, cutting out ‘bad vibes’ and not letting anyone destroy your peace etc. It all sounds poetic and positive on an Instagram post, but really, It’s all for self gain, pride and selfishness; you’re never truly at peace or fulfilled. Honestly, most selfish people I’ve met are immensely bitter and lonely. It’s not comforting nor inviting to say that selfishness brought them there. It’s not an achievement or something to boast about. You’re left broken, irritated, insecure and unhappy. Hard pill to swallow I know, but I can say this because I’ve been there! How did I get out of it? By embracing true peace, knowing my purpose as a woman of God and operating (or at least trying, can’t say I’m fully there yet) in selflessness; placing the needs of others before your own. I’m always overcome with emotion when I hear about people going on mission trips, or running a marathon or doing a worthy cause for charity, because their hearts are so invested in more than just themselves, the amount of pleasure and joy it brings them is so overwhelming and commendable. That’s the kinda joy I want, the one that brings a smile to another person’s face because of a selflessness act. I just imagine how much of a difference I could make if I was like that with everyone I came into contact with, not just my husband, or my family, or my besties, but everyone, loving them before myself, speaking their core love language and just bringing immense joy to their lives. I honestly heard God speak to me last Friday and say: “What are you doing with your life at the moment, and how are you representing Me?” That shook me to my core…are my actions a living representation of Him? Thank God for His grace to live out a new day in His will, thank God for a new day to start living life to the full as we really don’t know when our last day on earth is, it’s all numbered and we’re out here doing foolish things instead of reaching our full potential. My detour has ended, I’m back on track and looking ahead and not behind. I can’t afford to be distracted by assumption, anxiety, fear of failure and many more things, I have to press on towards the mark, will you join me?