The heart of man plans his way; but the Lord establishes his steps.”
One of the first things you notice about a road trip, is that no matter how much or how well you have planned – things won’t always go your way. There is going to be some issue, on some road, which will make it where you can’t follow the road you thought you were supposed to. It’s the moment where you become reliant on your GPS to reroute you and take you around your obstacle.
It’s also the moment where you decide to veer away from your GPS to see what lies off the path.
It’s a detour.
Life, like road trips, tend to give us situations, times where a detour is necessary.
Are you someone who makes a 5 year plan? Are you in middle school and already know where you’re going to college? Are you in high school and positive you know who you’re going to marry? Are you in college and certain you know what job you’re going to work after college? Are you in grad school and confident the PhD is next for you? Are you married and have already planned out where your future child is going to go to college?
We all make them; we all have them.
The question is, how tight do we hold on to them?
Are you someone who grips your plans tight, holding them with a close fist? Or are you someone who is willing to hold your plans with in your open palm?
I’m someone who makes plans. I’m also a verbal processor, so I make a lot of plans. If you were to look at the whiteboard in my office at any given moment, you may wonder just how exactly I plan to get everything done!
But, I make plans. I also make to do lists, because even my plans need plans.
This road trip was a chance for my wife and I to detox from plans gone awry. For the first time in months, we were able to actually follow a path, to follow a plan, to move forward into the next season. But, this came on the heels of having to take the biggest life detour, I think either of us had ever experienced before.
Sure, I’d detoured and moved to Seattle. Sure, I detoured and moved to Wenatchee. Sure, I’d transitioned out of jobs and seminaries.
I knew how to hold my plans and my life loosely.
If you had asked me, I would have told you I was a person who didn’t hold any aspect of my life with a closed fist.
Truthfully, that’s true.
Yet, this didn’t mean detours come easily for me.
This road trip was the chance where we were able to take our first positive step towards a new reality, towards our new road. Our time of detouring, of rerouting, was no officially over.
We all have to take them from time to time.
You can get frustrated or you can roll with the punches. The choice is yours.
You can hold to your plan or accept the new reality. The choice is yours.
I think of a quote I heard from the legendary former Dodgers announcer, Vin Scully:
If you want to make God smile go ahead and tell him your plans.
Don’t be afraid to take a detour every now and again. These detours can wind up being the best part of a road trip.
We took a detour and wound up leading us to a state park on the coast of Oregon; it wound to us seeing a heard of elk grazing in the open field. This was only made possible with a detour.
I wanted to turn around at one point. Figure out a quicker, shorter route, to get back on the road.
But, we would have missed this beautiful sight.
Make your plan.
Have a plan.
Don’t be afraid to veer.
Be willing to chart a new course.