I enjoy road trips. They can be exciting experiences in themselves, with stops along the way and opportunities to find adventure or view unique sights only found in the town or state that you are passing through. The best road trips are those that are not on a set schedule, where each day is a blank page and the drawn map is a map of where you have been, not where you are going.
Road trips can also be the avenue to a destination. A means to get to where you are anxious to arrive. In these cases, a plan is made, a map is drawn, the cruise control set just below the ‘too fast’ line and off you go – making as few stops as possible – because the whole point is the end goal.
In 2006 my kids and I moved to a new state and started a new life which was much like a meandering road trip. I was not in a hurry, there was no end goal and there was no push to meet expectations beyond what was over the next rise. Through the years I learned a lot about myself, about motherhood, about friendship and about the Lord. Each curve in the road brought new opportunity for growth and I meandered along taking my time with no purpose.
Fast forward nearly a decade and the road trip changed. I set my focus on a goal and began to travel toward it with determination. That is not to say I didn’t take a detour or two, it’s not to say I didn’t hit a few dead ends that forced me to adjust, but my focus, my goal was a destination and in that singular focus, for a while, I lost sight of the beauty of the journey and the destination became my sole purpose.
Until I was forced to stop. (To stick with the analogy of a road trip) – my car broke down and I don’t have the tools to fix it. I have an idea what might be wrong, but it is beyond my ability to fix. So, I have to wait on my [heavenly] mechanic and trust that he will help, that he won’t abandon me, and that he knows what I need.
In the meantime, the beautiful map that I had drawn, charting out the best route to what I saw as my destination has been has been ruined by a carelessly spilled cup of coffee and has become unreadable.
Has my destination changed? I don’t know.
I know all it would take would be a quick change of mind and I can ‘call a taxi’ and take the easy road back to the directionless life I had before. A life lived not for my heavenly destination, but for momentary pleasure. But that is not what God has for me. He has chosen my heavenly destination and He has already laid out the best route if I would just listen. Is God’s plan for my next earthly destination still where I was trying to go? I have no way of knowing that right now. But what I do know is that, as of this moment, He has not removed the desire from my heart.
It is hard to wait, it is hard to put my trip on hold without knowing where I am going. It is hard to look up from my own hand drawn map and admit that my path, my planned destination may not be what the Lord has in store for me. But I think at this point, it would be harder not to trust that the Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, knows better than I. And each and every day He is drawing me closer to Him and teaching me how to fully trust.
If I have learned one thing in my life it is this, even the most confusing transitions can be redeemed for good, even the most painful interruptions can be a picture of God’s provision. He is active and present in our lives and if we are seeking His will, there is no destination that can ever lead us where He has not already gone before and prepared the way.