Your closest exit may be behind you

A couple of weeks ago my husband, Michael and I headed to the mountains for some down time. Part of our relaxing vacation involved finding fishing holes for Michael. He drowns a few worms and I sit and read or write. It’s a perfect combination. A quick Google search located a huge lake 20 minutes away from our hotel. We stopped at a bait shop for a few things and then hit “start” to activate our adventure. It didn’t take long before we were off the beaten path. Winding up and down the narrow roads, following SIRI's every turn, we thought we might hear banjos at any moment. And then without so much as a glimpse of a body of water, SIRI announced, “Arrived.”

Have you ever gotten to a time in your life where you thought you should have "arrived" but it didn't look like what you thought it would? What did you do?

We tried to figure out if we had taken a wrong turn but we were squarely on the infamous blue line. Since we had come this far, we decided to go a little farther. Eventually we saw a sign: "lake access" with an arrow. We eagerly followed the signs and started seeing the lake through the trees until we arrived at a dead end in a parking lot for a boat ramp. Ugh. There were no gentle slopes to the lake where Michael could fish. No place to sit and read-just a steep sloping slab of concrete. This was worse than before. We could see it. We just couldn't get to it! "Lake access" meant access for boats. We would have to turn back.

I don't turn back. It's one of the greatest frustrations between me and my husband. I believe in forward progress... ALWAYS! I despise turning around. If we miss an exit, I'll convince my husband that whatever we need will be at the next exit.

Don't despise detours that seem to take you backwards. Instead, consider what they tell you on airplanes: "Keep in mind your closest exit may be behind you." If a plane was on fire and you refused to go to an exit behind you, you would be crazy!  Likewise if we had stayed there all day whining about how no one thought about people without boats, you would've called us crazy. And yet metaphorically I think a lot of us sit in a place where we "ended up" and shake our fist at the opportunities that don't exist for us instead of looking for the ones that do. What if you're only as stuck as you're unwillingness to move? 

We did go backwards that day. We backtracked. And with nothing more than a general direction we ended up at the best park ever! We were able to park right by the picnic tables and the fishing area. This park had a handicapped-accessible fishing dock so we didn't have to navigate a steep slope. There were plenty of trees so we were able to sit in the shade and take in the incredible view. What a wonderfully relaxing place we could've missed if we had given up. 

Going backward to go forward is not weakness. It's an opportunity to see and learn something you may have missed when you were there before. It's a chance to end up at the perfect place-YOUR perfect place. 

Where could you backtrack in your marriage, your career, your friendships that might take you to a new place of intimacy, fulfillment, or community your heart longs for?