3 Encouraging Thoughts to Get You Through Life’s Detours
We’ve all been there. Life is going great, the sky is blue, the bills are paid, and we can see our dreams on the horizon…when suddenly, life hits us out of nowhere and takes us on a detour. It wasn’t at all what we planned, and we didn’t even have a warning – it just happened, and now we have to navigate through it in order to get back on track. It can be hard, so it’s good to focus on these encouraging thoughts to get you through life’s detours. Stick around and you’ll find out how to navigate and get back on course.
What Causes Detours in Our Lives
A detour simply means that you are taking a different path to the place that you were already navigating to. You’ve seen the signs: “Road work ahead: Detour,” and huffed, knowing that it would now take longer to get to your destination. Those signs pop up in our lives too. Detours can be the result of our own actions, the actions of others, or God’s plan.
1) When We Cause Our Detours
How many of you know someone who had everything going for them, then decided to throw it all away on a poor decision? (How many of you ARE that someone? I can relate!) You pass up an opportunity of a lifetime, you marry Mr. WRONG, you choose to dabble in some type of sin, or you’re just too lazy to act on something that you know you need to do. You just caused your own detour.
The Israelites did it too! They were stiff-necked and chose to complain and to serve idols after God delivered them from the Egyptians. You would think they would be grateful! But they didn’t trust in the Lord. They doubted His provision and His care, and they paid dearly for it.
Instead of going straight over to the Promised Land, they wandered around in the desert for 40 years. A FORTY YEAR detour…because of their own choices. I’m sure it was a tough pill to swallow once they were humble enough to realize they had caused their own detour.
I’ve been there too. I’ve made some pretty unwise decisions in my life and have paid dearly for them, and lost a lot of time due to detours. But we don’t need to hang our heads in shame and beat ourselves up because of it. We admit our fault, ask forgiveness, and move forward through the rest of the detour…we will see the familiar road soon!
2) When Others Cause Our Detours
Unfortunately, life is not bound to be perfect just because we are walking with the Lord and doing all the right things. People around us can cause detours in our lives as well.
Take Joseph for example. He was just a boy, loved by his father and envied by his brothers. He had a dream that his family bowed to him, and his brothers got so angry that they decided to sell him into slavery. What a detour that must have been! I can imagine poor Joseph’s thoughts:
“How is this possible?! I just had this amazing dream that my family would bow to me, and now I am being sold as a slave! How is my dream supposed to come true now? This can’t be right!”
Joseph was taken on a wild detour, thanks to his own brothers.
People in our lives can cause detours for us too. A coworker suddenly slanders you, and you miss out on a job opportunity. A reckless driver hits you out of nowhere and disables you. Your husband decides that the marriage just isn’t working for him any more, and you are left high and dry. Yes, other people can definitely take us on detours.
3) When Circumstances Cause Our Detours
Circumstances: the things that are out of our control. They sure can cause detours. Natural disasters, God’s plan, attacks of the enemy, mortgage nightmares…there are plenty of things that are out of our control, which can cause detours in our lives.
If you recall any major natural disaster aired on TV, you can see a major detour created for tons of unsuspecting people. Rebuilding homes, saying goodbye to loved ones, finding new jobs are just a few of the steps along their detours.
Job was taken on a detour by circumstances out of his control. Satan asked God for permission to wreck his world, just to see if he would still serve the Lord. Job lost all of his possessions and all of his children in the same day. He never once cursed God, even through his heartache, so the Lord restored everything to him…and then some. But he walked a very painful detour on his journey back to the path he had been walking before disaster struck.
So we see that detours can be caused by many things; we can cause them ourselves, others can cause them, or they can be caused by circumstances out of our control. How we deal with detours in our lives can determine how long it takes to get back on track.
3 Encouraging Thoughts to Remember On Our Detours
Detours can be tough. If you’re in one right now, it may seem like it’s so far off the beaten path that you’ll never get back on course. It may be that your dreams seem crushed because you’ve been re-routed, but keep your head up and your eyes on the road. Here are some things to remember, to help you stay encouraged while on your detour.
1) The Lord is With You On The Detour!
This is the most important thing. No matter how we got on this detour, the Lord is with us. He was with Job when disaster struck. He was with Joseph when his brothers sold him into slavery. He was even with the Israelites in the desert when they defied Him and caused their own detour.
The road may look bumpy and narrow, and quite scary at times. There may be heavy traffic that slows us down, and construction equipment that gets in our way. We just have to keep moving forward, using caution and staying on the given path, knowing that the Lord is right there with us to see us through.
2) Detours Allow Us to Grow
Usually when we are on a detour, there is something in us that needs to grow or change. Let’s go back to Joseph’s story for a minute here.
When Joseph was sold into slavery, he became a servant to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s. Potiphar grew to trust him and made him the overseer of his household, with all authority. One day, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, and he fled, leaving behind his cloak that she had grabbed. She accused him of taking advantage of her, and Joseph was thrown into prison.
The poor guy can’t seem to get a break!
While in prison, he began to interpret dreams for the prisoners. It became well known in the prison that he had this gift, so he was given many opportunities to use it. Years later, the gift of interpreting dreams would be perfected through that practice, and he would be able to use it to win his freedom.
Long after one prisoner, Pharaoh’s butler, had regained his position, he remembered Joseph and his gift. The Pharaoh had a set of dreams that were troubling him, and none of his wise men could explain their meanings. The butler told him that Joseph could interpret dreams, so Pharaoh sent for him.
Joseph was able to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams, which were regarding an upcoming famine. Pharaoh was pleased with the interpretation, and appointed Joseph as the chief officer over all of Egypt!
Just like Joseph, we have gifts, abilities, and traits that need to grow and change while we are on our detours. Perhaps your detour is allowing you to grow in patience. Mine may be cultivating the gift of wisdom. Another may be acquiring a skill they never thought they would use, which will allow them to do great things for God in the future.
We don’t always know what the detour is about, or what we are supposed to be learning or growing, but it’s in the works!
Maybe you missed your dream job and saw it handed to someone else. Now you’re doing writing petty drafts for your department, and feel like it’s worthless. But perhaps you are being forced to sit down and focus on your writing skills because God is going to use you to write life-changing books down the road. Or you are going to be able to share your faith as the head writer for a major newspaper.
Or maybe not. Maybe he’s just humbling you! (There’s always that!) Come on, you know we have to break up this deep stuff with a little chuckle!
The point is: during this detour, you are growing and changing! Just like that road that is being fixed or patched or re-routed for the better…good things are happening!
3) The Detour Always Leads Back to the Right Course
Have you noticed that? If you actually follow all the detour signs, you will end up back on the right course! Sure, it may have you wondering at times, but stick with it and you’ll get dumped off on a main road that gets you back on your route.
It can be frustrating when you’re sitting in dead-stopped traffic on that detour. Those side roads and illegal turnarounds can look miiiiighty tempting after a while. As long as you continue following the signs, you will end up safely back on course.
If you’re in the middle of a detour right now, don’t be distracted by the empty side streets and alleys. They’re empty for a reason, and they are not the way to go. Let God’s Word guide you. Follow Him and let Him show you the right steps to take to get back on the course you were charting. He will always lead you right back home to safety.