Have you ever encountered an unexpected detour?  It’s pretty safe to say that we all have experienced a detour in our lives at some point.  Detours take us on a route that is different from the one we set out to take.  They show up unexpectedly and force us to go in a direction that is sometimes unknown.  Whenever I’ve been faced with a detour, it is usually at a time when I’m running late and really need to get to where I’m going.  They are always a source of frustration because they force me to go in a direction that I had no intention of going.  It’s like they show up out of nowhere and redirect me completely.

I recently encountered a detour, and instead of completely changing directions, I chose to ignore the detour and explore what was on the other side of the sign.  To my surprise, the road was completely destroyed and impassable.  Needless to say, I turned my curious self around and followed the detour.

Just like we encounter detours on the road, we encounter detours in our lives.  Roadblocks show up in our lives to redirect us.  Most of the time, they come from out of nowhere, and they force us to go in a different direction.  These roadblocks can be anything, career changes, children, relocations, illnesses, relationships, etc. I’ve found that whenever I’ve been detoured in life, it’s been at a time when I needed to be shifted.  Either what was coming was too dangerous for me to travel through, the conditions ahead were under construction, or the detour would present an opportunity for me to explore a new path.

Whenever something comes our way that shifts our direction, we think of it as less than ideal, especially if we are used to navigating our way through life on a certain path.  Our comfort zone is a lovely place, and when something changes our comfort level, we deem it as a source of frustration. Detours usually add more time to our travel, and when we are fixed on being somewhere at an exact time, we miss what the detour is trying to teach us.  If we’re not married with kids by 30, homeowners, or climbed the corporate ladder, we feel like we’ve failed in life…or missed our destination.

What if we embraced the detours in our lives?  What if we viewed the detours as a blessing?  After all, they are there to redirect us to more stable ground or a safer route. What if a detour protected you from marrying the wrong person…or from a career that would have destroyed your health?  We’re soo busy trying to get to the destination that we miss the signs and detours that could take us to something greater.

The next time you encounter a detour, let yourself be guided.  Embrace the shift.  No matter where you end up, I can guarantee that you’ll learn a new way of getting there…and I hope you embrace the journey and all that it is trying to teach you.

Navigating Detours Worksheet

“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.”