The Roads We Travel

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When our oldest son was sixteen, he was hired to work as a lifeguard at a Boy Scout camp about 90 minutes from us. Hubby knew this route very well because he lifeguarded at the same camp when he was a teenager.

One weekend, though, I had to take our son back to camp after church. I’m directionally-challenged, so I printed out directions from MapQuest. According to the directions, I needed to turn right on this particular road, which was less than a mile from camp. Okay, no problem.

However, this road seemed hidden from the road with tall grasses framing this dirt road. Surely this couldn’t be the right road. It was nothing more than a deeply-rutted log road. Why in the world would MapQuest have me turn down this road?

After 45 minutes of frustration and fear of bottoming out, I found an area big enough to turn around and head back to the main road where we had cell service to call Hubby. He said we needed to make the next right. I followed his directions and dropped my son off at camp.

I can laugh about it now, and yes, that scene has already found its way into one of my novels, but at the time, I was scared and uncertain of my destination.

After arriving home, I searched MapQuest to see why this happened. I realized I had checked shortest distance instead of shortest time.

I learned taking shortcuts often comes with a price, resulting in even more work.

The same can be said about the journeys in our lives. If we try to take short cuts, we’re more apt to end up down those log roads pitted with frustration and discouragement.  Every stretch of the road forces us to makes choices. Those choices can fill us with peace or aggravate us to tears. By mapping out our routes with prayer and staying focused on the path God has laid before us, we’re able to arrive at our destinations with peace of mind.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him, 
and he will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Your Turn: Do you have a traveling story that can be used as a metaphor for something you’re experiencing in your life? What lesson did God teach you through the journey?

P.S. Congrats to Julie Jarnagin for winning the Susan May Warren Missions of Mercy novels–Point of No Return and Mission:Out of Control and to Michelle Styles for winning Rachel Hauck’s Softly and Tenderly. Thanks again for all the great comments you all shared with me. 

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  1. MaryC

    Hi Lisa,

    I have a traveling story.

    Many years ago my husband and I were in Ireland for three weeks. When we turned the car in at the airport, the clerk looked at the mileage and asked us – "Where did you go? Ireland isn't that big!"

    The answer is that we went everywhere – checked every nook and cranny trying to fit in as much as we could in every moment we had.

    I share this because I'm not exactly sure what the metaphor is, but I think it has to do with trying to make the most of each day. Or maybe I missed the point and it's trying to tell me to slow down. 😉

    Thanks for sharing the quote from Proverbs. It's a thought I need to be reminded of daily.

  2. Tana Adams

    Oh yeah, the shortcuts in life always take me longer. I realize the Lord uses these as teachable moments. He's a good parent like that. =)

  3. Terri Tiffany

    We were on our way to CBA in Atlanta–just got off the plane and had another couple following us. We never get lost but Atlanta has too many Peachtree roads for its own good. Anyways, finally, we pulled over, so angry with each other that we couldn't get there. Once we figured it out, we could laugh. I find that my journey now requires me not to blame my husband or vice versa as we get a little lost in this process.

  4. Jessica R. Patch

    My friend, Jane as you know her, and I took off on a road trip to my hometown. We got to chattering and the next thing I know, nothing was familiar. I was having such a good time, I veered to the left instead of the right. Ended up 4 hours out of the way. I learned sometimes even good things can keep us from the right things, and backtracking is no fun!

  5. patti.mallett_pp

    Lisa, I love what you wrote just before Proverbs 3:5,6, about "mapping out our way with prayer and staying focused on the path God has for us." That is put so well, and is such a great reminder, that it's going on a note card and kept in front of my face.

    My life, from (almost) eighteen on, could be charted by "Driving" fears, challenges, and victories. Thanks, Lisa, for nudging me to get these written down in a notebook.

  6. Melissa Tagg

    I think it was my first trip coming home from London…my friend Maggie and I landed at O'Hare and since it'd been an international flight, we had to retrieve all our luggage and take it with us to the next terminal. Odd, but we did what they told us. And we hardly had any time to get to the right terminal…we were jet lagged…and kind of emotional too about coming home after a semester abroad…carrying way too many things (aka suitcases FULL of Cadbury chocolate – the real stuff, not what you get in the US)…the wheel on my suitcase broke…oh, and I was wearing like three layers of clothes because I hadn't been able to stuff it all into my suitcase…

    So, we're literally running through the airport, dropping stuff and dodging people, when I went all meltdown-y and just stopped in the middle of the airport. I was seconds away from tears…

    And that is Melissa in real life! Any time I get too busy, take on too many commitments and get into too much of a hurry…that's when I lose it.

    But the cool thing is, my friend Maggie stopped (who is a cross country runner, by the way, and apparently much better equipped to handle jet lag and airport chaos than me!), turned around and saw me standing there having my mini-breakdown and said, "Here, Melissa, I'll leave all the luggage with you. I'll run ahead and tell them we're coming and not to leave without us." And off she took. Is that a good friend or what?

    And that, too, is real life. Because when I'm overwhelmed and on the verge of belonging in Bellview, I am blessed with amazing people who come alongside me and help ease the burden. 🙂