Most of us grow up with some vision of what we want our lives to be like. Personal goals, career aspirations, family plans—the whole white picket fence thing. Years go by and when we evaluate our lives, we often see that life has turned out differently than we expected.
When I was a teenager, I would sit in my room with the door closed and write my goals down. I was ambitious—especially for a youngster. There were things that I wanted to achieve in my life. It wasn’t long before I realized that my plans wouldn’t always work out the way I hoped they would. For example, I wanted to go to a small college on the east coast of the United States. But because of a scholarship I received, I ended up attending a large university in my home state. I started my college career thinking about a career in the health field, but I ended up getting my degree in journalism! What a change of plans!
Life doesn’t play by the rules. Rather, it takes unexpected detours that much of the time we have little or no control over. I learned the hard way. My father died when I was fourteen years old. This was a major detour—especially for my mom who unexpectedly had to raise and provide for me and my siblings alone. Certainly, this is not what she had in mind when she met and later married my father.
One of the things that I’m working on accepting is that my life is not totally controlled by me. Of course, I make choices and decisions daily which direct most of what happens, but then there are unannounced surprises that life brings and they often redirect my path. What I am learning is that detours in life don’t always have to be bad—sometimes they can even be quite good.
As I was graduating from college, I was offered an opportunity to work in sales with a major corporation. It was a good job with good pay. I was excited—but all of a sudden, a personnel situation at the company prevented them from hiring me into the position. I was beyond disappointed. My plan was altered. After eight frustrating months of unemployment and odd jobs, I spoke with a friend who was leaving her position with the University we attended. I applied for her job and got it. The detour I experienced led me into a long-term career as a University administrator and faculty member. This was the line of work I was meant to be in! I had a plan, but the Lord had a better one. I thank God for the detour!
When life turns out differently than you wanted it to, be disappointed for awhile and then try to change your perspective and work within the situation you find yourself in currently. It could be that your life detour will lead you in the right direction!