No Detours

Recently, I was in Cincinnati for some training. In one of our sessions we were talking about how we grow as Christians. The instructor said, “Sometimes you just have to muddle through it. There isn’t really any way around it and no way to avoid it, you just muddle through.”

The next day I left Cincinnati to head back home to Oxford. It was around 1:30 in the afternoon and I was not really excited about the traffic I would most likely find. To my great surprise, the traffic was light in Dayton and Toledo. In fact, the traffic was perfect. We were all traveling at posted speeds (wink, wink). Even as I prepared myself to enter Detroit traffic, I was relieved at how light it was.

When I was passing through downtown Detroit, I called Ruth, my wife, and told her that I was going to be home in pretty good time. I told her I loved her and would see her soon and hung up. And then it happened. Pressing the “End” button set into motion a series of inexplicable events that were beyond my control and comprehension. The “Butterfly Effect” was happening before my very eyes.

Ahead of me, as if on cue, brake lights began to shine in the dark of early evening. Traffic went from posted speeds to parking lot in less than 30 seconds. We then crawled along at a blistering 10-15 mph for the next several miles.

This had a detrimental effect on my theory of driving. I simply call it “Shark Driving.” There is one rule: Keep moving or die. 10-15 mph is not really moving. I was going to die.

In one of the slower moments, in an effort to maintain my sanity and life, I started VZ Navigate on my phone and had it look for a detour. The program searches for alternate routes, and when if finds one, it gives you new life-saving instructions. As I sat there impatiently looking at my phone for a way around this stagnant and life-sucking situation, all the while completely forgetting that there was a time when this was not available, I was shocked when it came back with “No Detour Available.” There was no way around the congestion; I had to go through it.

There are some times in our lives that we just have to go through it, whatever “it” is. Sometimes there are no detours around the things we are going through. We just muddle through.

Maybe you are stuck in spiritual traffic right now and you are looking for a detour. Maybe you are frustrated that you are not moving any faster. Maybe that is you, I know it is me. All I can tell you is that even though “muddling through” is slow, it is still progress. We all get there eventually.

What are you muddling through right now?


6 thoughts on “No Detours

  1. Terry

    I remember the not-so wise advice of a mentor who said if you’re not growing in Christ you’re regressing. Thankfully, Thomas Green’s “When the Well Runs Dry” and Hagberg/Guelich’s “The Critical Journey” reminded me that stagnation happens and handled correctly can lead to amazing growth.

  2. I had a job once where I did the most mundane repetitive procedures, day after day, week after week… with no end in sight.

    There were times when I was sucked into the vortex of depression, wondering what the $%@^! happened. I honestly (and selfishly) would ask God why would you put my in this pit. Is this all I was ever meant to do in life?

    What was best, was that He would never answer.

    I look back now and realize He had me there to teach me patience, perseverance and trust. When I face the mundane now I think back (fondly, which is strange) on those pitiful days and actually find joy in the moment.

  3. I’ve been muddling for a while now. One moment, I want a detour, then for a second, the traffic picks up and it looks like it will all be okay and then, whammo, brake lights again. I am trying to just sit back and enjoy the silence of my traffic jam. Gives me time to think.

  4. Ron Estrada

    I guess we can call that “Shark Christianity.” We’re afraid if we stop moving and await further instructions, we’ll die. I’m trying, man, really trying to stop moving and wait for instructions. Especially after I’ve made a wrong turn and just continue on in the hope that I’ll find my way back.

    1. Ron, I think you’ve got a point about “Shark Christianity.” Probably another blog in there somewhere.

      Stopping and waiting is often an alien concept in our culture.

      Thanks for the thoughts!

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