Which way is North??????

I am one of those people who you might call "directionaly challenged" or I may be lacking in my "sense of direction" gene. Whatever it is it all boils down to one thing.....I get lost a lot! I know that we are in the age of GPS and I have one on my phone and everything, but sometimes when I get behind the wheel of my vehicle and I'm singing to the radio or talking to my passengers I lose all sense of where I am supposed to be going. This happened a few years ago when a couple of my friends and I decided to go visit a mutual friend in Hartselle, Alabama, sir! I had never even heard of Hartselle before so I was already nervous about finding the place. We printed out the hard copy of the directions AND we had the GPS programmed, no problem. We made it to Hartselle without any issues and I thought to myself, "Wow, I did it. I drove to a place I have never been before without getting lost!" Now, getting home was a different story. I know, I know, reverse the directions you got there with, right? Wrong! We started off for home with little angst that we would get back to where we had come from without any trouble. But then looming before us in the road was a sign that still makes me cringe...DETOUR! Great! Detours are for people who are familiar with this area and route and guess what, our GPS did not pick up this DETOUR, so I just trusted my instincts and sense of direction (remember I don't really have one, so this was not good!) and followed the orange sign. Well we took the DETOUR and everything seemed to be going smoothly. My one friend decided to take a snooze in the back seat while my other friend and I just chatted the hours away on the highway. We were seeing some beautiful scenery. It is important to mention that from where I live to Hartselle, Alabama it is about an 8 hour drive and you drive through a good portion of Tennessee on the way. Well, we had been on the road for at least 6 hours and my friend that was awake and I noticed that we didn't recognize anything that we were seeing out our windows and with only two hours left we should be in Illinois by now, right? Cue the friend from the back seat who slowly lifts her head up from her slumber and asks, "Where are we?" I non-chalantly reply, "We have just been talking about that." As I say these words we all look out the right hand side of my vehicle and we see a sign that reads WELCOME TO THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS! None of us say anything for a moment, until my friend in the back seat yells, "We are still in Tennessee???? How did we get here?????" Good question. I wasn't even sure of the answer and I was the driver, scary, huh?! Once we realized what had happened I started laughing and soon we were all laughing hysterically that I had gotten us to the other side of Tennessee and no where near our home. What was supposed to be an 8 hour drive back home turned into a 12 hour drive. I laughed because I was sure I was in for lecture from just about every male in my family on watching signs as I drive, using a map, using my GPS for goodness sake, and all I could do was laugh. Why was I laughing? Because I realized that just because I was lost I was still enjoying the journey. Just because I didn't have a "sense of direction" I was still pressing on to the end result of getting home. I often feel like my inner compass is broken and I just don't know which way to turn or what direction I am supposed to be going. I get out my map-the Bible and read and pray and read and pray, but I still feel lost sometimes, then I realize that's ok. This life is not always going to be a straight and paved way highway to Heaven. There will be exits we take that we wished we wouldn't have and there will be DETOURS that we follow and overstay our welcome on. When these things happen there will be tears, pain, grief and even laughter to help us "drive" on until we get back on the "main highway." These "detours" of life seem to happen when you least expect them to or maybe when you don't want them to. It is easy to get off on a "detour" and then get sidetracked with life and what is going on around you and it may take you a while to get back oh the main "highway" that God has laid out for you. "We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back." Hebrews 12:1 Not giving up and having continued faith in the midst of life is what it really is all about. If your sense of direction is off a little bit, don't be worried, it happens, just keep going. God is in control. Surround yourself with others who have gotten off the main road before and have made it back again. They will help you in doing the same thing with your own journey. You might be wondering how we made it home. Well we pulled off to a Wendy's for a regrouping and some food and we discovered that the DETOUR I had taken had ended several hundred miles back and four hours ago. Laughing yet again we took a look at the directions and found our way back to the main road. We didn't get home that night until, well, the next morning-but we learned several valuable lessons. 1. Detours should only last a little while, not 4 hours! 2. When the scenery starts looking unfamiliar wake up the friend in the back who does have a sense of direction. 3. Laughing always makes things better! 4. Do not give up and keep your goal in sight. I hope that your journeys, whether in life or on the road are learning experiences and are filled with laughter and memories. Enjoy the ride! Blessings-Nicole Simkins -Whose ready for a road trip?!-


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