Friday, May 15, 2009

Trouble With Exits

I’ve been having trouble with exits lately. My wife and I were driving in Dallas a while back and I just kept passing the exit we needed. It was one of those double exits that split into two highways going in opposite directions as soon as you exit, so I just wasn't understanding the signs. Four times, going one way and then the other, I couldn’t get it right. And then, even in Abilene, my iphone GPS was telling me to take the Jake Roberts Freeway. But the Jake Roberts Freeway apparently has about 4 other names, and "Jake Roberts" wasn't on any of the exit signs. So three times I watched the little blue dot that represented my car get off the little purple path I was supposed to be following.

One of the most frustrating things about exit trouble is getting back on track. There’s no telling how long you may end up going in the wrong direction before you can get back on the right road. Like Rain Man, of course I’m an excellent driver; but, these days exits are the bane of my existence. It takes a lot to admit this. We men are infamously fragile when it comes to our driving. We can end up nose-down in a muddy river and still swear we know where we’re going.

I look back at my life and see many exits that should not have been taken--choices that got me off track from an ideal direction. Or shouldn't I have taken those exits? Some were outright sin that led me away from God, and would have led me to a literal dead end. But others were bypasses or scenic routes that seem to have gotten me where I needed to go...eventually. They may have even gotten me to a better place than I might otherwise have gone.

The big difference between then and now is heading, knowing where I'm going. I don't have some big life plan--just some things I think I need to be and do while I'm around (and a number of these were not even on my radar a few years ago, while others have become completely irrelevant). But my real heading is Jesus, who calls himself "the Way." I have the strongest belief--faith, even--that he is the right direction. I'm aware enough of those "dead-end" exits to usually avoid them. And with such joyous traveling companions and the right heading, the occasional scenic route or even rocky road don't cause me to worry and wonder so much. But I still hate driving in Dallas.

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