Making U-Turns

By Mike Glenn

If you’re like me, you’ve grown accustomed to a gentle female voice interrupting your driving experience instructing you to “at the nearest safe exit, make a U-turn”. That gentle reminder is telling you you’ve made a wrong turn or missed a turn – or well, anyway, you’ve messed up and if you don’t turn around, you’re going to be more messed up. Your map app won’t let you get too far off the prescribed path before alerting you you’ve made a mistake.

Don’t you wish life came with a GPS? Don’t you wish there was a map app for your life? How cool would it be to look at some gadget, see the blinking dot and be able to confirm you’re on the right road headed to where you want to go.

If nothing else, I could certainly use a gentle voice telling me to make a U-turn at the nearest safe exit.

I’m sure your life is a lot like mine. Sometimes we don’t know we’re on the wrong road until we get to the wrong place. After all, what makes a road the wrong road is the road takes you to the wrong place! Then, when we end up at the wrong place, we don’t know how we got there in the first place. When did we get on the wrong road? Why didn’t we turn around? Why do we keep spending so much time traveling to places we don’t want to go?

Well, for one thing, we live in a world that values speed. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, just get there fast. If you’re in grade school, hurry up and get to middle school. If you’re in high school, hurry up and get to college. Then, hurry up to get out of college, get married, get a job so you can hurry up and retire. We’re so busy checking our speed we rarely look up to confirm our direction. How many friends do you know who have recently retired and would secretly confess they have never lived the life they really wanted to live?

For one thing, all of us need to schedule regular times when we pull over from our fast-paced lives just to see where we are. Are we where we want to be? Are we going where we want to go? A lot of needless pain and wasted life could be avoided if we would simply check from time to time.

Second, if you’re not where you want to be and not going where you want to go, turn around. Do something differently. Nothing happens by accident and nothing happens without intention. You must DO something different if you want something to BE different.

So, is your marriage where you want to be? No? Then what will you do differently to get it headed in the right direction? How about asking your wife out on a date? How about doing your share of the chores? What concrete actions are you going to take to get your marriage to the destination you desire?

What about your children? What will you do differently to get your relationship with your children where you want it to be? And your friends? And your career?

What about your relationship with Christ? Is it where you want it to be? How will you create and protect the time you need to deepen your knowledge and love of Christ?

Nothing happens by accident. Nothing.

So, if you’re not going to where you want to go, make a U-turn. If you think about it, we’ve created several times a year where we can make U-turns in our lives. There is Christmas and the beginning of the New Year. This is an expected time of self-reflection and making New Year’s resolutions. Every January, we proclaim, “Here are how things are going to be different this year”. Whether or not we do anything in the New Year is a different thing all together, but you get the point.

Summer allows us to break our common routines and do some things differently. Then, there’s the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. There is something about a new notebook and unsharpened pencils that make us hopeful things can be different.

This is the year we’re going to study harder and get all our papers in on time. Now, again, whether it happens is another thing, but my point is all of us seem to realize we get on the wrong road a lot. We end up in the places we don’t want to be. This happens so frequently, we’ve planned several times a year when the world will give you a free pass if you want to do something differently.

So, how about it? Are you going where you want to go? If not, make a U-turn at the nearest safe place. After all, it’s your life and you’re driving.

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