Detoured Shortcuts

Detour

Long days are nothing new to me. Since coming to Nashville, I realize that time is not always on my side. It seems that in my jobs, I try to do everything as quickly and efficiently as I can, so I can get home and move on to the next thing. Breaks only come late at night when I finally pick my feet up off the floor and tuck them underneath the blankets. I haven’t written a song in about a month, and creativity now comes in the form of new drink concoctions or words that I found the time to type here.

After one of these days, I was looking for a faster route home. I saw a line of traffic before me and quickly made up my mind to take a different way. My excitement over the anticipation of arriving back to my little house a bit earlier than planned soon dwindled as I realized my choice to avoid afternoon traffic funneled me straight into unforeseen road construction. After inching my way  through the mess for what seemed like an eternity, I got to thinking that it probably would have been quicker had I just stayed the course.

I remember sending out a tweet that day which read:

What I thought was a shortcut ended up being the longest detour of my life…

Real situations and their gosh dang metaphors.

There’s a good bit of exaggeration to that statement. It wasn’t the longest detour of my life. However, that day, sitting in my car, staring at bumpers, I realized that shortcuts often have their way of becoming detours we never intended to take. Nashville has definitely been one of those.

By mid-March of this year, I was out of a job. While I knew something was shifting, and kind of sensed it would be a loss of position, I really didn’t know what to do with my life when it all hit the fan. I stood at a fork in the road, two options staring me in the face. Hindsight is always 20/20, as they say, so of course looking back, I can say I “should have” stayed the course I was on in ministry. However, I decided to go back to what I knew; to try my hand, just one more time, at the whole “musician thing.”

Over the next few months, I have been like Peter sitting on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias, discouraged, doing the only thing he thought he should do after Jesus was crucified and his job seemed to be over. I’m sure the guy was a talented fisherman. I know I can write a good song. Like the situation with Peter and the boys, no matter how many times I cast my nets, I didn’t seem to be catching any fish. But then Jesus started speaking to my discouraged heart, reminding me of what I’m called to. “Follow Me.”

I saw an opportunity to take a shortcut, to supposedly bypass the waiting and the uncertainty of the time I was in after losing my job. For a time after moving here, I felt like Nashville was a failure. The shortcut turned into a detour and I became more frustrated with the outcome than I was initially. But I kept asking God what He was doing and why I so stupidly spent all of my money to move to a place I never should have. I am a bit of a stubborn person and often hold to the adage, you never know ’til you try. God knows this about me and I truly believe I had to move to Nashville to see this isn’t the life I want to live.

I’ll never stop loving music. I’ll never stop writing. Maybe it’s the impending 30-year mark, or maybe I’m finally growing up, but I see more important things in life and I can’t deny what God has spoken to me about my future.

You see, the thing about shortcuts and detours is they always lead you where you need to go. I eventually arrived back home that day, it just took me a lot longer than expected. God is not ignorant of my choices. Back in March, He told me to make the next move and I did. I believe He would have shown me His plan regardless of the direction I chose. It took getting this dream out of my system, to clear the fog that sometimes filled my head, so that I could hear Him more clearly and see miles beyond where I could before.

Looking back, Nashville was the best decision I ever made because I would never be as certain as I am now about what I’m truly supposed to give my life to. I encourage you, don’t let the detours get you down! Even when you realize the shortcut you thought would prove successful turns out to be a failed detour, God can still get you where you need to go. Promise. It’s turned out alright for more than one of us. He has you, no matter how far off the path you go.

 

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