Detours on the faith journey definitely impair progress.
Have you ever gotten re-routed because of detours? One vacation we got detoured from the main four lane highway onto a small two lane road. The new route sent us in a different direction, which lead to confusion. This wouldn’t have been a major problem, except it was late at night in a heavy thunderstorm. Fear rose within me as I scanned the pitch black countryside. We read the map (this was prior to GPS), followed the dark road, and hoped we arrived before daylight.
Detours can be scary because they send us into the unknown.
On our faith journeys, we often face detours that hinder us.
A few of those detours are comparison, perfectionism, and discontentment. Each one can lead us to doubt our faith or discourage us, causing our stress levels to rise.
The Bible offers signposts for us to navigate any detours.
Comparisons abound all around us and become disastrous detours.
When I’m tempted to compare, I have to remember that my faith journey and life story is different from anyone else. This is difficult, especially when others seem to make better progress than me. Your life is also unique. The signpost of hope is to look to the Lord for approval.
The apostle Paul wrote words in 2 Corinthians 10:12 that calm down the urge to compare.
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Perfectionism is a trap that detours our simple efforts, when we think everything has to be exact all the time.
In my everyday life, I have to realize that God’s grace is sufficient for me, even when I mess up. God is the only perfect being. The signpost of grace points me to recall God’s perfect nature. By his strength and grace, I get back on track.
As for God, his way is perfect; the Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30 NIV
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Discontentment darkens our outlook, leading us to more detours on the journey.
Discontentment is a heart condition of mistrusting God. By focusing on what I lack, it’s easy to forget all that God has provided. Discontentment detoured the Israelites from the Promised Land. The signpost of gratitude points us to be thankful for all that the Lord has given us.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
There are many more detours on the faith journey. No matter what you identify as one, look to Lord for the guidance to overcome.
Remember these signposts for hope to avoid the dangerous detours: seek grace, look to God, and grow in gratitude.
We don’t know the entire road ahead, but we do know the One who does. He promises to lead us every step of the way, as shown in Psalm 16:11.
Wherever you’re at on your faith journey, may you seek the signposts of hope to navigate the dangerous detours.