There is a popular saying that goes “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.” And there are multiple wise sayings about detours and unexpected journeys. While there is inspiration in these words, the bottom line is this:
It is no fun being lost.
That scary feeling where nothing around you looks familiar and you have no idea where to turn next. Even if the scenery around you is beautiful, you can’t enjoy it because of the frantic search to find your bearings.
This fear is intensified if you are lost at night. Most everything seems worse in the dark.
It is one thing to be lost physically, but often in life, we find ourselves emotionally adrift and alone in the dark and not really sure what to do next. I know I have found myself in that situation before.
It all begins wonderfully. You have a known starting point and a final destination; which could be a degree, career, marriage, family, personal goal or even retirement.
You don’t know all the twist and turns, or what you may encounter, but you have faith in arriving at the intended spot. Then at some point in your journey you look up and discover you are completely off course; derailed; lost.
Maybe you know exactly where the wrong turn was made. A misguided decision. A terrible mistake. A financial setback. Maybe it wasn’t even something you did. Maybe it was the fault of another. It doesn’t really matter as you sit on the side of an unfamiliar highway with no idea what to do next.
You don’t want to go backward and lose ground, but you don’t want to waste time headed in the wrong direction. Either decision will delay your intended arrival.
What can be worse is not even knowing you are lost. Getting so caught up in the daily dose of life and running on autopilot that we fail to pay attention to the things going on around us. This causes us to wind up in a place we never thought we would be.
This is especially true when it comes to relationships. Whether it is your partner, or even friends and family; if we ignore the signs we end up on a dead end street all alone.
We can lose our way with goals and dreams. Most of us are passionate about something. We all present and pursue it in different ways, but everyone desires to make an impact in their corner of the world. Having a setback in realizing your dream or reaching a goal can take all the wind out of our sails. We can lose hope and start to wonder if we should abandon this road and forget we ever started down it.
I started this blog by saying it is no fun getting lost, and it’s not. But the good news is, no one has to stay that way. Being lost is not a permanent situation and there are steps you can take to get back on the right course.
Let’s look at what they are.
Recognize You Are Lost.
This may sound simplistic, but, as mentioned above, there are times we are not even aware we have lost our way. You have to be willing to admit you are lost. (There is a gal somewhere elbowing a guy saying, “I told you so.”)
You can never start the re-routing process until you stop and reassess the situation. Blindly speeding along with your life with no new sense of direction will only lead you faster to failure. But you can’t just stay there. Refusing to move at all keeps you stuck. Plus you can very likely block the progress of others while you sit still.
Once you can admit you are lost, then you can start to fix it.
Ask For Directions
It is one thing to admit to ourselves that we are lost, but another thing to actually reach out and ask for help. But sometimes that is what we need to do.
Many of us turn to God and our faith for direction. Prayer can be a great source for mapping out a new direction in our lives. Family and friends can also be a great resource. Those that know us best can often provide the encouragement and advice to put us back on the right path.
Use Available Tools
When we are lost on the highway, we pull out our GPS or Google Maps to help find our way onward. There are tools we can also use when we take a wrong turn in life.
Seeing a therapist or counselor can help shed light on the wrong choices and turns made that put you in this location. They are trained to redirect and provide means and support to get you moving again.
There is also a wealth of information out there in the form of books, videos and other resources online. There is help and assistance for almost any type of problem. There are even support groups and programs designed to get you back on track.
Have Faith In Yourself
We all make mistakes. We all have setbacks. These times in our lives cause us to doubt ourselves and our worth. We question our purpose and value.
Never forget you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your life has meaning and you are irreplaceable to those around you. Have the courage and the faith to believe in yourself and your ability to rise above this and move forward.
Being lost is a traumatic experience. Feeling lost in your life can be crippling. We never set out to lose our way. We start with big plans and dreams and then out of the blue, we are stranded and so off course.
Do not stay discouraged. We have all been there. Take heart in knowing this is just a temporary spot in your overall journey. Use this time to regroup, reassess and then redirect your energies and your focus to the most beautiful destination that you can imagine.
Hope With Abandon