Life in Detour


No one like detours. If you’re an impatient type-A person like me, you really hate detours. I don’t build enough margins in my day for extra time to get somewhere.  By its own nature, a detour is a slower, longer, less convenient way to get anywhere. Who wants that? But it has been in the detours of my life that I have grown the most.

Life in detour

As I take inventory of the times where I made the most progress in the professional, personal, as well spiritual parts of my life, I can point out to specific “detours” that forced me to get off the highway, take the slower more cumbersome path that would eventually lead me to a place a discomfort but growth at the same time.

I remembering taking a detour in college when my parents called me on my 19th birthday to let me know that they couldn’t send me any more money. Brazil had new laws for sending money outside the country, and besides they could no longer afford to pay for my tuition. Not the call I expected. But that detour led me to trust God in a real way that I had never done before, and looking back, it was the best gift I could have received. During that season I transferred my dependency from my parents’ resources into God’s hands, an excellent exchange.

While some personal detours are inconveniences, others are painful. Some we bring upon ourselves, like the time I allowed the wrong person to manage my team, others come without provocation.  But however difficult it is to be content in the middle of something we didn’t plan for, or wanted in the first place, we can easily find ourselves there again unless we are willing to learn and grow.

Chances are that we are going through a detour in some area of our lives right now. It might be a career, relational, physical, spiritual or even an existential one.  What should we do? I’m not sure. Each detour is different. I just know that there’s always a growth opportunity, a lesson to learn, or simply a much needed slower pace somewhere in the midst of the inconvenience.

What kind of detour are you going through right now?

  • Maurilio, Thanks for sharing this post.  It really speaks to where I am right now — I’m embarking on a career change.  I really appreciate your thoughts.

  • I’ve been in a pretty big detour. I lost my last full time job in December 2008, and haven’t been able to find another one since then. I was on unemployment benefits for two years (just lost them at the start of this year) and have only been able to find a part-time job making under $800 a month that does not use my skill set or passions at all. It’s been stressful to say the least, but as you mentioned in your post, it forced me to rely on God as my source, and not a job.

  • Laurita

    I have been on a 13 year detour, got off the highway and took an unplanned scenic route that got a little scary at times but I’ve heard focusing in the positive is the way to go so I’m going to be grateful for the learning, friends, pleasant location, fun times and continued forward motion despite the pain I allowed my ego to feel while on the “detour.”

    • That’s a great attitude, Laurita. Sometimes we have to make ourselves see the good in the detour, but it’s always worth doing it.

  • Career detour.  Unemployment has been a real huge detour for me.  Every door I’ve tried to get a foot in slammed shut before my little toe reaches the crack.  

    But it certainly has taught me to trust God as our provider.  We literally have $40 to our name right now but know that over the next month have enough coming in via babysitting and one-off projects to pay the rent one more month.  And that’s the very definition of His providing exactly what we need. 

    Great post, Maurilio.  Thank you for it.

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