I was 🚗driving on the highway in Arkansas with a friend and my youngest daughter several days ago. We were headed to a shop for the first time and using Google Maps for directions. 🎼Music playing in the background. 😂Laughter and conversation in the foreground. Angelina alerted me to the exit. I maneuvered into the proper lane and headed off the 🛣highway. I needed to proceed carefully because the roadway was full of ⚠️construction and had been that way for the last twenty miles or so. It became clear really quickly that this exit was brand new. So new that the ground around it was still dirt. 😳So new that there were no guard rails or proper markings. 😳That one-lane exit was also very narrow, with a hint of a shoulder on either side before the ground dropped sharply. 😳It was also going up and up and up and up. Remember what I mentioned about no guardrails. 😱
Our easy banter switched to 😬nervousness as we realized this exit was not like other exits. I gripped the wheel and stared at the two lines on the road- willing myself to stay between them. Veering in either direction just the measurement of a 📏ruler would have sent us down steep drop-offs. As the exit ramp continued up, the rest of the road in front of us couldn’t be 🙈seen. My friend said to go as slow as I needed to move safely. My daughter 🤔wondered if the exit was actually unfinished and whether we were going up to a cliff. Thank goodness she had the sense to keep that worry to herself. Me? I hoped that the road would flatten and the shoulder would widen as we got to the top. It did neither. It dropped down and took a sharp turn to the left. ‼️
It was the right exit. We made it to our destination with our racing 💗hearts in our throats. It was obvious that the roadway was incomplete. At the very least, it needed some ⚠️signage. When it was time, we made sure to leave the area using a different road. Not taking that chance again. 🚫No way!
Our exit ramp experience was a pretty good metaphor for life, though. Have you ever wanted to go somewhere and the road wasn’t clear? 🙋🏻♀️I don’t mean literally. I’m talking about the figurative roads of our lives. It’s frightening, isn’t it, when we find ourselves traveling unfamiliar territory. I don’t know about you but I feel out of control when things don’t go as planned. 🙃I’m a planner. Okay, okay- I’ll admit it. I’m an over-planner. I like to know what’s coming. I like to have some sense of control.
The truth of the matter is that I can switch things up. We all can. 🎉We don’t have to have a plan. The proverbial road less traveled is often the best choice. But- dang- it’s so hard to follow that advice. 💯Even when I know that some of the best things in life are surprises. Even when I know I’m 💪🏻strong enough to pick myself back up again. Even when I feel 😍supported by my people. Even when I understand that mistakes are okay.✅
Have you ever taken the exit where the road seems unfinished and the destination is unclear? We have the choice to move forward or stay right where we are. 👽Fear of the unknown is what usually stops me. That loss of control. That unwelcome 😔doubt in myself. I need to take the exits more often, though. I need to grip that wheel and focus my 👀eyes on the road before me. Some may be the roads I control. Others may be the ones with no guard rails. Or the ones that ⤵️drop down and take ↩️sharp turns.
We’re all works in progress. 🥰That means life will be messy. We’ll take those undeveloped exits with no view of the horizon, and that’s okay. As a matter of fact, it should be expected and welcomed and 🥳celebrated. It means that we opened ourselves up enough to take a risk. Maybe we’ll succeed. 🤩Maybe we’ll fail. 😥Guarantee that we’ll learn something along the way.🤗
What if…we take the exit? ⚠️Plan what we can. Control the important things. But, take the new road sometimes. See where it leads. You might be surprised to find that it takes you to the perfect destination at just the right time.💖