Goals, Detours, & Redemption

I love setting goals. I love dreaming them up, listing them out, breaking them down into smaller next-best steps. I love creating elaborate spreadsheets to track my progress.

I don’t love actually doing the work it takes to accomplish them.

One goal is to maintain a blog and develop my writing habit. Guess how well that one has been going. But I am not giving up. I am digging deep, finding my motivation, and all the other buzzy-buzz phrases.

In my novel ACCORDING TO PLAN, my main character John has to learn that life often doesn’t work out the way we thought it would, and that’s okay. That’s not to say we shouldn’t plan or have dreams or ideals we are trying to achieve, but we can’t let ourselves get stuck when things don’t go exactly our way. And certainly when they fall apart, as we all know they do.

One line in the book is “Don’t let your detour be your destination.” This idea has been a major revelation for my life. I have been on many-a-detour. (I’m sure I’m not alone.) And I would live there for a while. The guilt and discouragement of the failure would weigh me down hardcore. It would anchor me to my detour, making it too hard to get back to where I wanted to be. I would mourn the lost time and opportunities. And feel guilty and discouraged. And get weighed down. And mourn. And feel guilty. And you-see-where-this-is-going…

But two words have helped me escape: Redemptive Perspective. Being able to look back on the detours and find good in the midst of it. The beauty for ashes. It’s not to say that “everything happens for a reason” because I think that saying is annoying and unhelpful, but that we can find new purpose and motivation and valuable lessons we wouldn’t have learned otherwise in all things. If we choose to.

But it starts with letting go of perfection, of the loss, and embracing the right here right now. When I can love myself in the midst of not being perfect, the guilt evaporates. When I can see the beauty from the ashes, the regret withers and is replaced with gratitude. The detour is part of the path that brought me to where I am. And it’s beautiful here. 

What detour or roadblock have you been grieving? Can you find a redemptive perspective and fuel your way forward?

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