When Your Life Gets Redirected


Type A

Type A personality to the max, that's me. I’ve usually got a plan and if I don’t, that's ok; I just make one. I look ahead to what’s next, I prepare, I strategize, and I make carefully plotted moves. I like seeing the next few steps and knowing where I’m heading.

Obviously that can only mean that I'm not fond of detours or alternative routes (duh I’m type A, I want to go the way I planned). Yet here I find myself these days being redirected in big and unexpected ways.

We had planned to be in China until the end of the calendar year but we won’t be anymore, instead we’ll be moving back to the states.

This doesn’t feel like a small detour, no, it’s a serious change in direction, and one that we were not anticipating.  It’s a hard shifting of gears.

When Redirection Feels Like Failure

These processes and decisions always seem to be messy.  When I broke the news to my friend Brit a few weeks back, I was doing an exceptionally sloppy job articulating how we arrived at our decision and how I was feeling about it all.

It highlights the depth of a meaningful friendship when can fumble your words, yet a friend can speak exactly to what your heart is feeling.

‘I’m sure you feel like this is a failure' Brit said, 'like you’re not sticking to your commitment, and you’re probably worried about what people are going to think.'

'Redirected' was not even a word in the vocabulary I had used when I was telling her where we were finding ourselves.

'But you’re just being redirected' she continued, 'whatever work was set forth to be accomplished when you and Justin took the leap and moved to China, has been fulfilled. Now it’s time for you to take another step and keeping walking out in faith.’

Feeling like a failure, like I wasn’t keeping my word, and worrying about what others were going to think, had consumed me during that time of deliberation and decision-making. Brit's words spoke so accurately of what being redirected felt like.

Shifting Gears

It’s sort of like driving once you’ve reached a certain speed and you’ve got to make a hard right turn. You’ve got to show down, shift gears, and give the car a second before you try to pick back up your speed.

Continuing to press on the gas pedal will not get you up to speed any faster, you have to let the transmission do its work of accelerating, shifting gears, accelerating a little more, then changing gears again.

Our time in China has had a way of loosening my tight grip on control, letting go of what I and planned, rolling with the unexpected, flexing, bending, and coming to find that I would actually survive contrary to what my type A brain was otherwise convinced of.

Learning to relinquish my meticulously plotted plan has had a way of making space to be a little more patient in this time of shifting gears and figuring out the new direction.

The Purpose

Redirection is sudden and unforeseen. Its abrupt nature can leave you feeling like the work isn’t done, the purpose hasn’t been fulfilled, and the goal not yet accomplished.

But what a comfort to know that there is fulfillment even in redirection

Maybe redirection is just an unexpected way that we see fulfillment and completion.

Rather than resisting, controlling, and trying to fix situations and plans, I am trying to lean into the adventure and the faith that redirection requires. Rather than insisting on continuing with what I had planned I’m learning to slow down, shift gears, gradually accelerate, stall out, start again, and keep going.

Redirection doesn’t mean you’re lost, it means you’re being directed to a new place for a new purpose.