When I was a newly licensed driver, a joke was played on me by my uncle. I was asked to run an errand; the person I was to meet would be standing in a driveway several streets away. With great emphasis the directions were explained; with great responsibly I tucked them in my memory. Off I went – proud, confident, independent.

Per my instructions, I turned right at the first street, then right at the next.  At the third corner I made another right, followed by a final right at the fourth street. As I unwittingly completed the full circle, my uncle laughed gleefully in the driveway as I embarrassingly pulled up in front of his house. Unproductive directions had brought me right back to the starting point.

In this story, the directions were obviously meant for fun. But in life, how many times do we allow unproductive patterns and habits to move us in circles – emotional, relational, and spiritual choices that keep leading us back to the same old place – places that make us feel foolish and ashamed, defeated and unsuccessful.

We are meant to live in forward motion. God intends life to be fulfilling and rewarding. But we must first identify the turns that are unproductive and repeated, and then purposefully plot a new and successful course. In my life, I have discovered the best directions for navigating my most rewarding journey come from the God who knows me best and desires to see me happily moving in forward motion.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of stopping and asking for directions.