by Sarah Jakes
The traffic is at a standstill for as far as the eye can see. My exit is just a couple exits up from where I am, though, so I start veering off the highway. Surely I can find a side street that runs parallel with the highway to help me reach my exit. Turn after turn, decision after decision, I end up more lost and even later than I would have been had I just stayed on the highway stuck in traffic.
I hate it. I hate feeling like maybe I wouldn’t be so late if I had not started doing the laundry or had just waited to paint my toes. I wouldn’t be so far behind had I not walked the dog and washed the car. If only I hadn’t become impatient and tried to find an alternate route. If only I had planned to be early for once.
Sometimes I find myself wondering just how much I have lost in life because of the moments when I tried to find my own way and ended up more lost than ever. What if I had waited to fall in love? Or if I had just finished that course, would I have graduated by now? I wonder who I could have been had I never taken a wrong turn on my life’s journey. Without all those wrong turns and unexpected delays, who would I have become?
As if these questions aren’t enough, I also feel taunted by the idea that I’m late. Can you relate? The later it seems we’ll be, the less important the destination becomes. We think to ourselves, “I can’t fix my life now—I’d have to start all over”; “I can’t dare to love again—it’s too late”; “I made a wrong choice, and now I’d rather stay here than try again.” How often do we become lost in the maze of our own mistakes? How stubborn have we become that we refuse to ask for directions or assistance along the way?
Too often, life has a way of making us believe that each wrong turn means we’ll never end up at our divinely appointed destination. But that’s not true. We must take a moment and stop our questioning and what-ifs to realize that time, like life, isn’t about how much we have; it’s about what we do with it.
It’s a funny thing, feeling lost. It makes you feel like you’re out of control. Being lost is most frustrating when you know you have an appointment to keep. When you get lost on a casual day, it becomes an adventure, an unexpected few moments to relax with some quiet time away from others.
Driving around and getting lost can become an exhilarating escape when you don’t feel like other people are watching the clock and wondering where you are. The burdens of the day, weighing on you so heavily that you’d rather be in a car taking the long way home than to admit that your reality is worse than your fantasy, slip away with your favorite song on the radio and the sun warming your face.
Sometimes you find yourself when you get lost.
If you had told me the girl who got pregnant at thirteen and felt like the black sheep child of America’s favorite preacher would now be a twenty-five-year-old single mom, divorcée, author, motivational speaker, TV personality, ministry director, and senior editor, I never would have believed you. But knowing it’s true, that I’m all these things and so much more now, I’d say the only way to get your bearings and find yourself is to trust that you were never really lost. Amid all your twists and turns, perhaps you simply haven’t discovered the right direction yet.
God loves the lost. And He loves to help us find our way when we turn to Him and ask directions. Jesus talked a lot about lost things. About a poor woman who lost her only coin and then swept every inch of her house until she found it. About a compassionate shepherd who noticed that one of his sheep had strayed from the other ninety-nine and needed to be rescued. About a loving daddy who let his rebellious son do his own thing before he came crawling back home to his dad’s open arms.
Often we think about our salvation experience as one of being lost before we are found. And this is true. But I also think that even though we may be found, sooner or later we’ll turn down a side street looking for a shortcut, finding ourselves lost again. Just because our salvation is intact doesn’t mean we always know where we’re going.
No matter how lost you feel, it’s not too late.
You can still get to where God destined you to go.
He’s waiting to find you no matter how often you lose your way.
My life now is everything I ever needed, but nothing I ever wanted. Growing up, I dreamed of doing things the “right” way. So I made decisions to create my vision of what I thought would perfect my image. After the unraveling of each of those attempts, I found myself lost—down-to-my-knees, tears-on-my-face, scars-on-my-heart lost. I came to understand the only way I could be found was to admit I was lost. Because I realized that when princesses don’t follow directions, they can’t inherit the palaces that their Father the King has waiting for them.
We can’t find our way home unless we admit we’re lost.
Sarah Jakes is a businesswoman, writer, speaker, and media personality. She currently oversees the women’s ministry at The Potter’s House of Dallas, a multicultural, nondenominational church and humanitarian organization led by her parents, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. When she is not pursuing her career endeavors, Sarah enjoys cooking, listening to music, and spending quality time with her two children.
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