Life is like a road trip and life CAN be a joy ride. If you constantly ask, “Are we there yet?” it’s because you are either unsure of your desired destination or you are not sure how to get there. A purpose-driven life is like a road trip where you know where you are headed and why, so enjoy your journey even if you don’t know exactly how long it will take. But how do I know where I should be headed? Can’t I just put the car in drive and head out on the road until I run out of gas? That’s how many of us live our lives.
Why a Destination Matters: The Importance of Setting Your Life’s GPS
Have you ever tried to take a “Sunday drive” (or, have you ever gotten stuck behind someone on a Sunday drive)?! There really isn’t a destination in mind, it’s more of a loop. The purpose is to slow down and enjoy the scenery while going nowhere. It’s necessary to have days like these and it’s fun for a change but eventually, it feels aimless and leads to frustration.
Too many of us have been lulled into this- Monday through Friday get up, go to work, come home, go to bed. Saturday clean the house, do laundry, grocery shopping. Sunday drive. Repeat.
Without a clear destination or purpose that you are heading toward, you could end up anywhere. Or worse, nowhere.
It is the difference between a purpose-driven life and just drifting through your days.
Mapping the Route: Charting Your Life’s Course
What’s your ultimate destination? What do you want out of this winding life road trip? You may be looking at the road ahead and wondering what is around the next bend. If you are approaching midlife, you may be afraid that around the next bend is the end of the road or a dead end.
It’s not about the destination, but the direction. Knowing where you are headed ensures you’re always moving forward, even if the path changes.
Looking back at where you have been- your experience, what you love doing, what you are good at, how you help others- will give you clues so you know whether or not your current direction is where you want to go.
You are in the driver’s seat. You get to choose the radio station.
Packing for the Trip: The Essentials and the Excess
Stock up on the good stuff. The values you hold dear, your skills, talents, and experiences make up your road trip playlist.
The things that are most important to you are like your go-to, must-have road snacks. We all have them and the choices are unique to each of us.
Time to ditch the the backseat drivers. The noise, unwanted opinions, mental clutter, and naysayers telling you that you are going the wrong way. Drop them at the next rest stop.
(If you are ready to unclutter your mind, get rid of the noise and get on with your dream)
Knowing Your Destination Makes Detours Manageable
Everyone has to deal with detours and construction on their life journey. Detours aren’t always bad, sometimes they force us to pivot and discover a scenic route we would have missed otherwise.
Even setbacks and road closures aren’t U-turns. You are never starting over, just starting again. Gaining wisdom and personal growth takes time and doesn’t always follow the schedule we set for ourselves.
(Find more insights in my blog post) Finding Your Purpose When Starting Again: Seasons Change
And when things don’t go as planned, I’ve found that’s the time my crew is there to detour with me. A delay or problem often has brought new people into my life that I wouldn’t have met otherwise!
When you know where you are headed, a detour or mechanical problem doesn’t knock you out of the race it just requires a pit-stop and you will soon be on your way again.
It’s the shared memories and laughs (that often follow disasters) that become our souvenirs and legendary road trip stories along the way.
Finding Joy in the Journey
Life can be a joy ride but your GPS has to be flexible.
It’s designed to recalculate the route when necessary and we should keep it updated and fully charged. It’s even okay to decide at any point that you are not going in the direction you want to be and get out the map for other options.
When you know why you are heading toward your purpose or dream, it’s easier to find your way back on track and enjoy the unexpected adventures along the way.
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