Cracker Barrel is my go-to location for breakfast with friends. Della knows how I like my coffee and when to switch me to decaf. Julia has my order memorized. I eat there so often that they should have a gold plaque at my favorite table. A few weeks ago, I stood in line waiting for my table for a breakfast I scheduled with a friend when a disturbing thought came to mind. “Was this where we planned on meeting?” That morning I was on autopilot, except for one problem; the autopilot took me in the wrong direction. I drove north to Cracker Barrel, and my breakfast was east at Starbucks. Fortunately, my friend was forgiving, and the error was minor.
Sometimes life is not so forgiving when we continue in the wrong direction. It would seem that going in the wrong direction would be obvious, except for the fact that so much of life is lived on autopilot, and we usually don’t realize our error until after we have landed in the wrong spot.
So many choices we make without thinking take us in directions with terrible consequences. We eat and drink ignoring where these habits will land us down the road. We make purchases and take on debt with little thought. We continue with relationships that drag us down. We press on at breakneck speed, overloaded and overwhelmed, yet never stop to consider that there might be a better way. We go weeks and months never pausing to reflect on who we are becoming.
This is the problem: we are all becoming. We are becoming the person of our habits, our choices, and our priorities. Our lives are headed in a direction and we will either enjoy the benefits of that direction or regret that we didn’t change course long ago.
There is an alternative. Each day we have the opportunity to take our life off autopilot and reflect on the direction of our life. We can sense what is wrong and what is right. When I was standing in that line at Cracker Barrel, something didn’t feel right. I stopped, checked my calendar, and realized I had the wrong location. Then I did a U-turn. I may be wrong, but I think that most of us if we will pause long enough, can sense the areas where something is wrong. This is where the opportunity lies. No matter where you and I are right now, a change in the right direction can make all the difference.
Are we headed on autopilot in the wrong direction? Are we ignoring the signs which scream, “One-way street?” Let’s get specific. Are the choices we are making with our body moving us toward health? Are we headed in the right direction with our careers? How is our attitude at our jobs? Are our relationships lifting us up or weighing us down? Are we the problem in our relationships? Have we been neglecting God and reasoning that we can always get to Him later? If we continue in the direction our habits and attitudes are taking us right now, will we like the person we have become in 10 years?
Find an hour or two and search your heart. A single change may redirect your whole life. Get help if you need help. Don’t waste another minute. Each day you waste going in the wrong direction only makes the return trip that much longer and that much harder.
Where do you need to make a U-turn?