About 13 years ago, my husband, Sam, and I had to make a trip from Calgary, Alberta, to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada. We loaded up our old truck for the move and headed off. We had planned for this move pretty well. Everything was neatly packed and sorted. We had mapped our route and estimated our time. We had made a budget for gas, food, hotels, and all that. It was our first long trip with a baby, so we had made sure we had everything we needed for the journey. Our intention was most definitely to end up in Winnipeg.
On the morning of our departure, we got up early and hit the road on time. Only one problem: We didn’t head east as we were supposed to. We got on the highway and out of habit began heading west. Eventually, the signs for Banff—in the opposite direction of where we were trying to go—alerted us that we might not be going the right way. As soon as we recognized our mistake, we took the first U-turn and began heading in the right direction. We arrived in Winnipeg only slightly delayed.
The point isn’t just that Sam and I are directionally challenged, but that it’s the road you’re on, not your intentions, that determines where you end up. We had absolutely no intention of going to Banff and every intention of going to Winnipeg; but regardless, we would have ended up in Banff if we’d stayed on our first route.
But at the end of the day, actions are going to top intentions every single time. Our lives are the sum total of our actions, not our intentions, dreams, or wishes. The lesson is a simple one: pay less attention to intentions. Instead, look at the road you are on.
If you want to make it to a different place, get on a different road. Make the link between your choices and the results in your life. Evaluate and adjust your course accordingly. It’s something we all have to do. God has given us the ability to choose, to navigate, and to determine the roads we travel.
Most of us don’t get lost or get on the wrong road on purpose. Rather, we don’t recognize the choices we make every day as choices that get us closer to our destination or take us farther from it. Once that connection is made, it’s easier to adjust the course we’re on to one that will take us to where we want to be.