Ever Found Yourself Going the Wrong Way?
Have you ever found yourself going the wrong way? As women of faith, we try to follow God’s
will and His way throughout our day, throughout life. In my own personal journey with God, I
share inspirational stories at favelifestyles.com. I also share silly motivational minutes on my website
deannanowadnick.com. Less easy to talk about are the days that do not unfold as planned when
my reactions are less than motivational, not at all inspirational. More than once I’ve found myself
going the wrong way, not the “Oops, did I need to turn back there?” wrong way, but the
“Wow! Where was my heart back there!” wrong way.
Never did I expect to be going the wrong way on a simple drive through my favorite coffee spot
in Monroe. I start every day at Paesano’s. The baristas greet me with my 16-ounce iced latte
and a ready smile. They not only remember my order, but they remind me that Wednesdays
are my day to have lunch with my son Kevin.
One morning I found myself face to face with another vehicle in the drive-through.
Good grief! Really? Hey, bud, you’re going the wrong way!
Who drives through a coffee stand like that?
Idling in front of the offending driver, I glanced at the clock on my dashboard: 8:10. Yikes! I’d
planned to be at church by 8:00 to practice my violin before Sunday worship. Already ten
minutes late, I zeroed in on the SUV packed with passengers heading somewhere, each
awaiting their drink of something.
Are you from out of town?
Have you never used an espresso window before?
Not wanting to make eye contact with any of them, I looked down, my eyes catching the time,
So how many drinks have you all ordered?
I was going to be so very late.
At last cups began to appear.
Well, look at that! Large sizes of everything!
No wonder your order took so long!
Oh, great! And paying with a credit card, too.
That’ll cost me another five minutes!
At 8:21 the SUV finally—finally!—pulled away. The driver and his passengers waved while I
looked straight ahead. I had no time for smiles and certainly no patience for wrong-way antics.
Pulling up to the window, I placed my order. The barista smiled and replied, “Got it! And guess
what? The people in front of you felt badly for driving the wrong way and taking so much time.
They paid for your drink!”
“They bought my sixteen-ounce iced mocha?”
“Yes! Pretty nice, huh?”
I looked back over my shoulder at the departing SUV.
You paid for my drink!
Shame rushed over me. I felt ridiculously petty. On a Sunday morning—on my way to church,
no less—I’d sat in my car for eleven minutes and berated an errant driver for having the
audacity to misuse the drive-thru. I’d taken cheap shots at people I didn’t know, people like me
who’d just wanted to start their day with a favorite coffee drink. My offensiveness stung.
At church minutes later, I appeared the model of decorum in my white blouse and dark slacks,
violin tucked under my chin, bow coaxing notes from the strings. With my iced mocha beside
me, the music of hymns soared about the sanctuary. No one would have guessed that minutes
earlier I’d been a very unattractive example of impatience and self-centeredness.
How could I have been so insufferably intolerant and unkind in my thoughts? And the bigger
question: How had my personal life become so detached from my spiritual life? I’d
disconnected from God in a way not expected. I’d actually been the one traveling the wrong
way. I’d been the one totally turned around. I’d focused on the inconsequential, the
insignificant, the irrelevant. I’d been irritated with people who’d gotten in my way, interrupted
my schedule, inconvenienced my plans. I’d shown a regrettable lack of faithfulness, not a
disconnect from my belief in God, but a disconnect from my walk with Him.
Loving God with all our heart and soul and strength is a challenge. It’s easy to end up going the
wrong way. Lapses plague us. At times I’m just impatient and cross, short-sighted and self-
centered—even on Sundays, even in church.
We travel with a magnificent God, a God who has promised to be with us at all times, even
when we’re stressed and even when we’re petty. We may struggle with faithfulness, but we
travel with a God who’s forever faithful, not only on those days when we’re traveling the right
way, but also on those days when we’re traveling the wrong way.
Especially on those days when we’re traveling the wrong way.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.