The Problem with Shortcuts

As a product of our instant gratification world, I view “shortcuts” as efficient and quick turnarounds as a successful outcome. I’m a microwave cook who drinks instant tea. I write a story and want it published within the week. I turn on the computer and expect instant access. I take a picture with my camera and immediately view the result with the click of a button. I select “fastest” as my route of choice on the GPS and use highways to travel wherever I can…at least I did until a year ago.

That’s when highway construction and traffic congestion throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area sent me in search of an alternative way to work. With the help of Mapsco, my husband plotted a series of back roads through neighborhoods and school zones. I dreaded wasting the extra time. Yet, after a year of traveling the route, I discovered something on a black, stormy morning this past week.

While traffic reports blared about freeway pile-ups and caution for slick streets, I drove stress-free. I hummed along with praise music on my radio and windshield wipers keeping beat like a metronome.  I traveled winding, tree-lined roads at a leisurely 30 mph. No wrecks or sudden detours. No concrete barriers within inches of door panels. No gripping the steering wheel to keep the car steady at 50 mph while fellow travelers honked and whipped past me to weave in and out of narrowed lanes.

My worst traffic jam was sitting six car lengths deep at an intersection’s red-light or waiting five seconds to enter one of two roundabouts. The entire trip was the same miles and ten minutes more than my highway commute.

The radio reporter interrupted with more news. He sounded as if he was announcing a NASCAR race, warning about cars that kissed walls or tangled with other drivers in the number two turn. That’s when I made my decision. Even when the highway construction is completed, I will still frequent my back roads. Because I discovered…

            …speeding headlong into life causes me to miss the pleasure of the moment

            …rushing causes mistakes that slow me down.

            …the shortest distance between two points is often realized by the long way.

I’ll take scenic routes. Not shortcuts. Besides, God knows the future and His timing is perfect.

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?… Whoever obeys his[the king’s] command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter… (Ecclesiastes 2:22; 8:5-6, NIV)

©2011 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.


About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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2 Responses to The Problem with Shortcuts

  1. Joy Thomas says:

    Finding freedom from our culture’s value system is an important topic. I love this. Having recently moved to Germany, the Rheinland-Pfalz area, I am discovering delightful cultural differences that are a blessing to me, too. Roads are marked by their destination, (the name of a city) not direction (N-S-E-West). They are marked like that because they meander… around hills, around villages, around the forests and farms – ha ha – but yes, after many extra minutes beauty and peace, eventually you get to your goal.

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