Activated - - NEWS - Mara Hodler is a for­mer mis­sion­ary to the Far East and East Africa. She cur­rently lives in Texas with her hus­band and chil­dren and runs a small fam­ily busi­ness. By Mara Hodler

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.

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