Enjoy the Journey

7 Steps to Enjoy the Journey

Bethany LaShellBy Bethany LaShell4 Minutes

When I was a kid, our family would often take long road trips. To help us enjoy the journey — in the backseat of our 1970s, blue Chevy Malibu, a big, red cooler separated my space from my brother’s. My dad would carefully place the cooler exactly in the middle before we left. But gradually, the cooler would begin to inch left and then right.

Eventually, one of us would give it a hefty shove in the opposite direction, which inevitably led to a wail: “Mooooom, he pushed the cooler all the way onto my side!” Our mother usually told us to stop bickering, put the cooler back in the middle of the seat, and not touch it again—or else.

At the time, my melodramatic, elementary-aged self thought that a big, red cooler encroaching on my personal backseat space was the worst thing that would ever disrupt my journey. Many decades later, I long for the simplicity of those days.

Now my brother and I live on opposite sides of the globe, and I’m pretty sure that big, red cooler is still in my parents’ basement.

So, how did I get from a selfish eight-year-old to a (sometimes) more mature adult who strives to enjoy this journey called life?

Here are seven tips I’ve learned to help you get the most out of the journey — whether it’s in an old Chevy or navigating around the potholes of life.

J—Joy is a choice. It’s a state of being that knows God is in control. Philippians 4:4 commands us to “rejoice in the Lord always.” Rejoice in knowing who God is and that He has good plans for you. Don’t wait for circumstances to be perfect (spoiler alert: they won’t be).

O—Others. Focus on making others happy. When you do, you’ll find that you’re happier as well, and everyone enjoys the journey more.

U—U-turn. Make a U-turn when you realize you’ve gone the wrong direction—on the road and in life. In life, it’s easy to start down the slippery slope of sin with just an innocent text or internet search, but just as when you’re driving, it’s never too late to make a U-turn and head back in the right direction.

R—Rest. When I travel, I usually pack so much into every minute of my vacation that I return home exhausted. We often do the same in our daily lives. But God invites us to rest and “be still and know that [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10). When we forget who God is, we forget who we are: His beloved children. And then we forget to enjoy the journey.

N—Never pet the bison…and other things I never thought I’d say as a parent. But how many times does God have to tell us things that we should already know or that He’s told us numerous times before? All. the. Time.

E—Expectations—let them go! Unrealistic expectations that are unmet will ruin a vacation, a relationship, or a life faster than you can blink.

Y—Yes. Say yes to detours sometimes. Never miss an opportunity to take a picture of a sunset or fulfill your child’s desire to see Niagara Falls even though it’s out of the way. Say yes when God puts a detour in your path. We may do all kinds of planning, but God directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). Be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Are you ready to enjoy your summer vacation … and enjoy your journey through life?