Moving back to Tennessee has come with some unexpected reverse culture shock. After living in the West for the better part of eight years, I had forgotten some of the nuances of life in the South. One of those nuances is the layout of the roads.

When the roads in the West were planned, someone sat down with a ruler and a pencil and drew a neat little grid on the map of the city and then built the roads based on that grid. When the roads in the South were planned, someone dumped a plate of spaghetti onto a map of the city and then built the roads wherever the spaghetti noodles had fallen. Of course, that’s not how the roads were actually planned, but it certainly feels like that at times.

Last night I was driving by myself to pick up dinner at my favorite restaurant. My family frequently visited this restaurant when I was a teenager, so you might imagine that I could practically drive there with my eyes closed. On the contrary, I found myself driving quite a bit under the already low speed limit down curvy roads still wet with the afternoon rain. Hopefully the drivers around me cut me some slack when they saw my Utah license plate! Halfway to the restaurant, I found myself wondering if I was taking the fastest route; I could think of at least two ways to get there, and I vaguely remembered a third route that my mom would take on occasion. I found myself missing the simple, straight roads of the West that I had grown familiar with, but the Mexican food that awaited me at the end of the journey made it all worth it.

I long for following God to be like driving in Utah or California: straight and predictable with a fast speed limit to get me to my destination in a timely fashion. However, following God is more like driving in Tennessee: the roads are curvy and unfamiliar, everything moves much slower than I would like for it to, and often there are storms that blur the path.

Here’s the good news: I don’t have to be the one driving the car. If I let Him, God will be the driver. He knows the path, and He will lead me down the right roads, even when I don’t know the way. Even in the midst of the darkest, most winding part of the journey, I can trust that the destination is good because I know God has good things planned for my life.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

I love for life to be in nice, tidy boxes. I like for things to be orderly, predictable and routine oriented. However, my life is currently in literal boxes as we will be leaving our home in Utah in just a few hours, and ironically, there is nothing predictable or routine oriented about that. But sometimes the best things in life don’t fit in neat little boxes. In fact, several things won’t be going in boxes as we make our last minute preparations.

People don’t fit in nice tidy boxes, for moves or otherwise. Our sweet little baby will be traveling safely in her car seat, obviously not in a box. Babies also don’t fit into orderly, predictable boxes in life; I’ve learned that much in the nine months I’ve had with my little one. However, babies are one of God’s greatest gifts. Marriage certainly doesn’t fit in a tidy box either; it’s work, and it’s unpredictable, but it can be one of the sweetest things in life.

Some precious memory items won’t be traveling in boxes either, like the bamboo we bought on the due date of our first baby, Gwenivere, who went to heaven before we could meet her. That season of our life certainly didn’t fit into a tidy box, but we grew because of it.

My Bible won’t be going in a box; it will likely be within arms reach of wherever I’m at because I’m learning that I can’t live without God’s Word consistently pouring into my life. God doesn’t fit in our little human boxes either. He’s unpredictable, and sometimes we don’t understand what He’s doing. But that’s okay because His ways are better than ours.

Isaiah 55:9

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

There are so many things I don’t understand about what God is doing in my life right now, but I don’t want to put Him in one of my boxes of routine and predictability; I want Him to have free reign in my life to do His will. He always knows best.