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Goals, Detours, Shark-bites, and Learning to Trust the Process

The quickest way between two points is a straight line. This is why traveling by airplane is so much quicker than driving. Planes aren’t hindered by windy roads, stop-lights, or traffic-jams. In my mind, the journey to achieving my goals should progress in a smooth, straight line, much like a non-stop flight. This year, however, I am reminded that God doesn’t mind detours. I am rediscovering that shark-bites, detours, and interruptions to achieving my goals can be a blessing in disguise!

Shark-bite Blessings

Eugene Finney, a thirty-nine-year-old father of two daughters, was enjoying his vacation in Huntington Beach when he was attacked by a shark. The shark slammed into Eugene’s back, leaving him with a long cut and plenty of bruises. Eugene delayed going to the hospital until after his family returned to Massachusetts. When Eugene’s doctor ordered a CAT scan, much to everyone’s surprise, a small but potentially deadly tumor was discovered on Eugene’s kidney.

Eugene Finney was quickly treated with minimally invasive surgery. Because the cancer was caught early on, Eugene was only required to spend two days in recovery, and no chemotherapy was needed. Today, Eugene is cancer-free! The doctor reports that had it not been for the shark attack, it is likely the cancer would not have been discovered until it was too late. Eugene credits the shark with saving his life, stating, “If I could find this shark and give it a hug, I would.”

In Eugene’s case, a shark attack was a divine blessing. It’s interesting to note that God could have orchestrated the discovery of the tumor without a shark intervention. Instead, God allowed this detour to happen and provided Eugene Finney with a unique illustration of His goodness and grace.

Trust the Process

In graduate school, our dean would state, “Trust the process.” It was our dean’s way of encouraging us to progress through the program one step at a time. The words, “Trust the process,” were repeated so often that some found it annoying. Then, the magic happened. A year into the program I was feeling discouraged. Then I heard it. Although the voice wasn’t audible, it also could not have been more clear. “Trust the process, Jed… Trust the process.” The inflection and tone were the same ones used by our dean.

I breathed a sigh of relief. I remembered that moments of discouragement were, indeed, a natural part of the growing process. I steadily pressed forward toward my goals of completing the master’s program without looking back. Today, when I pursue my goals and find myself discouraged, I continue to hear our dean whisper, “Trust the process.”

[Tweet “Don’t give up. Trust the process!”]

God’s Delays

Tony Robbins says, “God’s delays are not God’s denials.” This is one more excellent reminder, that God does not have the same passion for moving in straight lines that I do. Detours are often a part of God’s plan, and He is willing to allow time for the refining process to take place. In Isaiah 55:8-9, God says “Indeed, my plans are not like your plans, and my deeds are not like your deeds, for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans.” 

[Tweet “God’s plan and God’s process are often much grander than we realize!”]

Trusting God’s Process For Our Goals

This year, I am learning to trust God’s process. Toward the end of 2015, there was a new adventure that I wanted to try. I met with a friend for coffee–a friend who is doing exactly what I hope to do in the future. I was able to pick up a few pointers, but this friend was not able to provide all of the support that I needed in order to get started. He did, however, point me to a friend who he thought might be able to help with the next steps. I  met a few times with my friends, friend. The opportunity looked great, but once again things didn’t work out as I hoped. Once again, this person introduced me to a friend who she thought could help. I am currently connecting with the friend, of a friend, of a friend. The opportunities are brighter than ever before, and I have greatly expanded my circle of influence during this networking process.

This current opportunity may or may not lead me to achieve my goals. There is always the possibility this is yet another step in a much larger plan. The bottom line is that through this networking adventure I am learning to trust God’s process.

Trusting the Writing and Blogging Process

Most authors and bloggers are in the midst of trusting the process too. Perhaps you have fallen for the myth that if you simply write excellent content, people will come. Although this method has worked for a few–most often those with extraordinary talent, or a large platform that has already been built–for most of us, learning to write well, learning to connect with our audience, and learning to promote our work in a constructive manner is an ongoing process.

Writing for Me and You

This week, I am writing TO myself. I am writing to remind myself to hang in there and to keep pressing forward. My guess is that in many areas, you and I think alike. I bet that sometimes you expect success to be a straight line, and get frustrated with the detours and roadblocks too. If so, then you are in good company, and this reminder to keep moving toward your goals is also for you.

I would love to hear from you. Are you trusting the process? Are you confidently pressing forward toward your goals, knowing that God’s delays are not His denials?  Have you had any “shark-bites,” that turned out to be a blessing in disguise? If so, I would love to hear more, and I look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments below!

P.S. For more creative writing ideas, be sure to visit our writing resources page. I pull back the curtain and show you all of my favorite writing resources. You can also check out my book Ten Great Ideas for Authors, where you will discover creative writing prompts and strategies to jump-start your author journey. I truly believe you are only one great idea away from writing success!  

Family, Friendship, and Faith Link-Up

This link-up is an excellent place to meet new friends, network, and share your posts. Please feel free to include any family, friendship, and faith-related posts. If you have time, please visit some of the other submissions, leave a comment, and make some new connections–after all, this is what teaming-up is all about!

Coffee Shop Conversations

[Tweet “I’m Teaming-up at the #Family #Friendship and #Faith link-up. Join the Party! “]

Writing tips, blogging, authentic story

I’d love your help choosing a cover. Your can leave your vote as well as any additional cover suggestions in the comments below![/fancy_box]

Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at www.ithrive320.com.

20 thoughts on “Goals, Detours, Shark-bites, and Learning to Trust the Process”

  1. Those words about trusting the process are said in our home pretty consistently, and it’s a God-honoring thing to put a matter into His hands. Thanks to you both for your faithful presence here!

  2. Hi Jed, thank you so much for your continued words of encouragement on blogging. I always appreciate the sources that you cite and their accompanying stories. This post is a caffeine jolt for the blogger to not quit and continue to trust God, even when the dreaded detours abound. I pray than Jen and baby Emily are doing well. Thanks for hosting the party! Have a great week.

    1. Thanks Tiffiney,
      I sure appreciate the feedback and encouraging words. And yes, our family is doing great. Jen and I are a little tired, but very blessed 🙂 Wishing you a fantastic week as well!

  3. Thanks for hosting, and for sharing this encouragement today. That is an amazing story of how the shark bite turned into saving that man’s life. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  4. I love “God’s delays aren’t denials”. I have a hard time remembering this sometimes! Thank you for sharing this reminder.

  5. Oh man, I really needed to hear this!! Thank you for sharing your insights at #FridayFrivolity!

    My mantras for the next week.. “writing for myself… writing for myself…” and “trust God’s process! Trust God’s process!”

  6. Wow! What a great post, Jed :). I had a friend who became partially paralyzed in a plane crash on a mission trip–but that crash saved his life when doctors discovered a brain tumor. He just finished his Ph.D. God’s process might not make sense to us, but it makes sense to Him–and his opinion is what matters!

  7. Hey Jed,

    Thanks for the reminder to trust the process. If we could only see as God sees, we’d be grateful for what we now see as delays and obstacles to achieving our goals and dreams.

  8. You have given me much to think about. This statement especially encouraged me: “There is always the possibility that is is yet another step in a much larger plan.” Sometimes the writer’s life looks easy when we look around at others, but God’s timing is always better than ours.

  9. Yes, it is a process! Sometimes frustrating and hard but also full of lessons and highly rewarding. Thank you for the reminder. I always enjoy your posts!

  10. This is so true and perfect timing for me to remember. God’s timing, not mine. *sigh* God’s timing, not mine. God’s timing, not mine. I say this over and over, yet I need to hear it again and again.

  11. I’m probably getting too “meta” here, but …

    It occurs to me that what someone may consider a “detour” is really the only useful way, even if it is not a “straight line from Point A to Point B.” By way of analogy, the shortest distance between your heart and the tip of your right pointer finger is, theoretically, a straight line; however, I’m glad the blood from my heart takes the BEST route, not the shortest (what a mess that would be, considering all points on the body!). Sometimes, what seems circuitous to us is actually the best or only route as perceived by impatient people who lack perspective in moments.

  12. Thanks for sharing. It’s hard to trust the process when you can’t see the end of it. But, like you rightly said, God’s ways are not our ways. His ways and thoughts are far better than ours. I have resolved to do what Lamentations 3 vs 24 – 26 recommends:

    24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

    25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

    26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

    I will wait upon the Lord. I will look up to His perfect plans and promises. Knowing fully well that He’s got my best interest at heart.

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