Four years ago, my life took a huge detour. It was confusing, painful, and lonely. I thought something was wrong with me. I thought my life was over – not the act of being alive, but the act of being useful. I faced a well of despair that was impossible to climb out of.
The problem was that I didn’t know I was in a well. I just knew that something was wrong, and I was alone.
A year prior to this time, God started repeating one word over and over to me – He spoke through my chiropractor, through a dear friend, in things I would read. That word? Expectations.
Then, in the year after the despair started, God started showing me Elijah. If you read my blog during that time period, I had quite a time with the prophet, understanding his journey all too well.
With this as my background, I agreed to review a new book by Aaron Sharp called “I Didn’t Sign Up For This”. In a new format, using NetGalley, the publisher gave me a digital copy of the book to read. I am half way through. Literally – the book is 216 pages long, and I read 110 pages in two days. Like a man parched from years in the desert, I lapped up the understanding and strength that Aaron gives to people who are on a detour. Aaron uses the life of Elijah to show us what a detour looks like and how it feels. Although misery loves company, what those of us on a detour want is someone to find us and show us the way out. So far, “I Didn’t Sign Up For This” is a florescent sign in a black world, saying “You Are Here!”
I expect that the second half of the book may have some helps for growing whole again, but the first half of the book has, in vivid accuracy, defined the problem. Here is one thing I learned and two quotes:
People on a detour might experience:
- unmet expectations
- unbalanced emotions
Each of these is a step in the spiral downward.
“The problem is that your mighty efforts to rid yourself of a detour end up being more like quicksand than stepping stone.”
“Your attempts to rid yourself of the detour only seem to increase your unmet expectations, make your emotions more unbalanced, push you to be more isolated, and cause you to compare yourself to even more people who seem to be having the time of their lives while you are slogging through the depths of despair.”
If you are interested in more quotes, you can read my Facebook feed from 2/20 and 2/21. I live blogged the book as I was reading.