By Shewanda Riley

As part of my vacation in California about a decade ago, one of my cousins who lived about 2 hours away from Los Angeles agreed to take me and my sister shopping in Los Angeles. Having lived in southern California for a few years but still not used to the traffic, my sister was hoping that we could all ride in my cousin’s car.   However, there was no room in her car for all of us.  Thinking it might be fun, I volunteered to drive. I’d never driven in Los Angeles traffic but figured it couldn’t be any worse than Dallas Fort Worth area traffic.

For a variety of reasons, driving in Los Angeles was one of the least favorite parts of my otherwise fantastic 2011 Christmas vacation. I saw ”Immortal,” the acclaimed Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil tribute show and even drove 22 hours from Los Angeles to San Antonio, Texas with my sister and her children. Ironically, the most challenging part of my vacation was driving in Los Angeles rush hour traffic.

Before we began our trip into Los Angeles, I’d tried to get my cousin to tell us what freeways we’d be driving on, but she quickly dismissed my request saying that it would be easy for us to follow her. The part of me that likes to have a plan for EVERYTHING honestly had a challenging time following her and not knowing exactly where we were headed. I had to trust in my cousin and hope that she wouldn’t mislead us.

My cousin did her best to drive the speed limit but as we got closer to the LA city limits, she drove faster.     Meanwhile, my sister was sooo nervous as I did my best weaving in and out of traffic keeping pace with my cousin’s car. I told her that since we didn’t have the address for where we were headed, I needed to make sure that I didn’t lose sight of our cousin’s car. However, at a certain point, I finally relaxed and just enjoyed not having to focus on anything but following. We finally made it safely to our destination. And I had to admit to my cousin that she was right: once I relaxed and gave up wanted to control the situation, it was easy to follow her.

From this experience, I learned that we still have to trust God especially when we may not know all of God’s plan or even be able to see what’s ahead. Joshua 6 describes how this happened with Joshua and the destruction of Jericho.    Joshua first got the word from God on verses 2-3 what needed to happen. He then told the people of the Lord’s command in verses 6-7 to silently walk around the walls of the city of Jericho for six days. Hebrews 11: 30 says that it was faith that ultimately made the walls come down. Similarly, we have to learn to faithfully follow God and his plan for our lives. Even when we can’t see the plan, we have to trust God’s heart.

Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”   Email her at or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.