Every roller coaster I have ever been on, I’ve regretted, immediately.
While others live for the adrenaline rush of sweeping ups and downs, thrilling wind-in-the-hair speeds, dips and loops, I sit, clutching colored metal handles, sweating above my upper lip, praying for the whole thing just to end.
I love my roller-coaster loving friends. I just don’t relate to their adoring endorsement of this particular type of entertainment.
But though I have many friends who love these entertaining rides, the one ride I’ve never known anyone to love is the up and down of roller-coaster Christianity– being on a high with God one minute, just to wind up the next minute pulled down by life to a spiritual low.
It causes frustration. It leaves us feeling exhausted, disillusioned, and unmotivated.
“We can’t base what we do for God on feelings. Because one moment, passion, and the next moment, fear.” ~I Want God
It is the nature of us, as people, to crave life’s mountaintop experiences. Everyone likes to be soaring high. No one likes to be living low.
When it comes to God, it is the same.
We want to fellowship with God in that passion kind of way, keep those youth camp, retreat, revival stirrings close and operate in our every day with a consistent hunger and fervor for Him.
And yet…life. It comes at us with twists and turns, mostly unexpected, and takes our breath away from us when we have just gotten it back after the last dip. We remember our promises to put God first when the ride was smoother, when they were easier to make, and in our fleshly overconfidence we believed we could of sheer want to and will alone, keep.
“Jesus is not looking for us to serve Him like a robot with an on and off switch. He doesn’t want us to wow Him with our short bursts of faithfulness. He is about the deeper, the richer, the most important, the forever, the heart, the all the way, in deep, so in love with Him that every other thing in the picture gets cropped out.” ~I Want God
At some point, we have to stop the cycle of being a roller-coaster Christian.
1) Decide what you want most. Life is made up of choices and consequences based on what we want. What we want most in life, we will chase and, in turn, will determine how we live. Often there will be a choice of what we want more than something else. (See The Principle of the Greater Desire in I Want God, chapter 1.) To live in consistent fellowship with God, He must always be our greatest desire.
2) Outfit your life to support your choice. Deciding what we want is an important first step. But our life must be properly outfitted to support that choice if we are to be spiritually successful. We can want things all day long, but unless we frame our life with them, we set ourselves up to fail. We should constantly evaluate: What is standing in my way of wanting God today? Is it my desire for comfort? My desire to control? My desire to be approved by other people? (Much more on these and other issues in I Want God, chapters 2-5.) God doesn’t want our loose talk and fancy promises. He wants us to do away with anything that stands between us and Him.
3) Walk out the journey with God. Being up and down with God is a symptom that though we have been quick to commit our lives to God, we have been slow to walk out the journey with Him. We cannot expect to put God first but place our attention elsewhere. We may stumble in our everyday life, but we don’t get off the ride just because at the moment we don’t like it. We stay in there, stick with God, and walk out our days with Him leading us. It is the only way to live. (More on the specifics of how you do this in chapter 6 of I Want God.)
It is not that we or the ride will ever be perfect, because the truth is, that is just humanity and life.
But with a new focus and some heart determinations, we can find that place of steady love and passion that keeps us from the ups and downs of a roller-coaster Christian life into a settled consistency that drives our days here on earth.
Lisa Whittle is a natural leader and bold thinker. Her refreshing, bottom-line approach appeals to audiences across the nation as she points them to a passionate pursuit of God. Lisa’s past experiences include writing stints with Catalyst and Women of Faith, church planting, national media appearances, and traveling with Compassion International. Lisa is a wife and mother of three who currently resides in North Carolina. Visit Lisa at www.lisawhittle.com. For more on I Want God, go to www.IWantGod.me.
Discover one way to put God first in the coming days in a previous blog post: Make a Difference in Your Day with Morning Devotions.