Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
Roller coasters are for young people. If you’re over 50 and still like roller coasters, I think you’re either crazy, or perhaps you just like going to chiropractors.
People probably like roller coasters for the same reason they like scary movies. There’s an undeniable adrenaline surge when you think your life’s in jeopardy.
But I’m not sure that’s a healthy way to live.
I’ve discovered lately that many people who no longer ride Disney World roller coasters are instead riding roller coasters of a different kind. Rather than pay the exorbitant gate fees at an amusement park, they’ve developed the habit of riding relational and emotional roller coasters.
Even though you don’t have to pay a gate fee for an emotional roller coaster, there’s a high cost nevertheless. So I’m determined to do my best to avoid emotional and relational roller coasters in the coming year.
How about you?
In order to minimize life’s emotional roller coasters, we must recognize how we’ve unwittingly ridden them in the past. This may require a painful walk down Memory Lane, but it’s worth the effort.
Here are 4 tips for avoiding emotional roller coasters in 2018:
Of course, it’s impossible to completely avoid dysfunctional people unless you become a hermit. And then the only dysfunctional person causing you problems would be yourself…
But let’s get real: Compassionate, caregiving people like me tend to spend far too much time in codependent, unhealthy, nonproductive relationships. Too often, we try to fix people who don’t really want to be fixed. Instead of making them any better, our own lives just become worse.
If you closely attach yourself to people who love emotional roller coasters, you will end up joining them on a jolting ride through life. Yes, if you love drama, it will be hard to give this up. But for me, life is too short for roller coasters.
As a kid, one of my favorite stories was “The 3 Little Pigs.” Two of the three pigs had houses that could be blown down by the big bad wolf – who was a fitting image of the devil. Yet the third pig was safe from the enemy’s attacks. In addition to building his house with strong materials, there was a FIRE in his fireplace – a great picture of someone whose heart is on fire with passion for the Lord. If I had to be a pig, I would like to follow his example.
Too often, we’re like the teen girl trying to figure out if her boyfriend really loves her. Picking the petals off a daisy, she says to herself, “He loves me. He loves me not…”
But the good news is that we can tie our self-image to a Someone whose love is unchanging. There’s no roller coaster with His love, for He’s continually telling us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) and “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Not only does the Bible say your Heavenly Father loves you, but it also declares that He will never change His mind on that! Realizing this unchanging truth is an essential step in getting off of your emotional or spiritual roller coaster.
And just as your body affects your emotions, the reverse is true as well. Solomon pointed out that the condition of your mind and emotions will bring either health or harm to your physical well-being: “A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones” (Proverbs 14:30 MSG). Even without roller coasters in Solomon’s day, he could see the danger of “runaway emotions.”
Romantic Roller Coasters
If you’ve found yourself on a wild roller coaster ride in recent years, you’re certainly not alone. As I’ve documented in previous blogs, my good friend Ron has been a poster child for the roller coaster life.
Whenever an attractive woman shows Ron any attention, his heart goes flitter flutter. His hormones send his emotions sky high, making him feel intoxicated and strangely invincible. It’s like being an infatuated high school kid all over again.
However, you’ve probably heard the saying, “What goes up, must come down.” I’m not sure that adage is always true, but it surely has been the case with Ron. The elation he feels when he “falls in love” is quickly replaced by depression when the relationship doesn’t work out.
Although Ron’s pursuit of love is inherently hazardous, I’m convinced the romantic roller coaster can at least be minimized…
So, are you ready to stay off unnecessary roller coasters in 2018? Are you willing to minimize the extreme highs and lows, opting instead for a slow, steady, purposeful walk with the Lord?
If you’re still young, I can understand why you might want to treat life like a face-paced, adrenaline-producing video game. But at my age, I’m finding that I must be strategic about how I spend my time and energy.
Let me know what you think! Am I being too hard on the roller coaster life?
You can find out more about my ministry at www.JimBuchan.com.