Depending on your personality, the words “let’s do it” and “skydiving” in the same sentence may bring panic or excitement. The thought of jumping out of a plane and freefalling until you have to trust the parachute to open makes your heart pump faster and your palms grow a little sweaty.
The allure of this adrenaline rush proves tempting to many people. Even if the thought of skydiving doesn’t appeal to you, we all love, to some extent, the feeling of our blood rushing through our veins and the emotional high we feel as we let go. If our brains have experienced this adrenaline, chances are we’ll want to feel it again. We’ll want that fix for our emotional needs.
Endorphins that suppress pain and provide an emotional high are a way to view life from a different perspective. While some crave the numbing of reality, others desire the feeling of absolute delight and freedom. We desire to forget about what bogs us down and simply want to feel excited about life again.
From a spiritual perspective
Going skydiving proves one way of bringing excitement to life. It gives you a new perspective, literally, on the world in which we live. It gives you a break from ordinary reality. And once your feet have hit the ground, it makes you feel as if you’ve conquered everything limiting you.
Obviously, skydiving is a rather extreme example of our desire for excitement and our longing to have a different perspective. What might this look like in a normal day? For a follower of Christ, this could mean looking to Jesus as a way to fulfill the excitement we crave. To fix our emotional needs.
We can often treat God as our answer to feeling better. When we desire emotional comfort, we turn to scripture that we “connect with” to ensure our attitudes lift. When we feel frustrated, we word vomit in prayer, thinking He’ll provide a listening ear when no one else will. If we want some excitement, we ask God what new path we should find, hoping for a change of pace.
While endorphins don’t really play a part in our spiritual desires for excitement, it seems we expect God to simply make us feel better, to numb our pain, to provide excitement in our lives. A reaction similar to that of endorphins.
God certainly does heal our wounds and care for our emotional needs. He desires to give us His peace. But opening our Bibles and talking with Him should not be for the purpose of feeling better. We should not play these moments to gain excitement into our routines. We cheapen the gospel and our relationship with God when we do this.
Our magic formula
Our Father in Heaven is the God of all comfort. How, then, do we balance going to Him for that comfort and not treating Him like a vending machine who solves our emotional needs?
First, we must remember we come before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our selfish desires of emotional highs and fixes for boredom will wash away as we picture approaching God on His throne. The same God who parted the Red Sea and rose people from the dead and gave His life for us. This is the God we come before each day.
If we remember our God has scars from our own sins, praise and adoration will flow from our lips before requests of emotional fixes. We will desire to glorify Him for who He is, not just for the purpose of getting what we want out of the encounter. Using this time to honor Him enables us to die to ourselves. It enables us to show how God’s desires are more important than what we think we need in that moment.
Yes, Jesus promises peace, but we must stop looking to God as a magic formula to ensure excitement or happiness or comfort. He desires first our hearts and our love for who He is.
Second, our time with God, whether that’s through reading scripture, praying, listening to sermons or worshiping, can prove a beautiful time to learn more about Him. As we seek to draw near to Him, our eyes will open to His desires. And we will begin to lose sight of the things of this world. We will desire what He desires, and He will fill us with wisdom and comfort as we face our day-to-day routine.
Chances are, you don’t look to God for an adrenaline rush like you would with skydiving. But do you look to Him mostly when you desire an emotional change? Do you expect Him to solve all your problems and give you more excitement to your routine? Or do you realize you already have all you need in Christ, and God isn’t simply your vending machine?
Here’s the challenge: Look to God first as your Savior, as your Mighty God, and put aside the desire to work the system in order to ride the emotional high.
Let’s Talk About It: How often do you view God as your vending machine? How can you change that view?