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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thrill-seekers unite!

I have never been too excited to ride a roller-coaster.  In fact, I'd stay and watch as others enjoyed the "thrill" of the ride.  Why?  There is just something about sailing at speeds I have absolutely no control over which makes me stop to consider the risk!  If I have no control of the speed at which the thing carries me, then I have no control over when it stops, either.  In other words, I am out of control.


You're addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied. (Proverbs 21:7 The Message)


There are some people "addicted" to the thrills life offers.  They live for the moment.  The problem with being a thrill-seeker is found in understanding why we seek the thrill - the immediate emotional response which produces excitement.  The issue is not in the emotion it eludes - but in the reality of the emotions being only for a moment in time compared to the span of time we call "life".  Thrill is produced by the adrenaline rush we get from the action we are involved in.  Adrenaline is an immediate release - not meant to carry us for the duration, just for the immediate need to either fight or flee.


It is truly an empty existence to live for pleasure.  At the end of our spending, what do we gain from the thrill of it?  Probably bills we cannot pay.  When our unbridled passions lead to a moment or two of "thrill-seeking" activity, what we are left with often leaves us feeling more unsatisfied than we were before we pursued the thing (or person) we were so passionate about.  At the end of our indulgence, we come to the place some call "reality".  I don't want to imply the "thrill" was not reality - sometimes it is - but it does not last.  Anything which does not last is truly going to leave one feeling empty.  


This is the caution our writer wants us to see - thrill-seeking becomes something which we form an attachment to.  In some areas of the hospital, there are nurses and doctors we'd say are addicted to the adrenaline rush.  For example, the trauma centers in the large emergency rooms are filled with nurses and doctors who live for the "thrill" of the next challenging trauma.  They feel they are at their "best" when they are challenged.  I daresay, the emergency room doctors and nurses think this is rarely the case with the other 90% of nurses and doctors who work throughout the hospital.  The others seem to "plod" along, almost with a 'dull' existence (in their estimation).  


The opposite is probably closer to the truth.  In the "plodding" of everyday life, we find the evenness of emotional stability.  Paul put it this way, "God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:1-2 The Message)


Paul reminds us of the importance of embracing what God does for us - he provides more than "the thrill" of salvation, he provides the "stability" of living it out day-by-day.  Seems "ordinary", huh?  Probably not too exciting for the "thrill-seeker", but quite appealing to the one who longs for "stability" and "permanence" in their lives!  Some days with God don't seem to be very "thrill-filled", but in the living out of what God expects, we enjoy the "evenness" of emotional stability, the "thrill" of enjoyment in his presence, and the "ecstasy" of special moments with him.  No other "thrill" produces the same affect on us as the "thrill" of being held in the hand of God!  What thrill will you seek today?