Every May, my parents rent a house on the beach on Hilton Head Island for family vacation. Kids and grandkids gather for a week of surf, sun, and togetherness. We love it. The water is still a little chilly in late May, but not too chilly for the 18 and under grandchildren!
It’s always interesting to watch the phenomenon of the current, or the drift. The kids start off right in front of us with their surf-boards and floats. Within a matter of minutes, they are yards down the beach. The adults are waving like maniacs to get them to exit the water and walk back up the beach before re-entering.
This isn’t just a beach phenomenon though. It happens in life. When we stop paying attention, we drift. When we stop being intentional about exercise, we find ourselves consistently NOT working out. When we stop paying attention to our spending, we’re shocked that the credit card company needed a box rather than an envelope to send the bill. When we stop being careful with our words, we find ourselves thoughtlessly hurting people’s feelings.
When we lift our feet and just let the current of society carry us, we always drift in a negative direction. Before we know it, we find ourselves in dangerous waters.
The scariest drifting of all is the drift away from intimacy with God. No one is immune. Being a pastor’s wife doesn’t make me immune from drifting. Having grown up in church doesn’t keep anyone from drifting. Even memorizing a bunch of verses doesn’t keep us from being susceptible to the drift.
Every single one of us has the potential to get outside the rails. Every single one of us has the potential to make choices we thought we’d never make.
So what causes a spiritual drift? As a wife, mom, and ministry leader, I’ve found that two main things lead to my drifting - busyness and pride.
Here’s what gives me a heads-up that I’m drifting in a dangerous direction:
- Three consecutive days of skipping my time alone with God
- Catch myself gossiping or being negative about people
- Easily annoyed, and quick to anger
- Jealous heart that leads to comparing myself to others
So what’s the solution? How do we exit the current, regroup, and right our path? For me, if the catalyst was busyness, I MUST make some schedule changes. Usually, I’ve allowed too many things that don’t represent the priorities of my life fill my calendar. If the catalyst to my drifting was pride, it’s time to confess. It’s time to celebrate others. It’s time to serve someone who doesn’t have the means to serve me back.
What is it for you? What are your drifting triggers? What are the red flags that alert you to the fact that you’ve drifted? And, how do you right your path? Spend some time in prayer, asking God to shed some light on the answers to these questions in your life. You just might find yourself better able to avoid the drift!