Ticktock. Ticktock. Ticktock. The minutes turn to hours and the hours to days. Then you wake up one day and realize it’s been two decades. Twenty years since God gave you a promise. Twenty years since you felt hopeful about a dream, mended relationship, restored child, etc. Twenty long years since God uttered a whispered promise over your life. It can feel like you are wandering alone in a scorched desert with no hope of ever arriving anywhere better. You think maybe you should just build a shack in the sand dunes and call it quits.

Did you make it all up? Did God really speak to you? Your mind is a vacuum of unanswered questions that dance around in your head like a “tribal war dance” of sorts.

Am I crazy? you wonder as the noise of the drumbeat grows louder in your mind. Bumm, bumm, bumm. Does God hate me? Bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm. Can I trust myself to even know God’s voice anymore? Bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm. Does God even exist? Bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm. And so it goes.

When our minds aren’t fixed on God’s truth and we don’t fully know His character, we struggle to stay mentally stable and trust Him. Well, I do anyway. Might as well be honest here. I rode that unstable roller coaster for many years. You know it, don’t you? It’s the “I believe God; I don’t believe God” roller coaster. I’m going to be honest. It really stinks! I don’t know why I rode it for so long before I decided to get off.

It reminds me of the time my family went on a trip to Six Flags. My daughter, Allie, was 4 at the time. We decided to ride the Titan, which was the tallest roller coaster in the world back then. My little baby was barely tall enough to get on it. This was her first experience riding any kind of roller coaster. A normal mother would have sweetly redirected her child to something more appropriate, but I didn’t. And I’m still hanging my head in shame about it. I was a new mommy and didn’t rationalize that a roller coaster that intense would damage my child for the rest of her life.

I remember looking over at her after the first massive hill and thinking what a bad idea it was. But what could we do at that point? After the first straight-down drop we took, she blacked out. I reached my arm out to steady her and pull her back down from the stratosphere as we plummeted several more times, all the while trying to stay in the cart myself. What a horrible experience for both of us! To this day, she doesn’t ride roller coasters!

That’s also how it felt in my life when I operated in distrust and fear toward God and His promises. The “I believe God; I don’t believe God” roller coaster sucked the life out of me many times. I cried a lot, panicked all the time, and lived in anxiety and distrust. Then, occasionally the hill-climbing would start and something cool would happen, like a phone call for a ministry opportunity for my music, or an open door that looked like the fulfillment of the promise God gave me. Things were looking good. We were heading up! But circumstances changed, doors shut, and opportunities were missed. And then I plummeted into the abyss of Loserville. You know where Loserville is, right? It’s on the other side of strife and discontent.

That’s always where the “I believe God; I don’t believe God” roller coaster took me – every single time. Until one day, I got off. I decided to get to know God as my Father. Not my talent scout, employer, judge, or stepdad. My Father. And that decision changed my life.

More than anything, God is my Father. He loves me – no, love isn’t a strong enough word. He celebrates me! He can’t wait for me to spend time with Him. He loves to give me gifts. It’s His good pleasure to bless me and my family. And He wants to give me that promise more than I want it for myself. In fact, He won’t give it to me until I’m ready for it. Because if He gave it to me too soon, it might destroy me. And what good parent would give their child something that might destroy them?

He feels the same about you. I hope you know that!

Are you on the “I believe God; I don’t believe God” roller coaster? If so, you can get off. You don’t have to live depressed, stressed, and constantly up and down depending on your circumstances.

You can live detached from your circumstances if you want. Actually, you can soar above your life, if you know God intimately. All it requires is connection. Connecting with Him, seeing Him for who He really is, and letting Him show you who you really are. It’s a beautiful thing, and you can have it.

Shana Strange

Stonecroft Longview (Texas) Hub Leader