You can throw your life off track in any number of ways, but here’s my tried and true prescription.
Note: If you’re looking for the fast track, scroll down to Step 4.
Focus on something missing in your life. What is it you want so badly? What do you need to fill that gap, soothe that ache, make your life so much better?
Ask God for it. Beg him. Give it over to God, but always take it back, because you know how much you want it. Don’t hesitate to shake your fist at him if he doesn’t deliver on schedule.
If it’s something you suspect God might not want for you, fudge it a little. Think of all the reasons that it is probably fine. Make reasonable excuses. Anyway, God doesn’t really understand your situation completely. If he did, he would see it your way.
Chase after this thing with everything you’ve got. Toy with it. Dream about it. Build your life around it. Let it be the thing that inspires you, the thing that makes you get out of bed in the morning.
Fill your life with the right influences — anything that agrees with you, floats your boat, and makes you feel good. Remember, you are your own standard.
Surround yourself with friends who have made their peace with compromise. Let them show you how it’s done.
Better yet, start hanging around people who are really free, the ones who have no God baggage. They never knew God, so they aren’t looking over their shoulder. Emulate them. You, too, can be free to live the way you want.
Immerse yourself in media that supports your point of view. Watch a lot of TV, stream videos, YouTube, whatever. Pump in music with the right kind of lyrics. Sing them, hum them, mouth them mindlessly. Let your mind steep in the images and ideas. Read about how everyone else is doing it. Don’t underestimate the power of social media.
Stay away from situations where you might actually have to come face to face with God and hear what he thinks. You don’t want to confuse the issue.
Stop reading your Bible. If you haven’t been reading it, don’t start. At the very least, don’t read it regularly. It will probably make you think about things you’d rather avoid. Anyway, it’s just an old book, isn’t it?
At this point you don’t really want to know that God has a plan for your life — not if it doesn’t include the thing that you so desperately want.
You don’t want to hear that actions have consequences. You might start thinking twice about some of the things you’re doing, and that won’t do. Keep focused on what feels good now.
You definitely don’t want to know about all the people who’ve walked this way before. The ones God gave us as examples. First of all, you’re not like them. You’re being way more careful, and you know what you’re doing.
Stay away from church and all those churchy people. They seemed nice enough before, but now they’re just so annoying. You never noticed how judgmental and clique-y they were. You know you don’t really belong.
Alternately, keep attending, to avoid making waves. While you’re there, you can think about what you’re going to do after it’s over. If you’re clever, you can even text surreptitiously in the middle of the service, and check Facebook so you don’t miss anything important. Don’t get caught up in the worship or anything. When it’s finally over, high tail it out of there so you don’t have to talk to any nosey hypocrites.
At all costs, do not talk to God. Well, you can ask him for help, but don’t actually listen to anything he says — unless, of course, it fits in with what you want to do.
The first three steps will lead you here, but you can fast track it and start with Step 4. If you do, steps 1-3 will roll out without your trying.
Forget God loves you. Don’t think of him as a loving father who knows you better than you know yourself.
Roll your eyes at his petty rules, created just to spoil all your fun. Imagine that he’s out to wreck your life because he hates you or because you’ve failed one too many times, or just because. At the very least, tell yourself that he’s abandoned you, given up on you, or just doesn’t care. Any or all of the above will work.
Ignore the fact that he gave his life so that you can know true freedom. Discount what it cost him.
Forget that his plan for you is good, to give you a hope and a future. Think only about what you don’t have, and blame him for everything you think is wrong with the world.
Believe that you’re just a random speck in the universe. Ignore those little nudges, everything in nature, that tells you otherwise. Forget that he created you, that you were made unique, in his image, for this time and place. Forget that he loves you just as you are.
Warning: You may forget, but God will never forget.