The Myth of Fast, Fun & Easy

Toroweap Point“You can have the beach body you want in just 30 minutes a day, three times a week. It’s fast, fun and easy!” That was the promise I heard as I recently flipped through the channels. I didn’t listen in long enough to learn what gizmo or gadget they were selling. I didn’t need to because I know that their promise is empty. But I’d be willing to bet that they’ll sell millions of whatever it is because we are a culture that really wants to believe the myth of Fast, Fun & Easy.

In a recent blog Michael Hyatt wrote, “We are conditioned to want results, now—tomorrow at the very latest. And we want it without expending a lot of effort. And of course, we must have fun doing it, otherwise, we are on to the next shiny thing. But other than few lucky or highly controlled exceptions, most payoffs are not immediate.”

The myth of Fast, Fun & Easy has, I believe, leaked into spirituality. We’re tempted to believe that seven minutes of daily quiet time or one hour of weekly worship should produce real transformation, now! And by the way, both experiences had better be entertaining and easy to understand. While there’s nothing wrong with daily devotions and weekly worship the bigger truth is that real transformation comes, in the words of Eugene Peterson, from a “long obedience in the same direction.”

The Holy Spirit shapes our soul like a river shapes a canyon, slowly and steadily. Sure, there are exceptions. There are stories of immediate, radical transformation. But when that becomes our expectation we tend to either give up or look for the next shiny thing that promises Fast, Fun & Easy results.

Here are some ways to push back against the myth:

  1. Regularly acknowledge the truth that spiritual transformation is slow, and like all slow change it’s sometimes hard to see. Trust that God’s Spirit is at work in you.
  2. Accept imperfection. Like all long journeys spiritual transformation is often three steps forward and two steps back. God loves you as you are. Give yourself some grace.
  3. Embrace life as the path. Refuse to separate spirituality from daily life. God is every bit as present and at work in the office as in the sanctuary. Going on a mission trip is great, but embracing daily life as a mission trip is what Jesus calls us to.
  4. Take small steps daily. Simple daily practices such as gratitude, silence and acts of selfless service are small steps that, over time, add up to real spiritual transformation.

What helps you avoid the myth of Fast, Fun & Easy when it comes to your spiritual journey? Leave a comment so that the rest of us can learn from your experience.

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