Roller Coaster Rule #7: Choose your head position before you enter a turn or loop.
My son’s a bit of a novice and didn’t know Rule #7 as we rode The Titan at Six Flags Over Texas for the first time. He leaned over right before we entered a series of downward spirals and found himself stuck.
“I….can’t….lift….my….head…” he managed to say with tortured surprise.
I caught a glimpse of him from the corner of my eye. It looked almost painful. He was bent like elbow macaroni, and his long loops of hair resembled a topping of cheese curls.
Only one of us was laughing as we made three consecutive loops before he could pull his head out of the foot well, but I think he knew he would have been laughing had the tables been turned. And it was a good lesson learned in a way that it wouldn’t be forgotten. We rode The Titan once more to get some practice in.
The next day, I was thinking about some people I know who can’t seem to stop repeating their self-defeating behaviors, and Rule #7 came to mind. It’s as if these people chose the wrong position going into a turn and can’t seem to right themselves. They are stuck.
The ride of life keeps going faster and faster, and the more revolutions they make, the more stuck they get. They can tell from their uncomfortable positions that their approach isn’t working, but they don’t know how to break free. As a result, the ride isn’t very enjoyable for them. (Who wants to go through life staring at your shoes?)
And here is why roller coasters are more forgiving than the ride of life….they end after a few white-knuckle moments of terror. You can get off and get back on and choose an entirely new position going into those turns. But for some people, life goes from turn to turn to turn to turn with no breaks – no way to choose a new position.
If you know someone who is stuck, maybe you can help them get free.
- Help them see how they got in their position. Lovingly, with a pure motive, give them some candid feedback about the steps that lead up to the uncomfortable place they are in.
- Help them understand the impact of their “stuck-ness.” Again, with love…say, “When you……….it causes………….”
- Don’t let your low expectations of them lock them in. Set new expectations that they can choose a new position before the next turn. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they can change.
- Don’t enable. Examine your role in the process. Maybe you’re part of the problem if you are helping them get into “position” before each turn.
- Let them skip a turn or two. Maybe you can take the turn for them by paying an unexpected repair bill or watching the kids for the weekend or paying for a marriage retreat.
- Lift them up. If they can’t do it for themselves, encourage them. Speak life and hope and love into their situation.
In the end, Satan is the one who benefits the most when someone gets stuck. Immobilized, they can’t be all that God intended them to be. No matter how frustrating their “stuck” behaviors are for you, find it in your heart to help them get free, and you will deal a major blow to Satan’s plans.