Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” -Genesis 11:4
I’m not going to lie; in some seasons of life, I have questioned whether or not my elevator goes all the way to the top. Looking around, it seems as though the whole world has it together, and I seem to be the only one still struggling. Social media is excellent at feeding into this myth, with a constant stream of everyone else’s highlight reels while I sit in the valley. I recently deactivated my Facebook for about a week to clear my head for this very reason. Protecting our emotional well-being is very important. Don’t let the fear of missing out or habitual compulsion keep you suckered into self-inflicted torture if you find yourself in pain when scrolling through your newsfeeds.
The more I think about it, my elevator is just fine. Instead, it’s my escalator that is broken. I recently stumbled again upon Pastor Peter Haas’s book Broken Escalators: Funny & Frightful Lessons About Moth Eating and Moving To The Next Level. It has been in my book collection for a while now, but when I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down this time.
His book aims to discuss the myths behind promotion and happiness. He uses Scripture and scientific research to challenge our beliefs behind our circumstances. Pastor Haas has a fantastic sense of humor that makes him the type of person you want to sit next to at the dinner table. He even openly admits in jest that he mainly prays because it keeps him from wanting to kill people. Pg 87 He sprinkles dry, dark humor with facts such as “clergy” are the eighth most likely profession to become a psychopath. These are good things to know! Pastor Haas is down-to-earth, funny, and witty: just the type of person you want to get stuck on a broken escalator with. He seems like one of the good ones. Praying he doesn't turn into a serial killer.
An escalator is a perfect metaphor for how promotion works in God’s kingdom. When broken, it becomes stairs. When we get stuck in seasons of life where everything seems to be going against us, and we have to work hard to accomplish everything: our escalator is broken. Resist all works-based urges to climb the stairs no matter how tempting it may seem! Life often brings bad jobs, abusive relationships, and terrible circumstances because we live in a fallen world. Yet we weren’t supposed to figure out how to fix these things on our own. Control is an illusion. We were designed to have a close and personal relationship with our heavenly Father and rely on His power. We were meant to ride the escalator, not climb it.
Pastor Haas presents ten myths that we often believe that hold us back from the promotion we crave. From relaxing in God’s power waiting on Him and to advance our lives/situations. What I like most about his book is that it stresses having a personal relationship with God more than anything else. For example, “We really need a sturdy connection with the heavenly Father who can deliver us from anxiety (myth 1), free us from our need to control things (myth 2), and convert us back into carefree children. We were designed to dream big, but we weren’t designed to control the universe or propel ourselves forward (myth 8). Instead of praying for some elusive opportunity that could change everything in our lives (myth 6), we need to focus on the One who can change everything, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ (Heb. 12:2).” Pg 166
Easier said than done.
It’s time as Christians to ask ourselves, how much are we praying for things instead of praying to get to know the heart of the Father truly? Prayer is meant to be dominated with adoration and thanksgiving, sprinkled in with a little supplication. Supplication prayers are like sugar: sweet but best enjoyed in moderation.
The faster we stop future tripping and realize God holds the future in His hands, the happier we will be. Once we fully realize it’s all about Jesus and not about ourselves, it will be easier to step onto the escalator and ride it to the top. Some of us hold onto our dreams too closely, and we get sick because of it. We drive ourselves crazy.
Haas says, “Abraham fell upon the real keys of happiness: submission and faith. He stopped trying to get control and instead learned to get under the control of the God who loved him.” pg 44 Abraham surrendered to God and let Him mold his character. He was humble and teachable. He learned his God-given space in the world and walked by faith in it. And it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3).
God doesn’t want us to do big things. He wants us.
“We were meant to live, dripping in the Father’s love, saturated in the confidence of His faithfulness. To lack these attributes is to miss the whole point of being “born again,” to be a child again who doesn’t need to worry about anything except obedience.” Pg 29
Life with God on the escalator is not always fun. When operational, sometimes we fall and get hurt. Other times it eats our pants and leaves us naked and exposed to others (this is a real thing, don’t Google it… and don’t get tempted because I told you not to do it. This isn’t reverse psychology…). Then there are other life seasons when we’re tempted to build our own towers to God instead of waiting for our broken escalators to get fixed as God calls us to (here's looking at you tower of Babel peeps in Genesis 11). If we stay submitted to God and wait patiently, we may end up in a place of even greater glory than we dreamed possible. Delays are sometimes the best thing that happens to us. Praise Jesus for broken escalators.
Either way, I just want to hold His hand until He takes me to the ride's end.
Check out this hilarious, life-changing book if you get a chance this week.