“For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1
Despite being an evangelist, activist, international speaker, and author, Christine Caine found herself restless, desperate, exhausted, and empty. As much as she loved Jesus and her calling, she didn’t know if she actually wanted to keep going. “It wasn’t like I was going to get up, say ‘bye’ to my faith and chicken,” she explained. “It was more like I wanted to take my foot off the gas,” she admitted. “I didn’t know if I wanted to keep pressing in and pressing on.” Even though she believed in her heart of hearts that Jesus was Lord, she had somehow drifted off course and found herself lost in a sea of feelings. In between tossing and turning in her bed at night and feeling distraught and confused during the day, she couldn’t help but wonder: how did I get here?
“As I was living through this season of despair, I kind of felt like Joseph when he was thrown into prison. I felt like what am I doing here, am I ever going to get out of here, and whatever happened to that dream I had.” Her latest book, How Did I Get Here? Finding Your Way Back to God When Everything Is Pulling You Away is an honest conversation about wrestling with doubt, getting real, raw, and honest with God, and turning our eyes back to Jesus.
“Anyone can drift,” Christine insists. “You can be at any age or stage in your Christianity. The drift doesn’t have to be a messy backslide. You could be going through all the motions, but you’re not pressing on like Paul said in Philippians 3:14. You’re okay with comfortable Christianity. And we can drift in every area of life, whether it’s our health, happiness, finances, or relationships. Everything in our world has shifted so dramatically – politically, economically, socially, morally, environmentally, especially in the last 5 or 6 years, that if we don’t pay extra attention, we’re going to drift, no matter who we are,” she warns.
The drift can be different for each of us, but Christine writes about 9 signs we all tend to experience before we drift off course. We stop trusting and start controlling. We stop healing and start seeping. We stop wondering and start wandering. We stop praying and start talking. We stop gathering together in community and start isolating. We stop hungering for God and start gorging down things of the world. We stop working and start watching. We stop pressing in and start coasting.
But God is good and faithful even as we drift. We don’t have to hide our wandering, doubt, and questions from Him. “I think historically in the church, people are really scared of asking questions. We think God’s really fragile and that He’ll fall off his throne if someone asks Him a question. And I’m like it’s okay. You can yell, scream, rant, rave and it is okay because God’s really strong,” she asserts.
“No matter how far you think you might have drifted, you can’t ever drift too far out of the love of God through Christ Jesus. You’re not so far gone that God’s not there. You can’t actually outdrift God’s love.” But we can reconnect with Him.
When We’re Lost, We Can Pray
Life has a surprising way of making us feel lost. Miscarriage. Unemployment. Death. Moving to a new place. Stress. Financial difficulties. Divorce. All of these situations can unexpectedly pull us away from God. But feeling lost puts us in the perfect position to pray. “There isn’t a magic pill that can help us feel unlost,” Christine says, “but I have found that very simple prayers like ‘God, please help,’ is always a really good start. Start where you are. You don’t have to sanitize it.”
“Cry out to God,” she advises, even when you’re full of doubt and dealing with the consequences of poor intentional choices. “Acknowledge that you’re here. Ask Him to make you want to come back. Ask him to help your unbelief. The enemy would love to play with your mind and fill with you guilt, shame, and condemnation. But it’s not too late. “You’ve got to realize that wherever you are and whatever you’ve done, you have not outdrifted the love of God.”
But sometimes we’re not lost. We’re distracted. Money, careers, success, social media platforms, legislation, technology, politics, news, and other aspects of digital media can chip away at our ability to focus on Godly things.
When We’re Distracted, We Can Refocus
“We’re living in a time when the currents are shifting in every realm of our lives so dramatically. And I think people feel so destabilized. We’re all wondering what’s going on in the world no matter which lens you’re looking at it from. But the lens that we have to view from is the Jesus lens. Scripture says fix your eyes on Jesus. When you’re boating, you fix your eyes on the horizon to stay stable. I think we’re feeling so seasick because we’ve got our eyes on the storm, the culture, and everything going on. But Jesus is our horizon.”
“The message of the book is so simple. It’s about people reorienting their eyes to Jesus. I talk about 10 different ways we can do that. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. In our world, it is actually not easy to follow Jesus. It’s not easy to fix your eyes on Jesus. It’s not easy to stay faithful to Jesus. Even in the Christian subculture with all the things being exposed, racism, sexism, and misogyny. These are signs that the church had already drifted from the teachings of Jesus. We have to fix our eyes on Jesus. The only hope we have both in the church and outside the church is Jesus, the true Jesus of the gospels.”
But the Jesus we find in the gospels didn’t fit neatly into the culture. And following him often separates us and makes us peculiar people.
When We’re Alone, Reconnect With Community
“I’m a big believer in community and people,” Christine confesses. “We all need 1 or 2 really key people that can help bring you back, walk you back, and help you stay close to Jesus. Accountability goes a long way. I know people have encountered misuse and abuse and those kinds of things, but if you can find a trustworthy community of people stay close to them. We weren’t meant to do this alone.”
“Sometimes,” Christine explains, “you’re just weary and exhausted and need some people to help carry you to Jesus,” she continues, remembering how her friends encouraged her. “You need friends that are going to put you on a mat, cut a hole through a roof, and dump you at the feet of Jesus. When I started writing this book, it was such a difficult time in my life and I have a very public ministry and I needed some people to carry me. And I think that can often help us get back on track.” When we’re back on track, we need to ground ourselves in the truth of who Christ is.
When We’re Reconnected, We Anchor Our Souls
“At the end of the day, whether you’re a believer or not, all of us have a deep angst for significance. We’re looking to anchor our identity, significance, value, and meaning in something,” Christine emphasizes. “But unless you’re anchored in the only one that can hold you, cause He’s the one that made you, everything else is going to be fleeting.”
“We keep looking for more things out there to validate us, to give us meaning, peace, joy, significance, and security. We think if only I had more of that, I’d be happy, peaceful, content. The truth is whatever your that is, it’s going to come and go. And that’s what the pandemic has shown us more than anything else. We all had a lot of hope in a lot of stuff and it all went away. So we gotta dig deeper than that.”
Anchoring our lives in our money, career, social life, marriage, dreams, hobbies won’t stop us from drifting away from the truth. “Some people find themselves drinking an extra glass of wine, popping that pill, surfing on the dark web, or other things because they wanted to escape and couldn’t leave their homes. That’s what happens when our souls aren’t anchored in Jesus,” Christine points out, knowing how easy it is to slip into old bad habits.
“I’m only one thought away from going back to how I used to think. So for me, faith is a lifeline. We’ve got to move past the mindset of a scripture away keeps the Devil away. It’s way more intense than that for me because I had developed such a wrong pattern of thinking,” Christine recounts. “I take very seriously Romans 12 where it says do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing, the ongoing renewing of the mind. That’s a daily practice for me. I wouldn’t survive any other way.”
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Life can pull us away from Jesus in the most subtle ways. We can’t drift off course so easily. We can lose our zeal without trying to. We can be attending church and serving others and slowly drifting away. But when we find ourselves asking how did I get here, we can be sure that God hasn’t abandoned us. He’s given us His son as our anchor.
What a friend we have in Jesus. He has carried our sins and griefs. So we can come to God with real, raw, unscripted, and honest prayers. Jesus knows our weaknesses. He knows how often we drift. The good news is we can always find our way back.
You can find How Did I Get Here? Finding Your Way Back to God When Everything is Pulling You Away here on Amazon. Her collection of personal stories is a breath of fresh air and a wealth of Biblical wisdom for us as we navigate through a shaky, uncertain, quickly-changing world.
Christine Caine is a sought-after international speaker, author and activist. Known for her ability to effectively communicate a message of hope, Christine has a heart for reaching the lost, strengthening leadership, and championing the cause of justice. Together with her husband, Nick, she founded the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign – a recipient of the Mother Theresa Memorial Award for their work combating human trafficking among refugees. They also founded Propel Women, an organization designed to celebrate every woman’s passion, purpose, and potential. Christine and Nick make their home in Southern California with their daughters, Catherine and Sophia. See more at https://christinecaine.com/.