Just one year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, it’s apparent no one made it out of 2020 unscathed; everyone shifted on some scale during the year. No one seemed especially prepared emotionally or spiritually for the difficulties that 2020 would bring — except for maybe Christine Caine.
Caine, a spiritual “big sister” to many, began working in ministry in the 1990s. Over the last three decades, she has spoken at countless events and conferences around the world, started a global anti-trafficking organization, founded an empowering women’s ministry, poured into believers young and old — and that’s just the highlights. Her foot has been full force on the gas pedal for nearly 30 years, and she never planned on slowing down.
That all changed five years ago when Caine experienced what she calls “the most painful season of my Christian life.” Within a matter of months, Caine lost her mother, her brother’s wife, and her husband’s sister and brother-in-law. Coupled with her losses was a deep betrayal from a close friend and massive global issues (you may have blocked out 2016 along with 2020 so think MeToo movement, immigration policies, shifting world politics, etc.), and Caine found herself in a tumultuous season.
“I think probably the best way to word it is like this hurricane hit me that was category five. Like a perfect storm came,” Caine said. “A lot of us felt the ground had come out from under us in a way. I was trying to process everything on a macro, external level and then internally with what was going on with me.”
She pushed through even as her body was beginning to grow weary in the fight. She lost sleep, couldn’t slow her mind down, even experiencing a mild panic attack at one point. Caine kept running full speed ahead through everything without coming up for much air. She was focused on finding answers and helping others, just like she always had.
As she was trying to keep all the plates spinning, she sat down with her husband Nick one night to watch a show about Navy SEALs participating in Hell Week — a training exercise meant to break down soldiers by putting them through grueling physical, mental and emotional tests. While watching the show, Caine had a breakdown of her own.
“I told Nick, ‘This is how I feel, that I’ve been dropped out of the helicopter — and I know I could make it. I’m not going to die. I’ve been here before. I know the ocean is not going to kill me. I’ve got this spiritual fortitude to do this. But for the first time, in 30 years of following Jesus, I don’t know if I want to.’”
After finally admitting to herself that she couldn’t keep going with her foot on the gas pedal, Caine began to dig deep into how she had reached this spiritual burnout. She came to realize that over time, through her trials and turmoil, she had started drifting. “Not like drifted from obedience to Christ,” Caine explained, “but I had drifted from a true passion for my purpose.”
Drifting, according to Caine, is not necessarily walking away from faith. Rather, it is anchoring your passion in something that is not strong and secure, something other than Jesus himself. Drifts occur when people allow the shifts of the world — whether the shift occurs on a large scale like a pandemic or a personal scale like friendships — to draw them away from Christ.
“Every day you wake up and there’s a shift, there’s just a shift every day. So if our anchor’s not firm and secure, we’re just not going to make it,” Caine cautions.
Even for someone like Caine, it’s easy to find yourself adrift. The world is inundated with so many distractions that don’t really look like distractions. They can be minor distractions that bring relief in the midst of a difficult time, like an interesting new show to watch every night. Or the distraction presents itself as something else, like hype instead of passion.
“Hype is what a lot of us have mistaken for passion. Hype gives us a certain feeling, but then you need the next event or the next whatever,” Caine said. “Passion is something that is internally regulated by the spirit of God, despite what’s going on around you.”
Caine had come to realize in herself that for years she had mixed up her passion for God with hype for God. She had been looking for the next stimulation to keep her going, something that would help convince her she was anchored and rooted. What she came to realize was that the drift she was going through was not because life around her had shifted, but rather becasue she had “some toxic stuff” embedded in her heart that allowed her to drift.
“That hype was masking some things that were going on in my head,” Caine explained. “Insecurity, fear, doubt, disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment — a number of things. Stuff I didn’t talk about, because, you know, the next ‘hype thing’ was going to cover that.”
Not anchoring her life to hype meant Caine had to answer deep questions. Questions she thought she had addressed long ago but realized she actually needed to constantly reflect on. Was God enough for her? What was motivating her walk with Christ? What was her anchor tied to?
It was only when the hype had been stripped away that Caine was able to see her anchor had drifted out to sea. As Caine began wading through her own drifting, she realized that anchoring herself to Christ had to be her main priority. Through integrating a variety of ways to stay connected with God, Caine found herself drifting back closer and closer to Him.
Her spiritual practices were nothing new or shiny; instead, they were simple, biblical basics that to this day keep her anchored to Christ. Caine’s spiritual disciplines look like leaning on her friends to help her draw near to God when she feels particularly far from Him, praying daily and intentionally, and keeping her time in the Word fresh. “I mix up my intimacy with Jesus. It’s not going to be the same every minute,” Caine said.
The temptation for the next hype is still present in Caine’s life, as it is in everyone’s life. Some days it’s still hard for Caine to stay close to God, as life is not always “warm and fuzzy.” On those days, Caine reminds herself of John 15 and the importance of abiding in the vine, even when abiding just looks like normal, everyday routine faithfulness and obedience.
“To a physique and a vine, there’s lots of grime and there’s lots of dung and also you simply obtained to hold in there,” Caine defined. “I believe we frequently romanticize [abiding] — that it’s obtained to be this heat, fuzzy, Jesus loves you, kumbaya. Then finally we discover out it’s not nice on a regular basis, and we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Then we get riled up about one thing else. So we’re on the lookout for this subsequent hit on a regular basis, slightly than going, let me simply relaxation in Jesus and do the arduous work of what it’s to construct a dedicated lifelong relationship as a follower of Jesus.”
After years of virtually abiding within the vine by means of the excessive, low and mundane days of life, Caine is sharing with others how they’ll, and should, anchor themselves to Christ. Caine’s newest guide, How Did I Get Right here? Discovering Your Method Again to God When Every thing is Pulling You Away, explores the important thing rules to anchoring your life to Christ.
“After what I went by means of in 2016, I really feel just like the Lord was like, ‘I’m prepping you. You’re going to go to hell and again as a result of all people else goes to go in there in a few years.’ That’s how I felt. It was like a prep factor that I needed to undergo spiritually. It made me return to every thing,” Caine stated of her 2020 expertise.
The 2020 pandemic was the tipping level for many individuals who have been drifting farther and farther from Christ, and many individuals could not have even realized they’ve drifted in any respect. Caine warns that probably the most harmful drift happens if you drift to nothing. By not anchoring your life in something, you’ll find your self misplaced at sea, uncertain how you bought there or how one can get again.
“It’s important to verify the hyperlinks in your chain as a result of a few of the stuff that we’re flippant with, when a class 5 hurricane comes — and it’ll come for all of us — for those who’re not anchored, you’re going to exit to sea. That’s what it’s going to return right down to.
Caine is aware of the sensation of being adrift effectively. Having skilled it in her personal life and placing practices to the take a look at, Caine hopes the problem she needed to undergo 5 years prior offers encouragement many want to listen to: you may get again from the wandering sea, and also you don’t must float away within the first place.
“You’ll be able to both follow your religious disciplines which might be going to convey you nearer to Jesus, or you’ll follow one thing else that can pull you from Him,” Caine warns, “and I believe lots of us on this season are pulling up the anchor, which is Jesus. We’re not setting it anyplace, and earlier than we all know it, we’re in actually harmful, open waters.
“And I simply wish to encourage individuals and inform them that Jesus is that this hope we now have as an anchor for our soul. He’s worthy. He’s devoted. He’s simply. And in all of our wandering and all of our drifting, we’ve obtained to set that anchor down.”