“Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them! Their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine; But they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord, nor do they consider the work of His hands.” (5:11-12)
The pursuit of strong drink? Check. Staying up late? Check. Lots of food and music? Yep, those too. Neglect of God? Unfortunately, most likely. Isaiah’s words here seem to be describing what a cruise vacation looks like for most people.
But how does this look off a cruise ship and as more of a lifestyle? Since it would be different for every person, let me describe what it might look like in my own life.
“Distress and affliction to she who gets up in the morning to pursue strong coffee because she stayed up too late the night before watching television. Her eating habits consist of potato chips and ice cream, and she does nothing but sit around and read all day long. She fails to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit wants her to do, and she completely ignores what He directs to her mind on a regular basis. No exercise. No writing. No housework.”
Once I got rolling on how this lifestyle might look for me, I had to force myself to stop. And it was actually an eye-opening exercise in what could so easily happen in my life should I fail to constantly renew my mind in a way that allows me to live counter-culturally and according to God’s Word.
While going on a cruise does not cause a permanent downward spiral away from a productive life, doing nothing to avoid this type of lifestyle will eventually lead one.
Preventing an Unproductive Life
Vacation Brain discussed the remedy to the symptoms as being a renewing of the mind, and Understanding the Symptoms of Vacation Brain helped create awareness of the power of these symptoms to disrupt life. And while renewing the mind certainly needs to be a refocusing tool, another approach involves preventing the symptoms in the first place.
Together, refocusing and preventing can help one live a productive life on a consistent, long-term basis.
Prior to going on our cruise, my husband and I set several goals that, if achieved, would equal a successful vacation in our minds. Having goals helps prevent the cruise ship lifestyle from impacting us negatively. At the same time, working consistently toward goals help us get the most out of every aspect of our lives.
Setting goals and constantly creating an awareness of where I want to be in a certain period of time helps maintain focus. Goals provide a status check that helps prevent being sucked into our culture and away from God, something that happens by simply doing nothing to stop it from happening.
Cruises Are Not Evil
Before ending this series, I feel the need to emphasize that I do not consider cruises to be evil. I have been on two of them and thoroughly enjoyed myself both times. We’ll likely go again in the future, perhaps taking our boys next time.
In fact, I believe cruises are a great way to shut off life for a while and to completely relax with hardly a care in the world, something everyone needs to do upon occasion. They also allow for a much-needed disconnection from the fast-pace of life.
What I am saying is that existing in an atmosphere where the desires of the flesh are catered to can be a dangerous place. I am also saying that this lifestyle can be so appealing that adapting at least parts of it into real life becomes increasingly easy the more one refuses to resist culture.
Finally, I am also saying that one can adapt a cruise ship lifestyle without ever stepping foot on a boat. Our culture, on land or at sea, caters to the desires of the flesh. And if we do nothing to prevent it, those desires will become our focus and will end up seriously derailing us spiritually, mentally and physically.
DISCUSSION: What additional thoughts do you have on preventing and remedying the impact of culture?