Are You Living a Cruise Ship Lifestyle?

5-15-13 cruise shipWhat is a cruise ship lifestyle?

Let’s look at the book of Isaiah for a succinct description.

“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.” (Isaiah 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, seems prevalent. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you’ll recognize how Isaiah’ describes well what a cruise vacation looks like for most people.

Unfortunately, a cruise ship lifestyle seems to be becoming more commonplace as an overall lifestyle approach. But how might this look off a cruise ship? Since it would look different for every person, let me describe what it might look like in my own life if I did nothing to prevent it.

“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 novels all day long. She fails to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit wants her to do, and she completely ignores His direction 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 eye-opening for what could so easily happen should I fail to constantly renew my mind in a way that leads to a counter-cultural life directed by 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 discusses the remedy of an unproductive life as being a renewing of the mind, and Understanding the Symptoms of Vacation Brain helps 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.

Refocusing and preventing can help one live a productive life on a consistent, long-term basis.
Prior to going on our first cruise, my husband and I set several goals that, if achieved, would equal a successful vacation in our minds. Likewise, having life goals also helps prevent the cruise ship lifestyle from impacting our whole lives. At the same time, working consistently toward goals helps get the most out of every aspect of our lives.

Setting goals and constantly creating an awareness helps maintain focus. Goals provide a status check that helps prevent being sucked into culture and away from God.


Cruises Are Not Evil

Please know that I do not consider cruises to be evil. I have been on two of them and am currently planning a third. In fact, I believe cruises provide a great way to disconnect as a way to reconnect. They give dedicated time to completely relax and put life on hold for a while.

However, existing in an atmosphere where the desires of the flesh are catered to can be a dangerous place. 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 that culture.

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 become our focus and will eventually derail us spiritually, mentally and physically.

DISCUSSION: What do you recommend to prevent drifting toward a cruise ship lifestyle?

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25 Replies to “Are You Living a Cruise Ship Lifestyle?”

  1. For me in my life, it is critically important that I fellowship as much as possible with like-minded people. Allowing myself to be bombarded constantly and consistently with negativity, temptations, etc. without the balance of spiritual filling – is a very bad idea. If I do not get around "Christian folk" 🙂 on a regular basis, I find myself getting depressed, stressed, and just spiritually drained. The longer that it goes on, the harder it is to feel at peace. I really think that this is the devil's way of getting to our human side. You definitely do not have to go on a cruise to feel the pull of our culture, since I have never been on one and struggle with it all the time! 🙂

    1. Fellowship is definitely a HUGE key to keeping the influence of culture from pulling us into a pit. Other keys are daily Bible study and prayer along with regular worship. Keep struggling forward, my friend. Remember, if you're struggling with it, you haven't given in!

  2. have to admit I about choked as you described your lifestyle. I was joking with a home educating mom this morning and if she hadn't known it I might have been chopped to pieces. She even joined in with "Yeah I sit around all day eating bon-bons." You home educate don't you Kari? Or am I thinking of someone else? My big thing is making sure I don't stay up too late. 4:00 comes awful early when I have stayed up to late. I also limit the amount of TV i watch. I do like NCIS and Person of Interest, and now will watch some baseball, but I put the brakes on time. I also try to spend some time reading "light" stuff at home. You have done a good job, Kari, of describing this lifestyle.

    1. Fortunately, that's NOT my actual lifestyle. It's just what my lazy flesh would do if I let it. No, I do not home educate; although, we have considered it from time to time with our youngest. Having a regular sleep schedule is so important. I like to stay up late too, but I have read enough research about the importance of enough sleep that I make myself go to bed about the same time every night. Getting the right amount of sleep is probably one of the top 3 things a person can do physically to stay sharp. TV can be a real time sucker, that's for sure. We try to deliberately limit how much TV we watch, which is easier in the summer months in MI than in the winter. Although, for me, watching some sports on TV is great reading time too.

      1. I apologize Kari for thinking that was your lifestyle. If I had stopped for a moment to think I would have realized it wasn't. You exercise. You take care of 2 boys. That, in itself, would be enough. 🙂 I'm also sorry I confused you with another blogger on the home educating thing. Man, I struck out a ton on this comment. 🙂 One thing I know…the only way I can get any reading done is turning off the TV. I cannot multi-task.

        1. No need to apologize. You're a pastor..a blogger… lots of people to keep track of. I get my two kids confused at times 🙂 For me, it depends on what's on TV. Sports work well for me, and then I watch at the end of the half or quarter. Although, sometimes I can have almost anything on. Depends on the book too. Technically, no one can really multi-task, meaning our brains can flip really quickly among tasks but never actually does two at once. I know, we can't tell a difference, but you get my point.

  3. Hey there, I laughed when I read how your life COULD be. I don't think I could ever sit that still, though give me a good book or a lot of catch up email and blogs like I am doing tonight and I can stay up late and spend a lot of time. I do believe the old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". I believe it is important to focus each day on gratitude and whose we are and what God has for us to do, to spend time praying and doing what we can with what we have been given. If we stay ahead of the game we are better prepared when things happen, like a week that just does not seem to go right. Thanks as always for sharing from your heart and your life.

    1. I could be lazy if I let myself go in that direction. Gratitude can be tremendous motivation to truly live life. I also find that building a strong base (which is really what prevention is all about) provides much-needed strength for when the storms hit. Doesn\’t mean we won\’t be affected, but it does mean we\’ve let God build our endurance.

  4. Your post makes me realize how important it is for us to have anchor points. We should have them in the different areas of our life. We should have things we go back to in regard to our spiritual life and check and see how we are doing. In regard to our health we should anchor points that would be our goals of exercise, sleep and eating well and we can check on them time to time. Anchor points should exist for our relationships; for how we do our job, for our being a neighbor, for being a good spouse. We should articulate those anchor points and check on them often; are we tied securely to them; do we see the anchor point clearly; do we need to add another point to tie too? I could see a whole book written on anchor points; choosing them, developing them, how to tie to them, needing more than one, how to check their status, changing from one to another…..

    1. Between you and my husband, I'm never going to leave this topic. What a terrific idea! Are you going to write the book, or are you suggesting that I should? The topic of writing a book has been on my mind constantly these days, and I feel led to get started. If you are going to write this book, I will fully support and encourage you. Or, if you are making the suggestion for me, I think I want to explore the idea further. Can I just say that I am so glad that I can ask this question straight out, knowing that you understand where my heart is in asking. Back to what I mentioned regarding my husband, he made the comment last night after reading my post )he comments out loud instead of on the site) about wondering how the cruise ship workers can focus on God when many are on the ship for 6-9 months at a time. I mean, they aren't even allowed to get off the ship when it docks at its home port and gets new passengers. This relates to your comment on anchor points. Thanks for stretching my mind on this, Mark!

      1. Kari, go for it girl. Maybe this is what God has been preparing you to do! I love the modern way things can be written and published so easily these days. I would love to be part of your sounding board..God Bless.

  5. I support you writing the book! For some reason I have always thought in terms of having one anchor point but in real life that is not true. Big boats have multiply anchor points. A cell tower will have numerous anchor points. One anchor point rarely gets it done and most want to put in a margin of error. Margin of error … another thought of how can this be applied to our spiritual life?

    1. Awesome! While I have thought along this lines, I have not termed them anchor points. You're right in that big boats have multiple anchor points, and it occurred to me that they also need to go to port regularly to restock, refuel, etc. That ties in to WHY we need to have anchor points as well as to paying attention to where and when they occur. Regular maintenance fits in there too, and the recent troubles by Carnival highlight a lot of what happens when these things don't take a priority. I have actually studied a lot on the idea of margin but have not connected margin of error exactly with that study. Sort of, just not in those terms. I am going to write down what we've talked about and kind of use it to do something thinking on a book outline. I have been struggling with a focus for a book, and now I have two that came to me this morning. Just proves what Stephen King says about the book coming to you instead the writer creating it. Keep the thoughts coming, Mark.

  6. Multiply anchors seem to provide better support and stability. Relying on one anchor even if you remain anchored can result in not be as balanced as you could be. Relying on one exercise for physical fitness rarely works out very well. Only doing one spiritual thing like bible reading and not praying and having fellowship leaves you somewhat off.

    1. Very true. And, this whole anchoring process only works IF you have a main port that is your focus. Also, as I thought more about this doing some of my daily routine, I realized that anchoring is not just a nautical term. As you mentioned, cell signals need anchored, but I have also heard of an object like a piece of paper or whatever needing anchored too in order for something requiring stability to take place. Going to have to do some research to really get my head around how all-encompassing this idea is.

  7. Really liked what yous aid here Kari.

    "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."

    I think at the heart of it, all of us need to live intentionally. I define intentional living as living every moment with kingdom impact, stewarding our gifts, talents, resources, and opportunities in order to turn the world upside down.

    This requires as you say a healthy dose of self-awareness. Knowing whose I am, who I am, why I'm here, and where I'm going.

    Thanks for sharing such insight post! I'll be visiting more often.

    1. Thanks, Paul. Love your definition of intentional living! The kingdom impact plus stewardship to make a drastic difference in the world is huge. And, oh did you hit on something with regard to self-awareness. In my view, lack of self-awareness has led to so many of life's challenges for people I love. It sure did that to me much of my life until the Holy Spirit got a hold of me. Glad to have you visit here! Look forward to hearing your comments again soon.

  8. Staying in "vacation mode" for too long can be dangers for us. It can cause us to be lead by our fleshly desires and not through the Power of the Holy Sprint. It's important to work hard and also take time to relax. A balance of both is important. Great post Kari!

    1. Boy, it sure can. Unfortunately, our society seems to promote this mode more and more. The battle of flesh vs. spirit & Spirit is one the Bible says we'll have constantly but that we don't have to give into our flesh since we are no longer bound by the law. Isn't that awesome! Romans 8:2 – "For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death." And, balance is key. We need to rest in a "vacation" way, but we can't live there. Even on vacation, we must let the Spirit control. Thanks, Dan!

  9. I've found, as I reflect on my past, that I rarely go straight from a productive lifestyle to a cruise ship lifestyle. Instead, it's a series of steps – and one crucial step is that my productivity tends to be directed towards worldly things: money, status, ego. I get slowly away from God, and then the goal that I'm chasing loses its luster – that's when the cruise ship lifestyle creeps in.

    1. I think that's the most common way that it happens, slowly over time to the point of not even noticing it's happening. That's why getting those daily habits established and sticking to them, or returning to them after vacation, is so essential. Just like a regular checkup on a car keeps it from breaking down, we need regular checkups in our spiritual lives too. Mark and I have been calling them "anchor points" in our discussions.

  10. It is interesting to see the different perspectives that we take away from a cruise. And I agree with what you have written here – cruise ships are typically places devoid of God. They cater to the desires of the flesh in many ways. Sounds like quite a mission field.

    As I mentioned in my blog, I began to see my time on the cruise as a way to connect with people from all over the world. Most of the employees work seven days per week for several months in a row. Maybe my interactions with them had a positive impact for the Kingdom. At least I hope they saw something different in us. We may never know our impact.

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