The Law of Undulation
Undulation is a fancy way of saying that life goes up and down. Kind of like Spring weather. One day we're getting snow flurries, and the next it is sunny and 72 degrees. It is unpredictable and it goes back and forth. The law of undulation states that as human beings we are going to also go up and down. We will have good days and bad ones. We will have good moments and bad ones. We will have highs and lows. The trick is learning how to make the best of whatever comes your way. And also, it really helps to have something in your life that is constant. Something or someone that you can count on no matter what.
That is exactly what God can be for each of us. Check out Romans 8:31-32, 38-39: "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?. . . .For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
This passage of Scripture is so encouraging to me. No matter what I'm going through, I know that God is always there. Sometimes the low times are so low, I don't even feel God's presence at all, but that doesn't mean I'm alone. By faith, I can still reach out to God. And knowing that I am loved no matter what I'm facing or feeling is a marvelous gift! As I've gotten older, I realized that embracing the law of undulation makes life much easier to handle. I used to try to be up all the time. This caused me to panic whenever I was down and respond with poor choices. I might be try to pretend I wasn't down. Usually, I would just get angry and then indulge myself in some unhealthy way, like trying to eat my way out of negative feelings. I would justify it with this: I deserve all this ice cream after what I've been through today!
There is a much better way forward. You can actually really help yourself by first accepting that undulation is part of life. If you are down, you can simply say, "I'm feeling down today and that's OK. Tomorrow, I might feel better. Or even five minutes from now, I might feel better." Nothing demonstrates the law of undulation better than the stock market. If an investor makes wise decisions when the market is down, they will really benefit when the market goes back up. And if an investor makes wise decisions when the market is up, they will be prepared for the down time. The same is true for you and I in our spiritual lives. And it is very simple. Whether you are down or up, the best thing you can do in your life is turn to the One whose love is constant. God is always there. Nothing can separate you from God's love. Knowing that can help calm the chaos in your soul that comes from the ups and downs of life.
I would invite you this week to bask in the love of God. Invite the Spirit into your heart. Know with certainty that God loves you no matter what. Accept the ups and downs of life as simply the way things are. Leverage the down times by putting extra effort into your relationship with God. And then thank God for the good times. Enjoy them while they last, but don't be surprised when the good feelings fade. Finally, try to separate your decision-making from your current feelings. This is difficult, but very helpful. Make decisions based on faith in the One whose love is constant. This will keep you from making the down times worse by making harmful decisions in those moments. It will also give you more up times because you are making good choices that benefit your future. Trusting in God's love can give you many tangible benefits!
May you rely on the constant love of God by faith this week.