Win Today with Christopher Cook

Get Unstuck. Reclaim Your Purpose. Win Today.

Why Drive-Thru Slogans are Absolutely Ruining Your Life

We’ve all heard them: “drive-thru” slogans that are bloated on the surface but shallow and underwhelming upon delivery.

“Have it your way.” It was a slogan championed in the 1970s and one that propelled Burger King into drive-thru stardom. That is until they canned it in 2014 because it wasn’t working after 40 years of trying.

“Live Mas.” In 2012, Taco Bell replaced their “Think Outside the Bun” slogan with “live mas,” or in English, “live more.” Live more? As in more teenage mutant ninja mystery meat?

“We Never Stop Working for You.” Well, sorry, Verizon, but you do. And, truthfully, I can’t hear you now.

And then there’s the Tweetable, Instagram-able, meme-tastic “Christian bubble” hooks.

Fortune Cookie Christianese

Featured on the Christian dating greatest hits album is the infamous, “Just guard your/his/her heart.”

Right. And don’t develop healthy relationship and communication skills in the meantime. So you’d rather sit in the closet and read I Kissed Dating Goodbye until you feel better about studying theory without ever applying principles to real life. Just because one experience was bad for one guy doesn’t mean dating is bad. Remember the college professors that couldn’t speak English and just read from the text without providing context for real life? Same thing. Relationships are messy, risky, and all-out exhilarating. But you can’t learn how to do it right if you never risk being wrong.

And then there’s the all-encompassing, “Just trust that God has a better plan.”

Hold tight. Don’t stone me. He does have a plan. I believe that. And it is for my good. In fact, it’s better than I could ever architect myself. But robotically saying that to people in the midst of unforeseen difficulties and crisis comes across as extremely insensitive and out-of-touch. When I lost my mom a couple years ago, I ran into someone at the grocery store who asked how I was doing. Most likely, I caught her off-guard because I replied, “Terrible.” To that, she said, “Well I know you didn’t get what you wanted, but now you’ll find out what God wanted. Just trust that He has a better plan.” What God wanted? Get me a sick bag. Though she was right in principle, the last thing I needed was a drive-thru response. The only thing I needed in that moment was validation of my pain.

Just a Spoonful of Sugar

Here’s the thing: drive-thru solutions for a life that unravels pretty unpredictably suck. I’m mad at them. But I’m more upset with myself for hinging so much expectation upon them and hiding behind them as to convey a put-together, pain-free life. They’re as sugary, light, and dentally hazardous as 4H Fair cotton candy. They’re as captivating as those midnight “magic brownie” infomercials. And they’re as sweet and delicious as Funfetti cake—side effects included. I’m sure a lot of us have secretly wanted to place this order:

“Can I get a life combo, supersized house? Hold the heartache. Extra money. 2.5 kids and a dog on the side?”

Allow me to be the first. I’m raising my hand.

“Value” Meal Relationships

On the other side of that order, however, is hardly value. Instead, contained in that greasy brown bag is often a supersized order of buried pain, artificial strength, superficial relationships, and a life of escapism. More specifically, the problem with “drive-thru” answers to life is that they are out-of-touch and without substance. Why then are we so attracted to them? They’re quick, easy, and not too costly.

Just like the drive-thru.

And to that, they are even easier to hide behind. You see, somehow, somewhere, we’ve been led to believe a life of faith and trust in God must be portrayed as a problem-free, “too blessed to be stressed” existence. But that’s just not true. Hiding behind the “drive-thru” answers to life is like a slow-drip of dope into your system. Keep it flowing and you’re good. Pull the needle and you’re screwed. Why? Because you cannot hide behind shortcuts. It’s escapism in its purest form.

Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby…

Interestingly, while in conversation around this topic with one of my closest friends, Drew, this past weekend, he poignantly stated, “People eat fast food because they didn’t prepare for real food.”

And just like that, I made the connection. We so quickly are tempted to run to the clichés when we’re unprepared for a real life full of real relationships, real pain, real hurt, real joy, real triumph, and real gain. It is, as Drew reminded me, form without power. Remember what the apostle Paul said to his protégé, Timothy? “For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession].”

Truth be told, it’s not that the statements themselves are untrue. It’s just that we run to them and haphazardly feed off of their emotional payoff. Instead, our internal resolve should be to put wheels to the ground and stay committed to go through life as one who overcomes obstacles instead of avoiding them.

If you’re like me and have been driven around the drive-thru queue one too many times, I believe the way out is by going through.

Endurance: The Way Out is the Way Through

On the other side of the drive-thru is authenticity. And alongside authenticity is a great exchange with Jesus. Isaiah 61:1-3, one of my favorite scriptures, makes clear the point: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me…to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn…to grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

In this great exchange, He calms the storms within so you can be steady in the storms that are on the outside.

When you and I are willing to dump the façade—though quick, polished, and easy on the surface—we’ll get what we’re really after, and in turn, be empowered to give it back in full measure to those who need it most.

Strong on the Inside

Landing this plane and getting practical, this powerful transformation produces internally strong people; people who don’t live off of the drive-thru. Strong people have great self-management ability. While I.Q. and technical skills are key for life, E.Q. determines ones ability to self-manage, relate well interpersonally, manage stress, and be optimistic. In fact, studies have shown that E.Q. accounts for 80-90% of the factors that distinguish average from outstanding people. Highly successful people have the capacity for attitude tenacity, enriched relationships, and stress tolerance. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves and they take responsibility for their attitudes and outcomes. Of importance, they manage authentic relationships very well, don’t avoid the “tough stuff,” and can emerge from difficulty.

Toss the greasy bag. That’s the kind of person I aspire to be. How about you?