The Thermostat Game.

If you’ve ever shared space with someone whose internal body temperature differs from yours, you know this game.

Here’s how it goes.

Sally Sue is cold natured. When she enters a room, she desires warmth — lots of it — to caress her skin, seep down to her bones.

Ahhhh 🙂

Johnny Joe, on the other hand is hot natured. When he enters a room, he’ll gravitate toward an oscillating fan, air vents, or the chilly breezes of an ice cold A.C. unit.

Shivering, Sally Sue peers at the thermostat, notices it’s set to a ridiculous 68 degrees and inches it up to a delightful 78, then returns to the comfort of whatever she was doing before her fingers became numb.

In response, Johnny Joe fans himself in irritation, glares at the thermostat, and promptly sets that thing back down to 68 (or lower) degrees while dabbing his beaded forehead with a hankie.

The winner of the thermostat game is anybody’s guess. Personally, I’m pulling for Sally Sue. 

But I digress.

In spiritual matters, it sometimes feels as though God and I are playing the thermostat game. 

Discomfort of any kind and…

“Uh uh, Lord. It’s entirely too cold.”

Or far too hot.

Whether or not I deem the thermostat setting all wrong depends on how my suffering soul feels in the midst of hardship.

If I find life’s temperature uncomfortable, off I go, doing all I can to adjust the thermostat to my liking, handling things on my own strength, bringing circumstances to a place of comfort and ease.

With all the success of chasing after the wind.

Futile, meaningless. Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17

God knows what temperature will best draw out the image of Jesus on my countenance. In His kindness, He equips me to handle the discomforts.

If I’m too cold, He gives me a coat and gloves.

If I’m too hot, He provides a shade tree and water. That is, Living Water. (John 4:14)

It’s not God’s goal to assure my little world stays cozy and comfortable. He adjusts the thermostat so I’ll shrug out of my dependence on self.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you..

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

When my first response to ice-cold waters, rising river levels, and flames of fire is anything less than ultimate trust, then, on some level, I’m playing the thermostat game with God.

As if I could win.

Trust in Him at all times. Psalm 62:8

To trust at all times leaves no room for playing thermostat-adjusting games with God so that things return to an ever-so-comfortable temperature, but it does promise the soothing warmth of His peace in a storm.

How about you? What’s your response when life heats up or becomes too cold?


  1. Emily Conrad says:

    Such a good analogy! We just had a thermostat disagreement here yesterday, unfortunately. I didn’t know my husband had turned on the AC, so I had the windows open. All day. Oh well. More to topic, I love your idea of God outfitting us with whatever we need to face the weather. He is good, regardless of our circumstances.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      In the matter of a spiritual thermostat, God always, always wins. Which is a good thing, whether or not I’m shivering or sweating. Thanks, Emily. I’m pulling for you in the thermostat game you and your husband are playing. Keep me posted 🙂

  2. Such a great comfort! Thank you:)

  3. Margaret Eomurian says:

    I think I am Johnny Joe and my husband is Sally Sue. What a perfect analogy to the way we try to adjust the temperature of our life-situations to a more comfortable level when God has it set just where He wants it. I am looking forward to a heaven where the temperature is set just right!

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Great thought, heaven will greet us with a perfect temperature. I’d never have guessed YOU were Johnny Joe. Never. I, of course, am Sally Sue. And keep an emergency sweater in the car just in case in share space with a Johnny Joe who wants his world COLD. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Carol James says:

    What a lovely reminder! Thanks for sharing.

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