Thursday, August 6, 2015

Life is Like a Video Game

Video games are quite common nowadays and there is much debate about whether or not they're useful in perpetually enriching our lives (or the lives of youngsters) or useful in killing vital learning brain cells. However, this particular blog will have nothing to do with that debate, but video games, as is the theme of this blog, will serve as an object lesson.

So, as many of us have grown up with video games, the lot of us know how they go. First, you have a beginning mission that usually serves as a get-to-know the controls and basis of the game. After the initial familiarizing mission, you move on to the real game. The real game with ever increasing difficult levels, skill acquisition and those ridiculously hard bosses calling you to use whatever skill you may or may not have obtained during your journey through each level. Your journey. What an appropriate phrase. In order to beat the game, you must go on the journey through each level. You cannot immediately fight the final boss and win the game -- though it would be so much easier if you could. You must acquire the necessary skills and/or weapons over the course of the ever challenging game if you are to defeat the final and most difficult boss.

Life is much like that journey. So often, we want to be where we feel we should be immediately, and we want to get there without difficulty or obstruction. However, without the journey, without the strength-giving obstacles, the destination would be lost. It is during the journey we obtain the necessary skills to overcome the little "bosses" of our lives-- and thus, eventually, the bigger "bosses"-- that will undoubtedly meet us along the way in an attempt to deter us from reaching our goal. For, if we were to come to the place of the prize (aka: our goal) right away, without the journey, we would be overwhelmed and overtaken by the bigger "bosses" that live in the land.

And take notice how each time the "boss" is harder to defeat. I mean, have you ever gone back to the first boss on a video game after defeating several subsequent bosses and shook your head at how ridiculously easy that boss now seemed to be? Again, the same it is with life. Each time, you overcome something, the next challenge will be bigger, harder to overcome. But that's ok. Between fights, you walked a little further, become a little wiser, and even beefed up a bit; all of which has prepared you to fight this fight and emerge victorious once again.

To close, I just want to encourage you in saying when hard times come, embrace them. Those times are serving to cultivate in you the strength you will need to get where you are going, and to allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor you finally enter the place of the prize.

Monday, July 27, 2015

One Step at a Time

While I realize the title of this blog is quite cliche, it still is an everyday thing that our lives are made up of. So, here goes another blog about the old cliche.

My mom and I are challenging ourselves to walk a certain distance everyday in order to be healthier and lose some not so needed weight. Each day nearer to the end of our endeavor for the day, she, my mom, begins to "huff and puff" as she calls it, and usually this is followed by an apology or disappointed comment that she is struggling to make it to her end goal. Fortunately, she doesn't end her usual line of sayings there, she continues on to say, "I just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other."

I've been thinking about that every day since. We all face difficult times, or set for ourselves a goal that seems attainable at the start, but is quickly discouraged as we begin our journey only to find out there are many seemingly overwhelming obstacles that align the path to our final destination. Anything we set our minds on, whether it be a better time or something to achieve, can be that way. We can face a tragedy and hope the healing, the feelings of despair and the agony will one day end. Or we can want to be great at something, but as we start out, we fail miserably. Or we can believe in something, and want to live by it day in and day out, but find the pressures and demands our everyday life places on us allows for anything but. All of it seems impossible to overcome.

However, there is a silver lining. As my mom said, "you just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other." That's all it takes, and eventually, you come to the place you've so longed to be. If pain and grief is present in your life, and you wonder if you will ever make it to a place of peace and happiness again, just live one day at a time, and before long, you'll find you can smile again. If you want to be great at something, but every time you try, you fail....keep trying, and with each try you'll find you can do it better than the last leading you ever closer to the mastery of your desired skill. If you want to live out your beliefs, and you find the change seems impossible, just take it one day, one moment at a time, and eventually you will look back over your life and find that you are a lot further along to being the person you desire to be.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

When Liking Just Isn't Enough

Lately I've been doing a lot of job hunting, and learning about what it takes to network and using your contacts to make more contacts, and everything else having to do with networking. So, in trying to apply newly acquired said skills, I decided to make Facebook one of those high traffic networking places. I figured, there's enough people out there on my friends list, I'm sure I'll get at least one hit. Even if that hit doesn't lead to anything, at least it'll be a lead. So I put my question out there: "Does anyone know of anyone looking to hire someone like me for their ministry?" Well, in not so many words, but the basic gist is there. Unfortunately, no one responded with any leads; I did, however, receive a lot of likes for my posted status......hmmmm, not exactly what I was going for.

While I deeply appreciate the likes, and the prayers that undoubtedly accompanied said likes, what would really have been handy, would have been a comment with someone I could connect with. Prayers are powerful and helpful, likes are encouraging, but in this instance I needed something other than those things alone.

This simple experience gave way to some profound thoughts about we as Christians doing much the same thing. How often does someone come to me asking for something he or she needs (like money, a meal, my time, etc.), and I look at them, take a deep breath, direct them on their way, waving as they go, and say as they leave that I'll be praying for them, when I have the money to give, the ability to cook a meal, time to spare, etc. How often do I turn someone away, and say I will pray, when I have to give of what they have need (Proverbs 3:28).

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And w hen did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’Matthew 25:35-40

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Along for the Ride

Have you ever been on a plane, in a car, on a boat, where you, yourself are not the one driving? During said vehicle ride, has the driver or pilot ever done something a little risky, or something that made you take that quick little gasp? I have. It usually happens when on a bus going up a tricky road, or a plane whilst going through a bit of turbulence. Those times when things seem a wee bit grim, or uncertain. However, during those times, I have to remind myself the driver knows what he or she is doing (or at least we all hope they do), and we have to trust that he or she will bring us safely to our destination. After all, they have been hired and trained to operate the heavy machinery. The company employing said driver or pilot, thought them good enough to place the lives of others in their hands, and not fear harm would come to those riding in their care.

I also find I remind myself I am not in control, they are. Really, there is nothing else I can do, but trust in their experience and training. They know what they're doing. I mean, I could complain, I could try and be a side-seat driver trying to take control without having the ability or capacity to actually take control of the moving vehicle. However, I have found that doing these things, does not put my mind, and nerves, at ease; it really only serves to make matters worse, stressing both myself and the driver/pilot out and thus making a difficult situation worse.

Sometimes, I think it's the same with us when it comes to the authority in our lives. All of us have been under a leader, parent, manager, etc. and have underestimated the knowledge and wisdom that individual, or individuals have gained over years and years in the business. We question them at each and every turn, thinking, without having the same experience and the same knowledge base, we know better than they do. We believe we are better without the same amount of discipline and training as they. This doesn't make sense. The company would not have placed them where they are if they didn't believe they had the ability to fulfill their duties well and up to standard. While I realize, companies and people are not perfect, and there are definitely exceptions to this general rule, overall, they have been given the control and we have not yet earned such control. We need to listen to, and trust those who have been given authority over us not only that their experience and lessons learned have given them what is necessary to be in the position they are in, but also that he or she will use those lessons to spur us on to bettering ourselves or the company we work for. We would be wise to learn from the successes and mistakes they have made to further our success and to avoid the same mistakes.

While authority is a great application for the wee anecdote above, I believe there might be an even better application. In accordance with the title of my blog, There's a Life Lesson in There Somewhere, this little anecdote really serves to mimic our everyday lives. The reality is, when we get onto a band wagon, or just come into this world, our lives become a part of something greater than ourselves. If we become a part of something greater than ourselves, we must then, believe in something greater than ourselves. That which is greater us, is that which controls the vehicle of our lives. We trust in it everyday. I, myself, believe that which is greater, is God. He asks that I would place the wheel of my life in His capable hands everyday. There are definitely days when I sit there and think, "God, I'm not so sure about this, are you sure you know how to drive this thing?" and lovingly, He looks at me, and says, "Have I truly, when you put me in control, let you crash and burn yet?" And the answer is: no, He hasn't. Again, so often, with my finite knowledge, and pointed view, it seemed He was taking me along an impossible road, when really He was leading me to a place flowing with milk and honey. There are also days when I attempt to take control....that never ends well. And, finally, there are days when I try to tell Him how to operate my life. I have not now, nor will I ever be able to earn the right to have such control. His way is better. He has infinitely more experience, knowledge, and wisdom than I do....I should leave the driving to Him.