I have a small confession to make … I’m a little bit addicted to a certain online game called, Bejeweled Blitz. Ok, ok … a lot addicted! Stop with the guilt already!
In case you’re not aware of this gaming phenomenon, players make lines of three matching gems by swapping gems with adjacent gems. When a match is made, the matched gems disappear and more gems fall into the board from above. You can spend coins you’ve earned for boosts when you need an advantage. It’s a fast-moving, addictive game complete with bonus points, sounds, sirens and a robotic voice encouraging you along the way by saying things like, “Spectacular!” and “Outstanding!” Hey who doesn’t need a word of encouragement from time to time?
It’s silly, I know, but there are worse addictions. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t play it for hours on end mind you; usually it’s only for a few minutes each day right before I get to work. It helps to free my mind and ready it for work. And on those occasions when I’m working on a particularly difficult writing project and I find myself stuck on something, I feel the need to step away from the project and empty my brain of plot twists and snarky dialogue and succumb to the banality of the game.
I justify my addiction with the reasoning that it just makes good sense to play brain games regularly. It’s imperative after all for a woman my age to keep the mind sharp and be proactive in battling dementia and Alzheimer’s. Right?
The thing about Bejeweled Blitz is that the faster you play, the quicker the gem pieces move. Once you reach a certain speed level, the board itself starts making this sizzling noise, like you’re game is so hot it’s on fire! There are times when I’m playing masterfully, impressing even myself with lightning quick moves and that danged sizzling noise starts. I freeze up unable to go forward; in a panic because I know at any moment a potential wrong move will cost me a super speed point bonus. That sizzling noise is just added pressure … oh the stress of it!
I started thinking about how that sizzling quick game could be a metaphor for life. I know for me when I’m under tremendous pressure and bombarded with life stress it’s easy to panic and freeze up – unable to move forward. There’s always that threat of making a wrong move or a wrong decision that could become costly. The difference between life and a puzzle game though is in a game all you’re sacrificing are points in a game. Bad decisions in life can be disastrous and affect innocent people.
When I make a mistake in Bejeweled Blitz I simply finish the game and either begin a new one or quit altogether. When we make a wrong move in life, the options aren’t always as clear cut.
When I’m stressed with life, I know I have a couple of sure-fire options that will help me navigate my way through the challenges. For me that means getting alone with God and spending some time in prayer and in God’s word. That much needed quiet time becomes a necessity for hearing that still small voice in my Spirit.
When life starts sizzling around me and I’m out of moves – I look to Jesus to give me the boost I need!
Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world. ~Anso Coetzer
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 (NIV)