Video Games and Spiritual Maturity

img_0041I love a good Mario Kart race!  I’m not good at it, but it’s fun to race my character through hairpin turns, avoid the obstacles that try to knock me off course, and honestly – just stay on the track!

When our (now adult) kids were at home, they would spend hours playing video games – and unlock all the game levels that were too hard for me.  So even though I really only knew how to navigate the easy races, I could go visit (and attempt to play) levels that were way too hard for me, levels that I would never be able to master without playing hours and hours of video games – time which I just wasn’t willing to invest.

The result?  I was in WAY over my head because I hadn’t developed the gaming skills required to face the challenges of the new level.

I was thinking today about some of the people in my life that demonstrate spiritual maturity.  I want what they have – patience, compassion, lives of service without expecting anything in return, generous with their time, talents and treasures. I want to be more like that!  That kind of maturity takes an intentional, disciplined investment – time in prayer, studying God’s word, actually doing what the bible says in my life.

And just like my video game experience, I don’t always put in the time required to develop an intimate, growing relationship with Jesus.  The result?  I sometimes find myself in WAY over my head because I haven’t developed the spiritual skills and maturity required to navigate the challenges of life.

Patience and compassion don’t come because we want them, they become part of our character as we choose to pursue them – seeking God’s way in difficult situations and asking for His power to change our hearts and minds as we try to demonstrate them in one situation at a time. Lives of service and humility come from understanding God’s amazing grace and our own sin, and choosing to lay down our lives in submission to Him every moment of every day.

There is no magic wand, and no shortcut to the next level without mastering the one we’re already on first.  It’s through the daily pursuit of God – time intentionally spent in the bible and time with God in prayer, that we become mature – and  learn how to navigate through life’s difficult turns, avoid the obstacles that try to knock us off course, and stay on track!

The Amazing Jiggling Woman

I can’t believe I’m sharing this with anyone … but yesterday while I was driving down a rough patch of the freeway, the skin on my forearms jiggled.  I’m not talking about the “wing jiggle” of the upper arm that makes most of us 50-something gals stop going sleeveless.  I’m talking about that innocent, and so far unremarkable part of my arm between my wrist and my elbow.

My first response was laughter (yep, right out loud by myself in the car) – then horror.

When did I get “old lady skin”?  Was it about the same time as I started seeing little strands of silver hair in the mirror?  Or when I looked at my bill at the restaurant to see that the waitress had given me the Senior’s Discount?  Honestly, I don’t feel old – but the arm-jiggling is a dead give away!

It got me thinking about getting older… and my half-full way of thinking about things made me wonder if there might be any good things in getting older that offset the “jiggly” things?

Here’s my short list of good things about being 50-something:

  • I am more certain than ever of God’s amazing, merciful, unending and unconditional love for me. That puts everything else into proper perspective.
  • Although I’m happy to share what I think, a discussion of ideas is seldom as personal and dramatic as it was in younger times. And I’m far less concerned if people think I’m right!
  • There are few things as sweet as time and laughter with a girlfriend.
  • I love my grandchildren dearly, and am absolutely willing to risk the wrath of their parents in order to spoil them. (Note: this applies generally to other people’s grandchildren, too!)
  • There is little room in my life for drama. I like to get right to the heart of things and then move on.
  • When I look into the eyes of another woman in pain, I want to make sure she knows someone has seen and cares. And mostly that God sees and cares.
  • Next to God, my husband is my absolute love and delight and I hope everyone knows it!

Although this whole thing started with a little forearm jiggle, I’m glad for the chance to think about some of the great things in my life!  Instead of being worried about this new jiggling problem, I think I’ll just keep laughing!

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime- until your hair is white with age.  I made you, and I will care for you.  I will carry you along and save you.” – Isaiah 46:4