Recently, I got a new phone, a BlackBerry Curve, at a really good price. I was thrilled with all the things it could do that my old phone could not. Because of the keyboard, after some practice, I was able to make notes and reminders to myself. Texting is a breeze. So many things are easier now; no more little scraps of paper all at the bottom of my purse. I just input all the information on my phone and away I go. That is when technology is an advantage. There are plenty of times when technology actually makes life harder, but not so here.
The phone also came with a little video game called BrickBreaker. The goal of this game is to use a paddle at the bottom of the screen to project a ball upward. When the ball hits bricks they disappear eventually and once the screen is cleared you can go to the next level. It is great that I get to use my “Pong” skills again. The idea is to get to the higher levels while racking up as many points as possible. Simple enough.
One day I was playing and was surprisingly close to surpassing my high score, which I won’t tell you what it is because it is embarrassingly low, when it dawned on me that there was a lesson to be learned here.
You see, when certain bricks are hit by your ball, shiny little gifts float down and give you powers and extra points. Some of the gifts or prizes are extra lives, laser beams for shooting bricks, an elongated paddle, and guns with ammo. You need to place your paddle under the shiny, floaty gifts in order for them to take affect during play. But you must also be aware of where your ball is because if you miss the ball with your paddle, you lose a life and any powers you have at the time.
It was then I realized that I had shiny, floaty items in my life that make me take my eyes off my own life. For example, I spend too much time in front of the shiny box that shows moving pictures. So much time, that when I have things to do, I am usually running behind and am frazzled. If I cut my TV time, I might have more time for more important things. When I am frazzled, I tend to not be the nicest person on the planet. I am abrupt with people, insensitive and can be downright mean. This is not how Jesus wants His followers to act. Yet, it happens with me so much because I waste my valuable time with worthless pursuits.
I read books that do not nourish my spirit, shiny books that have no substance. I should be reading my Bible or other Christian books in order to prepare myself for whatever happens next on my Christian walk. The shiny books are so much easier and fun to read. I don’t have to think too much, there is always a happy ending and real life pales in comparison to all the fun and wacky adventures in the shiny books. But God’s book, the Bible, has information in it that I need to live a proper Christian life. It tells me things that I don’t want to hear about myself and the world around me. It convicts me of my sins and makes me face them head on. Although the shiny books are fun, they do not prepare me for this life or for when Jesus returns.
Even my shiny phone holds me back sometimes. I tend to text people now in lieu of talking to them. With the Internet and all the ways to “talk” to people without really talking, I have started to become more and more hermit-like. The idea of talking to someone sends chills up my spine as if I forgot how to do it.
I realized that day, playing BrickBreaker, that I was so intent on grabbing the shiny, floaty prizes that my life was slipping away without a chance for other ones to be earned on the next level. This is the only one we get, here anyway, and I have spent a good amount of time chasing the shiny items and not wanting the real substance that human souls need for nourishment. I have been surviving on sugar-coated cereal when what I needed was some serious bran flakes (I am sure you can see my analogy without details). I need my spiritual system cleaned out and the shiny bits just don’t do that, in fact, they tend to add to the clogging factor.
All the time I have spent fighting the bricks on my game, nothing has been accomplished. No people where helped, no wars averted, no diseases cured, not that I could do any of those things at all. The only thing I have to show from my game playing is a lot of wasted time. Time that could have been spent doing the Lord’s work.
So where do I go from here? I try to wean myself off the shiny diet I am so used to consuming. Try to budget my time better so I can help others while I simply try to become more like Jesus and less like me. I feel withdrawal setting in already as I have filled my life with the shiny, floaty things but that is not to say that I can’t pray for strength and commitment because I have God’s word that He will give me what I need to do His will. I need to put down the shiny prizes and look for the real prize, the only prize that matters and that is to be a true child of God. He has a kingdom waiting for me and you too. We just need to focus on Him and not the world. It will be easier some days than others, but the key to this race is to be slow and steady and focused on the road not distracted by what is going on elsewhere.
Inspiration comes from the most unusual places. I hope you find inspiration today from a source you had not considered. That inspiration seems to be the best learned. Hope to see you at the finish line! Good luck to you!