For our Thanksgiving trip to Memphis, I downloaded a couple of games for the kids to enjoy if the audio books, movies, or activity books were wearing thin. It takes roughly 48 hours to get to Memphis and back. I tried to download games that had a little academics as well as fun. The games I downloaded were "Contraptions" and "Train Conductor". I ended up splitting my time between knitting and playing the video games while listening to movies or audio tapes or silence (which is golden by the way). If you are interested, we listened to Focus on the Family Radio Theater presentation of _Ben Hur_ and _At the Back of the North Wind_ and an audio book of _The Titan's Curse_ by Rick Riordan. All were excellent and well done.
During the drive, I became addicted to "Train Conductor." It is a game where you have three to five train tracks and you have to move numbered trains to the matching track number. This sounds so simple and yet, when you get to the two hardest levels, you have trains coming out constantly, going in opposite directions on the same tracks going to other tracks. The worst situation is when you have moved a train to the right track and within seconds of getting to its destination, another train comes out on the same side and the same track and they crash. Crashing ends the game. After a while, I would have to quit because I became so frustrated at it. How in the world do the creators expect me to be able to get all the trains on the right line when so many of them are going to the same track in opposite directions and there is no rest?
Then, I realized that some of my frustrations coming out in the game were in realizing that in real life, I was trying to keep my own set of trains and tracks going, sometimes at cross purposes. Housework, hobbies, homeschooling and Christmas holiday traditions of his family, my family and ours. All this adds up to having the spirit of perfectionism, which is pride in action as well as attitude. What if I just let some of those trains go on the wrong tracks? In the game, I would lose points but maybe avoid a crash. In life, I would probably be a bit more relaxed and able to enjoy my family more and my home more. I might be less critical of myself and those around me. Would you consider that "bonus points?" I would. As an double bonus, as I was contemplating this, I heard God telling me that some of the tracks that I am trying to manage were not given to me by Him because his "yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:20)."
Wow. What a great Christmas present--rest and peace and joy. Wait a minute, isn't that what Jesus came to do in the first place? Why do I have to keep re-learning the same lesson over and over again? Oh, wait--its because I am human and humans have been suffering from major memory loss problems ever since sin took root. The irony is that I have been reading and re-reading Romans 3 & 4 a LOT lately to soak in "the basics", which speak about the righteousness that I have by my faith through the free gift of God's grace carried out by Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection. There is nothing I can do to either lose my salvation or to ensure it. Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
So what am I going to do with this newly re-discovered knowledge? Check my schedule with God more. Laugh more and be thankful for all of God's blessings, like my kids, my husband, "toys", and the gift of laughter. Thank Him also for having a sense of humor that He demonstrates in so many ways. Laugh when my trains crash in the game. Laugh at the fact that it took two weekends to fully put up the tree and decorate the house. Laugh at the fact that I need to purge my home every three months of "precious" stuff my kids have collected that fills their beds, their closets, every spare surface of the house, and every drawer. Laugh when my washing machine decides to take a holiday break. Laugh at the undone "whatevers" that I had planned to do. Laugh with my kids and my husband at all the fart jokes that come up at the dinner table and maybe make up a few of my own. Which brings up another question in my mind: Did Jesus ever tell fart jokes at the dinner table when he was growing up?
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. --Isaiah 9: 2 - 6