Do You Have to Come in First to Win?

competition, virtualAt the time of this writing, I’ve been doing an online, self-paced Spanish course for 270 days.

In order to move to the next level of learning I have to reach a certain ranking for the week. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to score enough points to move ahead. Too few points and I could be demoted to the previous level.

A few times I didn’t put in enough effort and barely maintained my standing. This bothered me so I now strive to remain in the top twelve.

Last week I checked my score and discovered I was in first place! It was only day one of the week so, while excited, I knew it might not last. The next morning, I had dropped to second place so spent a little longer online and regained my standing.

This is the way it continued for several days. My competitive nature had me spending more and more time each day. Sometimes I went online a second time to check my score and do another quick lesson. I wanted to finish the week as number one and get the virtual rewards that position offered.

With less than two days to go, someone surpassed me by so many points I would have to spend about three hours each day rather than my daily one hour. If I did this there was a good possibility I could win!

The voice of reason asked me what the cost would be. Time with my husband would pay the price, as would many other pleasures.

As if that weren’t bad enough, when I race through lessons, more intent on gathering points than learning, my retention diminishes. Foolish mistakes are made. Was the intent to learn the language or to come first in this level?

I listened to reason. That left time to bake muffins, go for a walk with my husband, email a childhood friend and work on a writing project. Although I didn’t finish in first place, what I spent my time on definitely made me a winner.

Rules of the Game

#Jesus, #inspiration, BibleI have happy memories of playing card games and board games. This enjoyment of games was passed on first to my children and now to my grandchildren.

Recently I pulled out a board game that had been neglected for many years. Nine year-old Emily and ten year-old Logan were excited to play a game their mom had played as a girl.

It had been so long since I’d played Big Deal that I had to learn the rules all over again. Fortunately they were printed inside the lid of the box so we had guidelines to follow. There were more rules than I remembered and it was easy to get confused and forget some of them.

We decided to start anyway and learn as we went. Many mistakes were made and I was grateful for understanding grandchildren.  They asked lots of questions and waited for me to look up the answers. The rules were always beside me and they let us know how to play and how to win.

Life also comes with a rule book.  It’s called the Bible.  Jesus came to show the joy and peace found through following God’s laws. He demonstrated how to play by the rules in order to win the prize of everlasting life.

I still sometimes struggle with or forget some of the rules. Jesus is always beside me to instruct me as I go along. He is the one who makes it possible to play by the rules and win at the game of life.

If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them. (James 1:5 GWT)