Friday, February 5, 2010

The Game of Life Down Aggravation Road

“AAaarrr!” I messed up again, I heard these words muttered with frustration from one of my boys while working on some school work. I thought of how easily a little frustration, an irritation in the morning and then topped with an unmet expectation in the afternoon can easily tempt my mind soaring down Aggravation Road. I remember playing a game called Aggravation as a kid…remember the one where you try to be the first one to move your marbles from home to base and during your play, you have opportunities to aggravate your opponent. I didn’t know where this game was derived until recently being reminded of this childhood favorite; but the game is very similar to another game called “Pachisi.” Interesting, huh?
I think my son was wishing he was playing a game rather than doing his homework that afternoon. He was frustrated with the situation and himself. I sensed God nudging me to remember the rules of the game of life and what his teacher models so often in the classroom. We are not perfect and as much we may try to pretend we are; we are not! My son’s teacher models in the classroom and stages mistakes often and demonstrates accepting the mistake and trying again. When my son asked me to help him with his homework, I tried my own version of her example.
God orchestrated the moment beautifully; as I saw my son process through some more frustration—this time directed at me and I was able to say, “It’s okay, everyone makes mistakes…let me try it again.” It wasn’t long before he was trying again and finding success!
Modeling our mess ups for everyone to see is just down-right uncomfortable at times. In staging my own mistake for my son, I realized that I spend most of my time excusing away, ignoring or hiding my mistakes. Why? I think the answer is both complex and simple…but the simple answer is FEAR.
As I was thinking more about this I was reminded of people in the Bible whose mistakes are there for us to see and thought about God and what He wants us to do with our mistakes and the words “mercy not sacrifice” landed in my head. These words didn't just come from nowhere, I had read them a few days prior in God's Word and had asked God to show me what He meant by His words in Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13, and Matthew 12:7. God is so faithful to respond and answer when we ask. (Jer 33:3).
We are all screw ups, mess ups and just imperfect…even when we try sometimes to do good, Paul put some of this frustration we have into words when he wrote, “ I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do NOT do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15 emphasis added). The beauty of this journey with God is knowing that the guilt and shame from my mess ups has been washed away…if only I ask for mercy. The fixing of my mess up has already been taken care of in the life, death and resurrection of my dear sweet friend and Savior, Jesus. The substitutionary death and sacrifice that began on Mount Moriah with Abraham (Genesis 22) and during David's reign as King (2Sam 24) was foreshadowing the complete sacrifice to cover all of us…God looked upon the suffering and death of Jesus and was satisfied (Isaiah 53:11). So now God only desires from us…MERCY.
I know we don’t sacrifice things on an altar today; but I think many of us think that we still need to make things right. Even though we are not perfect; we are wired for perfection and also the desire to seek perfection...the perfection is not found in anything we can do...but in knowing Jesus. Yet, it's hard to grasp this at times; we can't hold onto guilt for very long before it begins to manifest itself in ugly ways. (That's how us parents know when are kids have done something wrong at times). Even if we aren’t consciously aware of punishing ourselves; we are tempted in our thoughts and may subconsciously tell ourselves “I keep messing up. I’m not good enough. I will never get it right. I better just stay right here where I am…I better not try for that new job because I will just fail anyway. I better not try to say something nice because it will just be misunderstood. I better not try to love them because it won’t do any good.” These are ALL LIES…and we are tempted to believe them because our hearts were wired by God to desire fixing!!!
The fixing comes not by our own doing; but in seeking, begging, and admitting that we do wrong and accept the sacrifice of Jesus. May we cry out with mercy and lean on the sacrifice made at the cross. My thoughts instantly run back to those board games of Aggravation and Pachisi (the board is pictured above)…may we run to the center of the cross. I’ll meet you there girlfriends!!!


cylie5 said...

i so admire your relationship with the savior, i so desire a faith like that. i thank you too for your words today they were just what i needed to hear. admitting my mess ups in my parenting and asking for gods mercy to heal and correct me. miss you girl. cylie:}

JGirl said...

Thanks for commenting...God is so good--so thankful He initiates it all!! May God bless all of your efforts in seeking Him. His mercy sure makes correction and healing more bearable, doesn't it?