I was reminded of this fact last weekend as my brothers-in-law came to visit. They brought along their XBOX and we played a few rounds of Madden and Fifa. Although I put a few touchdowns and goals on the board by accident, I got schooled by my younger competitors.
You see video games have never been my thing.
Sure, I loved playing my Super Nintendo and Playstation as a kid. But I was never really good at any of the games. Most nights playing video games I’d go to bed angry.
Confession time: In high school I broke 3 Playstation controllers out of rage. There was a period where I was traveling to Best Buy every few months to get a new controller after I had slammed or tossed one of them due to a particularly difficult challenge on “Crash Bandicoot” or “Resident Evil 2”. (I also kicked the door in on my entertainment center one time. #AngerManagement)
It was in part due to my anger issues that I essentially retired from gaming in college. I haven’t owned a new system since I got a PS2 for Christmas back in the early 2000s.
Now, I will occasionally break out my SNES or N64 for some rounds of “Mario Kart or “WWF No Mercy” with a group of friends. And I played a good amount of “Rock Band and “XBOX Kinect” with my youth group kids.
Even then though I had to hold back my temper when I’d screw something up in front of my students. Video games and I just don’t get along.
As a child of the 80s I keep thinking video game skills should be ingrained in my blood. It doesn’t make sense to me why I can’t seem to ever get good at them. I have such a hard time forgiving myself when I fail at them.
Why does something so trivial and fake frustrate me so much?
The truth is most of our frustrations in life are fake. Most of our worries are unfounded.
We all get frustrated by fake things – things that should not matter to us but end up causing us consternation. We all have our stumbling blocks and sins which pop up time and time again.
Each time we fail at a challenge in life we end up getting mad at ourselves. Many of us respond the same way I do when I fail at a video game: we get angry. We want to break something. No matter what difficulty level we’re on we assume we’re going to have start back at the beginning when we screw one thing up.
Deep within our hearts we know that ultimately that our failures don’t matter to God. There’s no reason to get upset with ourselves when God has already shown us grace.
Still we get upset when we can’t keep our weaknesses in check. We want to run and turn the game off because we got tripped up by something we should have seen coming.
Here’s the good news: there is grace for every gamer.
The great thing about video games is they have grace built in. If you die playing “Pac-Man” you can just press the reset button and start over.
The game won’t remember your past mistakes. It won’t penalize you for them. You can have a fresh start. You can pick up right where you left off.
The same happens with God. No matter how many times we’ve failed, no matter how many times we’ve stumbled over the same mistake, God shows us grace. He picks us up from where we fell of the path and puts us right back where we were.
Despite what let ourselves think, God does not penalize us for our past. So why should we punish ourselves?
The next time you fail at life and you want to smash something out of anger, step back for a moment. Breathe. Hit the reset button. There’s no shame – that’s what it’s there for.
Travel back into your memory and remember your save point. Then get back in the game. You never know. This might just be the time when you actually beat it.
Show yourself the same kind of grace a video game does.
What’s something fake that sets off your anger? How can you show yourself “video game grace” for your failures today?