When Life Looks a Bit Like a Kid's Game-in-a-Box

I can't say I'm a big board game aficionado.  I tend to get competitive and obnoxious, much to the annoyance of those unfortunate enough to be sitting 'round the table with me.

Yet for some reason, I've always loved Chutes and Ladders.  Ever since I was little, I've really gotten into zipping up those big tall ladders, flying right past my opponents, and getting nearer to my goal of jumping onto that final golden square marked 100.

Yippee!  Happy Dance! Yay!  Go, Me!

Like I said, competitive.  Obnoxious.

But along the way, my heart often ends up dropping like a stone.  My attitude takes a sudden, negative lurch for the worse as I encounter a bad spin or two, land on a chute or three, and slide right on down a few rows ... or crash-land back on square one right where I started from.

Wind out of my sails, I feel a bit like a loser, especially as the other players soar closer and closer to that magic golden square where 100 reigns supreme.  It's easy to get kind of quiet as disappointment and self-pity begin to pool.  Pouting easily becomes the name of the game when square 1 is closer than square 100.

Life's like that.  We keep on moving ahead, one spin at a time.  Sometimes we get the big numbers and careen forward at breakneck speed, a confident smile on our faces, hair flying in the wind.

And then, often out of nowhere, things change drastically.  We begin to crawl forward oh-so-slowly ... or take a harrowing collision course way back down the hill, hoping against hope we don't completely crash and burn as things slide completely out of control.

Truth be told, you and I may have reached a pinnacle or two along the way.  And who hasn't hit bottom more than once? But whether we're climbing high with our heads in the clouds or sloshing around the dregs at the bottom, what matters is the perspective that we embrace.

Writer Sarah Young reflects, 'If you encounter a problem with no immediate solution, your response to that situation will take you either up or down.  You can lash out at the difficulty, resenting it and feeling sorry for yourself.  This will take you down into a pit of self-pity.'

Alternatively, the challenge can be a ladder, an invitation of sorts that enables you to climb high and see your life from God's perspective ... and maybe choose some options or solutions that you hadn't thought of before.  Viewed from above, the obstacle that frustrated you is only 'a light and momentary trouble' {2 Corinthians 4} that might actually turn out to be a sweet grace in disguise.

Often, it's just plain easier to throw up our hands, sit back, let life happen, and go nowhere.  Or head backwards, slowly but surely.  Hauling ourselves up the ladder takes focused energy and ongoing effort that we can't drum up without the gracious help from our Heavenly Father.

Yet, if we want to claim His rich, wise, eternity-in-view perspective, we have no other choice but to humble ourselves, seek His face, and ask Him to lead the way upward and onward, one faltering step at a time.

The chute or the ladder?  Where does today find you?


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