I play Candy Crush.
It sounds like something you’d say at a recovery-type meeting. Perhaps it is. A friend introduced me to it some 3 years ago talking about how she was so addicted to it– I already knew about the game, but had no interest. However, one day I happened to be looking for some entertainment… and well.. the rest is history.
Typically I play when I’m shutting down my brain for the day or some other time when I just need a quick break.
The levels tend to be one of a few types. One is that I have to score a certain amount of points with only a few moves. In other levels, I have to move certain “ingredients” to a certain spot before running out of moves. In others, I have to clear spaces. And finally, some levels are timed.
Though it always gives you a brief description of what your goal is before going into the level, it’s fairly recognizable by the pattern of the board. Sometimes I don’t even pay attention to that pop-up because I’m too eager to play.
There have been a number of times that I’ve been half-way through the game before I even realize what it is that I’m supposed to be doing. I either unconsciously click through the screen or just totally ignore the pop-up thinking that I will know what I am doing. I am deceived by the layout of the board into thinking that I have to accomplish one task when really it’s something else I’m supposed to do. I think the game creators do this on purpose. Wait… why didn’t I win that level?? OOOOHhhhhhh….
Other times, I’ve already zoned out and am just moving through the game. Again, I’m far into it before even comprehending what my task is. This one tends to embarrass me, even though no one else knows.
And other times, I’m tempted to create powerful combos just because I like the big explosions and points that it gains me. But it doesn’t necessarily help my game, and I know this. It just looks good.
Recognizing these patterns of mine in a stupid game, I’ve come to wonder about if and how I do these things in real life.
To begin with, I think it’s always important to know what the task is that we are supposed to be accomplishing. I think you could take this on many levels. With our daily Christian life, perhaps God is wanting us to learn the lesson of patience. And if we aren’t careful in listening to Him and paying attention to the goal of His growing us more into His image, then we may just repeat the round a number of times without ever become proficient. Again, this could go toward anything, I think.
But really, I’ve be thinking about this in regards to ministry and mission.
I could flesh this out a lot, but here are my main thoughts:
First, it’s important that I (and every believer) know what my purpose and task is and to move intentionally toward that goal. With that in mind, it’s important to read the Word to see what His task says (and it’s clearly spelled out from cover to cover) and to hear specifically from the Lord as to His specific moves He wants us to make. We are all in the game.
If I don’t do that, I waste so much time and effort and might even find myself embarrassed to not even be aware of what I was supposed to have been doing.
Second- but related- I need to be careful… very, very careful… not to rely on my own wisdom and sight to assume I know what needs to be accomplished in a certain situation or task. I like that David in the OT often sought the Lord– should I do this or should I not? Again, if I’m not careful in this area, not only will I have simple human results, but I will waste time, energy and effort by moving forward in my own strength. And I do think that’s the enemy’s tactic. “Oh, you know how to solve this problem. You know how to do it.” Yes, the Lord gives us wisdom, but I want to live thinking that I’m never wise enough to just tackle things without the Lord’s input.
Third, I never want to get into a comfort zone of ministry. Yes, comfort always feels good. But I rarely move forward when I’m comfortable. I can avoid this by striving to pursue the Lord more and more. I started to write “by maintaining an attitude of pursuing the Lord” but even maintaining (in this sense, in this particular example) is a sort of comfort. How can I draw closer to God? How can I have that closer relationship with Him? That is the source, the power, the flow for any ministry that will come out.
And fourth, I want to be careful not to “create power moves” for no other purpose that it looks good. For me, this means getting busy with things that look good (or others are doing them too) or things that I particularly like/enjoy instead of maintaining my straight-ahead goal. Sometimes it means not doing things super fancy-schmancy just because that looks good. Many times, it’s better to be simple, unless it is going to serve a purpose. It also means prioritizing.
This is on my mind a lot as we are in the middle of a move in ministry. We’ll be pursuing the same goal, but our methods may look different this time. And there are LOTS of opportunities, but which ones are going to further the goals and which ones are just going to fill my schedule?
It’s super important for us to be strategic right now. And if we can keep the main things the main things, and correctly equip and encourage and train others, momentum can be gained. Momentum is not the purpose. Giving God glory by fulfilling the task He’s given us specifically, and helping the believers here to give glory to God by fulfilling their tasks– that is the purpose. But momentum will help us on the road… so long as we don’t get distracted and keep the main things the main things.
So. Those are my thoughts. Thank you Candy Crush. Though some would call you a time-waster, you were a tool to sharpen my focus.
On to the next level.