Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Losing the Fight

“Mommy, you wanna watch me play?” My son is elated to have some game time after chores. He’s done everything asked of him, including letting me have a much-needed, quiet, after-church nap, and now he’s ready to play some Tekken 7.

“Only for a few minutes, Buddy.” I had a short spell of video gaming obsession in my own youth. There were Bible Adventures (not even kidding…look it up) and Goonies 2 on Nintendo that kept my brother and me busy for long hours one summer, but beyond that, I was never really into it. My son, though, like his dad, loves gaming, and while he would much rather Daddy watch him play and teach him cool special moves, he settles for me basking in his kindergarten gaming glory.

I feign interest, because quite frankly I’d rather be looking at recipes on Pinterest, and follow a few matches from start to finish. I realize how good he’s getting with his combination moves and strategy, and I see with even more clarity what he’s imitating when he is jumping, knocking over vases, and air fighting in my living room. Then there’s the running commentary. He’s narrating his moves, the moves of the other characters, and what he was trying to do when he was hit and knocked down.

Another match ends successfully when a new character is selected to challenge him. “I don’t want to fight her. I’m going to lose.” There is frustration and defeatism in his voice.

“You will never get better if you don’t fight the stronger people.”

“But she’s so hard. I don’t want to fight her. I want Daddy to come and fight her for me.”

“Hey, Buddy, think about how good it’s going to feel when you finally beat her by yourself. You have to keep trying.”

This pumps him up enough to enter the fight and give it all he’s got. He loses…again. But he doesn’t cry or throw down the game controller or turn off the game. He just moves on to the next fight.

I wonder how many times as adults we bow out of the fights of life just because a situation or opponent seems tough. I wonder how many times we get consumed by past failures and refuse to step back into the ring. I wonder how often we eagerly tackle easy feats because that’s better for our egos, never challenging ourselves to get better, never welcoming failure for the learning opportunity it really is.

Every day, God is challenging us to stay active in the fight for winning souls, for life everlasting. He’s rooting for us to heed his call and live life on purpose, not passively waiting for someone to do it for us. In fact, the someones He is waiting on is us.  And sometimes, like my son, we will do all that we have been asked to do and still lose the fight, but thank God one lost fight doesn’t deter destiny!

“Mommy, I almost beat that girl. Did you see it?”

“Yes, Buddy, I did.”

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