Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Follow the Bouncy Ball

Our school district made the decision to issue iPads to all the 7th graders this year to use for school work.  Good-bye “Mom, I left my History book at home!” calls, and Hello “my child is ALWAYS on that iPad.”  I wish I could say that ChellBell only uses the iPad for school-related activities, but looking at her folders, she is getting plenty of use playing all kinds of games. 

One of her favorite games these days is Bouncy Ball, where you bounce the ball certain ways and navigate through a maze and get to the finish line.  I don’t get it – it has no appeal to me – but she is completely absorbed.  Or was completely absorbed, until she got to level 34. 

Up through Level 33, Chell was pretty good at whatever Bouncy Ball techniques were required to nail each level and move on.  She mastered the ball-bouncing-and-maneuvering tricks and quickly moved from level to level. 

But Level 34 seemed to be a different (bouncy) ball of wax.  She struggled to get that ball to bounce high enough at the right time, time after time.  I saw more frustration from her than any school-related assignment has caused her this year, and I swear she would have thrown her iPad across the room last week if I had not intervened.

Being in seventh grade, and seventh grade being, well, the one year most of us would never want to revisit, has challenges of its own.  Chell and I were talking about some of those challenges and frustrations yesterday.  I reminded her that God allows us to have challenges in our lives because that’s how we learn the lessons He needs us to learn.  How He makes us stronger.  How He makes us more like Him.  And then we take those new-found skills and life-lessons  into the next set of challenges we face.

Life is kind of like Bouncy Ball.  Really.  Sometimes we coast, and we master the challenges with ease and think, “Oh, this life thing isn’t so difficult!” And then we hit level 34, or the seventh grade, or a new work situation, or new challenges in our marriage, and every technique we used to get us through before just won’t work.  And we get frustrated and want someone to fix it – or let us skip this level – or whatever we can do to make it end. 

But to get to the next level, we have to master the challenge in front of us, work through the problems to find the solution, evolve, change, grow up  – whatever is needed -- until we “get it”.  Face the challenges head on, learn the lessons, become a stronger person (or a more humble person, or a better friend, or a better communicator) until we master this level. 

So stop seeing your challenge as a frustration or a road block.  See it as a level for you to master, a time to learn more about yourself, who God is, who He wants to be in your life, and what He wants to do through you.  And look forward to mastering this level so you can move on.

One bouncy ball at a time.

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