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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Life's Play Book

It may just be me, but have you ever watched a good movie or television show involving relationships, and find yourself amazed at how the individuals know exactly what to say and how to say it to make everything work out before the end of the show?  Sometimes I wish I had a team of writers who would know what is going to happen in my life and my relationships and could simply hand me a script with all the right things to say and do to make all my relationships perfect so that everything is happily ever after. 

Real life, though…

Well, real life is messy.  Personal relationships do not follow a script.  People don’t always respond in the ways we might think they are supposed to, and odds are, we don’t always either!  Plans go awry.  People change and can be unpredictable.  Disappointments come.  Sometimes things just don’t work out.  And one of the results is divorce.

That is also why no parenting or marriage book is the last word…because children and spouses don’t always follow a script as easily as the books sometimes imply.  It is better to see them as resources filled with good ideas to try and to adapt as you develop your own personal relationships.  Some ideas will fit and work, some will be dismally useless in your situation.

I see this mentality elsewhere in our society.  I see lots of people, mainly young people, who love to play computer and other video games…I’m sure you know the names of a multitude of them.  What I have noticed is that, very often when they come to a part that is complicated that they cannot figure out, they resort to surfing the internet to find something called “cheat codes” that tells them how to jump ahead without having to figure it out or struggle through it on their own.   People just want answers to the hard challenges we face in life, and we want somebody to just give them to us.  “Give me a script.  Let me look up the codes.  It is all just too complicated!”

The truth is, life is rarely what we anticipate it is going to be.  Becoming an adult is far different from the imaginations of childhood.  Raising children doesn’t always end up with the results we hope for.  Career tracks sometimes get stalled.  Marriages fall apart.  But let us not forget also, that some things turn out much better than expected.  Whether things go well or poorly is not the point, rather, it is that the twists and turns of life rarely follow the scripts we write, and there aren’t often simple codes we can automatically plug in and make everything work.

I have been in plenty of situations that have left me confused or uncertain, and had many times it would have been nice to have a play book I could refer to that would lay out all the options with the best choice highlighted and underlined.  Instead, like everybody else, I have to make the best choices I can with the knowledge that I have, and sometimes those choices might even be mistakes.  Then, after I have made my choice, others will make their choices as well, not following a clear script either, and sometimes that all gets messy and jumbled up.  This is why forgiveness and understanding are so important.  It is also why we need second chances sometimes.  

Let me add though, that there is a script, and overall script that is the plan of God, and a “code book” we can turn to for some overall guidance in life.  

You see, God is always moving things into our lives and working in ways we can’t always see in our limited understanding.  Unlike the actors who have the entire detailed script in hand, with all the props and staging neatly described, we have the outline, and know the end story.  The chapters that make up our lives, we experience much like the individual who watches the move…one scene at a time.  The scriptures provide some structure within which we can operate best if we take the time to search them and follow the directions provided.  

Most of the time, though, we simply must trust the One who is the stage designer and director, to guide us through life’s winding pathways to the ultimate outcome of eternity with Him.

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