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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May 7, 2008

No Forfeit

I enjoy strategy games like Backgammon and Reversi. The goal is to out think your opponent. It's all a question of, "If I do this, then what will they do?"

To a degree, this strategy orientation has served me well in life as well as on the game board. I have the ability to plan for the future. I planned my college courses so well that as a senior I was finishing up two core classes and taking CPR and tennis! I strategized grad school too. How could I fit all of the courses in so that when it was time for my internship I wouldn't be too loaded down? It's meant saving now and playing later. It's meant knowing when to say, "Yes" to people or opportunities and when to say, "No" or "Wait."

It's meant that when needs have dictated (that I haven't planned on or strategized about) that I've had some flexibility. For example, my senior year in college, I did take a lighter load. But this was offset by the fact that my mom was terminally ill with cancer. The lighter load let me travel to be with her more.

Does strategy work with faith? It is a yes/no kind of answer. (It seems that the older I get, the more I tolerate the grey the areas of life.) It's helpful to have a strategy for growing in my walk: regular time with God (prayer, Bible reading, reflection), regular time with God's people (church on Sundays, a small group study, etc, and times with people who have been on the journey longer than I have), listening to the Holy Spirit in whatever capacity he chooses to speak to me (the still, small voice or the claps of thunder or the flowers a friend helped me plant . . .). All those things are good, maybe even great, pieces of strategy.

I play Backgammon on-line. A game is 1 point each. A match is 3 points. The goal is to win the match. Lots of times, I can tell when I am going to win or lose. If I think I am going to win, I'll send a request to double the points. This forces the opponent into accepting or rejecting the offer. (If they reject the offer, they automatically lose.) Likewise, if I'm fairly convinced I'm going to lose, I'll send an offer to forfeit that game. It drives me bananas when my opponent won't take my forfeit offer! Why waste time playing a game I can’t win?

In the game of life, I can have the best strategy in the world (at Backgammon or faith) and still come up on the losing side when I do it alone. All of the things mentioned above are great but without Christ they are just works, going through the motions. By themselves they get me nowhere. In that sense, my "strategy" isn't worth much.

I'm thankful that God has never (and never will) take me up any forfeit offer!

I am thankful that God had the ultimate, unyielding, unbending, unbeatable strategy from before the world began.

He knew I couldn't work my way into a right relationship with Him, so when He planted the Garden of Eden He also planted the cross on top a distant hill.

His strategy is that He would bear what I cannot bear and on a daily basis that I would simply come to Him (triumphant or broken, happy or sad, healthy or bruised) and let Him lift me up to places I could not (though I might think I could) ever go without Him. It's a humbling strategy for someone who relies so heavily on their own efforts. I cannot think my way or work my way to heaven. Where I might give up in despair, God says,

"There is no forfeit. You are too precious to me for that."

Questions to reflect on:

Is Jesus at the center of your life strategy?

God's Work In Progress,




This year I'm focusing on hope. I'd love for you to visit my personal blog:


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8 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

This was lovely, bless you.

May 7, 2008 at 2:26 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

Awesome :) What a good point...God bless you!

May 7, 2008 at 11:05 AM  
OpenID screamofcontinuousness said...

As a organization fanatic (control freak)...I soooo needed to hear this.

May 7, 2008 at 11:06 AM  
OpenID Julie Stiles Mills said...

"His strategy is that He would bear what I cannot bear and on a daily basis that I would simply come to Him (triumphant or broken, happy or sad, healthy or bruised) and let Him lift me up to places I could not (though I might think I could) ever go without Him. It's a humbling strategy for someone who relies so heavily on their own efforts."

WOW. This reminds me of my post, "manna from heaven. just enough. just in time." on my Pragmatic Communion blog. This week I'm dealing with the resolution of that post and finding myself giving to Him what I can't bear.

Great post.

May 7, 2008 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Amy B said...

Great post, Amy!

May 7, 2008 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I like your forfeit/win strategy. I agree that would be interesting in our lives. God, Can I forfeit this
experience?! I would rather have it another way! Thanks,Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

May 7, 2008 at 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

Great post! God Bless you.

May 7, 2008 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

Great illustration Amy. We give in to His work in our lives but He never gives up on us.

May 7, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

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