Do you have a vice?
"Sheri, we just came through Lent! We were supposed to give up our vices."
Yes, I'm aware. But I have a story about a vice that I think will be encouraging.
Important Side Note: I just looked up the definition for "vice" and found I was using it improperly. Free Dictionary, "A practice or habit considered to be evil, degrading or immoral."
I guess I was leaning more toward definition #3. "A slight personal failing; foible. An imperfection." Whew! Glad we cleared that up!
So, moving on. The little imperfection to which I'm referring is that of playing solitaire on my phone. It's a wonderfully mindless activity that doesn't allow my brain to wander around aimlessly whenever I take a much needed break.
I've shared with you before how I've put roadblocks up to keep this activity from stealing time. I'm allowed a maximum of three short games in a row; taking no more than ten minutes. No more than three times in a single day.
Believe it or not, I have a counter on my phone that keeps me accountable to this commitment. So it really doesn't qualify for the #1 definition of vice from Free Dictionary.
Back to the point of the post.
I most often play the Medium difficulty games. Once Frank taught me the rudiments of solitaire, I quickly discovered the Easy category didn't provide enough of a challenge. The Hard category is definitely challenging but requires full attention, totally negating the purpose of mindless activity.
So Medium is juuussst right! (Did you hear the voice of Goldilocks from the Three Bears?)
There's another issue also makes it attractive. The attention-getting statement on my game goes like this: "Easy and Medium games are always winnable. Hard games may or may not be winnable."
Having that one little tidbit of information has been a game changer for me. Literally!
No matter how challenging the game may be, I know the computer that set it up has also created a strategy for winning the game. There is no question about it. This game CAN Be Won!
Consequently, I have never abandoned a single game in the four years I've been playing on this phone. (The accountability counter I mentioned earlier can attest to this truth.)
Why abandon a game that can be won?
There is a little button entitled the "Undo" button. It allows you to start over when a game gets perplexing. Please understand, some games I've had to leave and come back to time and again. A few, I've handed over to Frank asking for his expert help. One had me stumped for almost a week.
There is also this ridiculous caution sign with an exclamation point that appears when you've run out of options for a game. If you can't come up with a solution, you have to start tapping the undo button until every card has returned to its original state and begin again from the very beginning.
Either that or abandon the game. And we've already established my response to the abandoning option.
When the caution sign pops up signaling no more available plays, I must make a choice. It's humbling. Sometimes annoying. Often irritating. But always I hear that little promise running through my head, "This game is winnable!"
So back I trudge to the starting line and try yet again.
I've come to look at that silly game as an example of life in general. Often, we hit major snags along our journey. Difficulties make it appear we have no available options for a good outcome in this situation.
But remember! The constant promise we have is that the One who created us also sees a way out of our dilemma. There is a viable solution if we just keep looking.
Some struggles can keep us stumped a long time. Often we must seek out the help of a friend with more experience. We may even have to trudge right back to the starting line and begin all over again in order to find success. But it's worth the effort.
Don't allow darkness to convince you to abandon your intended goal. This game of life is winnable.
A promise I often rehearse for myself is found in Jeremiah 29:11 which says in part, "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for hope and a future."
In layman's terms - it's winnable!
How about you? Any lessons learned from your definition #3 vices? We'd love to learn too - just leave a comment below.......