I don’t know about you but I can really get worked up playing video games. Whether it’s frustration over dying for the 372nd time or tension over getting through a tough level or even fear in facing a threatening enemy, my emotions are definitely involved. This even happened when I was playing Atari as a teenager and my character was simply a square moving about a grid that was supposed to be a castle. I suppose my vivid imagination doesn’t help.
You may think it’s crazy, but I realize that as far as I’m concerned, video games tend to imitate life – or at least my style of participation in life. When faced with a task that looks incredible and impossible, I actually can get a faster heartbeat and have to sit on the edge of my seat while I give it a try. This anticipation or fear can actually make it harder to accomplish the task at hand because I’m not thinking as clearly – I’m reacting – actually I’m flailing around hoping that by some miracle my crazed movements will accidentally slice or pop or defeat my foe. In racing games I usually just push the accelerator down all the way and try not to careen into walls and other vehicles. Braking or swerving? Nah. Using a shield to block the enemy’s blows and waiting to strike? Not my style. Sometimes I even give in and ask one of my daughters to defeat the enemy for me because it’s just too hard. If I force myself to stick with it, no matter how many times I have to try, and no matter how nervous I get and I actually WIN, I feel super! It’s awesome to do it by myself.
I behave like that in real life sometimes – flailing about ruled by emotions, not taking the time to calm myself down and think clearly, reasonably. When a really tough foe or scary situation appears, I’m tempted to say “Hey, someone else take this. I don’t think I’m up for this!”
Believe it or not, our brains our set up so that thoughts go first through our limbic system (emotional part of the brain) before they get to the frontal lobe where reasonable thought occurs. This is definitely something I will ask God about someday in heaven. If it’s hard to behave logically or effectively or safely when overcome with emotion, why do our thoughts have to go through the emotion neighborhood first??
It’s going to take intentionally stopping myself when feelings start to take over and ask God to help me really think. I want to act the way He wants me to – not just react. And, I don’t want to be afraid of the “bosses” or toughies that obstruct the way. I want and need God to give me the umption to just go for it with His help. Then to defeat them will be empowering and thrilling!
Instead of just slashing your way through life hoping to survive, stop and think “what is the best way to approach this?” or “okay, calm down and think before you do something” or “Jesus, help my thoughts get past this limbic system of mine and full throttle into that frontal lobe where some reasonable thought is supposed to happen!” There aren’t any 1 up mushrooms in real life or superstar invincible power, but God’s Spirit actually wrote the walk-through and He always wins.