MY JENGA TOWER

Activated - - NEWS - By Chris Mizrany

One of my fa­vorite games in­volves pulling things apart. It's a high-risk game, as no mat­ter how awe­somely you're do­ing, things can go wrong very quickly, and then it's all over.

A game of Jenga be­gins with a tower of criss­cross­ing wooden blocks stacked on top of each other, three in one di­rec­tion in each level, cov­ered by three in the al­ter­nate di­rec­tion in the next level, and so on.

Each player takes a turn re­mov­ing any block and plac­ing it at the top of the tower, con­tin­u­ing the pat­tern, un­til the tower is so weak­ened that it falls. The per­son who moves a block and causes the tower to tum­ble loses. Sim­ple and nerve-rack­ing.

When I first started play­ing, I'd usu­ally try to re­move the most struc­turally in­te­gral blocks, just to prove that I could. Some­times, I got away with my bravado.

Of­ten, my plans lit­er­ally came crash­ing down. It took me some time to get the point that the safe method of play­ing re­sulted in far more con­sis­tent wins. I learned my les­son—or did I?

Look­ing at my life to­day, it strikes me that I still tend to play with the wrong strat­egy. I stack up my tasks, plans, and needs into a tow­er­ing pile be­yond my abil­ity to man­age. And then I start by re­mov­ing the most im­por­tant blocks—start­ing with my time in prayer and in God's Word. Then my fam­ily, my sleep, my nu­tri­tion, my ex­er­cise. All the while, I tell my­self that I'm cop­ing pretty well, and my life-tower is still stand­ing. I ig­nore the warn­ings that I'm play­ing risky and I smugly trust in my abil­ity to bal­ance ev­ery­thing on an ever-weak­en­ing foun­da­tion. But it never lasts. Even­tu­ally—and of­ten at the worst pos­si­ble time—my life-tower crum­bles. But it doesn't have to be that way. Je­sus promised that who­ever builds on

“the Rock” will be safe and sound, and even counted as wise. The apos­tle Paul also ad­mon­ished that “no one can lay any foun­da­tion other than the one we al­ready have—Je­sus Christ.” His point is clear: put first things

1 first, and build your life-tower on the foun­da­tion that will sup­port it. Then keep it strong by pri­or­i­tiz­ing the parts that hold it up, and if you must trim, trim in other ar­eas. Our time is lim­ited. Each day brings plenty of chal­lenges, as well as the temp­ta­tion to let go of what we feel we can suc­ceed with­out. But Je­sus, prayer, and fel­low­ship with fel­low be­liev­ers are the things that will keep the tower of my life sta­ble.

Chris Mizrany is a mis­sion­ary, pho­tog­ra­pher, and web de­signer with Help­ing Hand in Cape Town, South Africa. ■

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