My wife regularly plays Words with Friends (WWF) since one of my daughters convinced her to play over a year and a half ago. She now has several games going at a time with various family members. She even ventures into the WWF world and finds other people to challenge. And she is very successful winning over 75% of the games she plays.
So as a good husband I decided to sign up and play a few games with her. I always thought my grasp of the English, actually American language, was pretty good. Well, as of today, playing only against my wife, my record is still perfect. 0 and 53! It is not so much that I do not try. She is just better.
There is one aspect of the game that frustrates me. When I try a word that I have never heard before sometimes I am told that it is not a valid word. That I understand though I sometimes argue with the game. But then occasionally I read the following. “Valid WWF word – no definition.” What? How can there be a word, valid only in this game, without a definition! It is like WWF is creating its own reality.
I am familiar with that practice. Especially during my active alcoholism, I needed my own reality. While the word denial may be a blanket description of my life practice of that time, I find it hard to get to the particulars when that word is imposed. When someone tells me I am in denial, I hear “Stop talking. Whatever else you say is wrong anyway!”
My drinking reality: There was once a pretty good guy by the name of John. Most other people also thought he was just great. He lived with his family of a wife and three kids in apartment after apartment all because of unfair landlords. While John did not work much, he always did a wonderful job of babysitting his children. So well, in fact, that he could take naps ever so often to maintain his energy to continue the excellent job he was doing with the kids.
Of course, to be able to babysit at such a high level, John needed to relieve the stress with a few drinks each day. On certain days there was the need for an increased dose to enable him to keep just the perfect edge. Of course, the amount of alcohol intake was always measured and well with his ability to control. The other problems that existed in his life were truly caused by others and no fault could be found in John.
Shortage of money meant high inflation or his wife was underpaid. Not enough food? John knew his kids ate too much or not enough coupons were used. Missed appointments? Obviously John was misinformed about the schedule. Yes sir, John was a pretty nice guy and anyone who thought any different obviously did not listen to his description of himself.
The actual reality: I was an active alcoholic who fought desperately to control my emotions, my life and everyone around me to continue the drinking. The more I drank, the more the feeling of the need for increased drinking grew. My wife carried the financial, emotional and child rearing responsibilities. She faced the realities of life, I avoided them and made up my own. Only by God’s grace our family was not damaged beyond repair.
I am not saying that a person cannot build their own reality in healthy ways. The family you build, the career path you choose, the relationships you build are all realities that are part of and in fact make up our lives. The problems come when we refuse to see the truth about our world and ourselves and live in ignorance, purposely chosen or not. That reality then becomes harmful to not only ourselves, but those around us. Without real truth in our lives, the reality in which we live can only lead to a pain and disappointment.
There is one truth that is everyone’s reality. Part of that reality is no matter what we do, how we live or how much recovery we experience, we fall short of what God demands – perfection. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23. Some run from that reality by discounting the Truth of the Bible. Others are driven to live up to a standard they cannot match. Still other people insist that a loving God would never demand perfection, rather he is willing to overlook our shortcomings until we get it right.
However, God is perfect and perfectly just. He cannot go back on his own words. But he also knows the humans he created so well and loves us so much that he followed verse 23 in the book of Romans with verse 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
That is the rest of the reality. When God looks at us he sees the perfect life of Jesus. When we walk outside of the perfection that is demanded, Jesus pleads our case with the forgiveness that comes to us because of the price he paid on the cross. That is grace – a reality I cannot afford to ignore. It is a reality that needs to be mine. And by the faith that comes through the Bible, it is my reality.
Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it’s a miracle
It’s nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace
Call it grace (Unspoken 2014)
The realities of our lives can change. Neither of the realities I shared above are true anymore. With my age the reality of my life will change again. As long as we are alive on earth that is the true reality.
One reality that will not change is my need for a Savior. Jesus is that reality and I am ever so thankful for that. It is a reality I cannot afford to mess with.
I will continue my journey through God’s world with the reality that is mine through his grace. Come on back to see what is in store for me and my family. I will wait you.
2 comments on “Which Reality?”
I appreciate your gospel-centered messages. It’s so easy for the law to take over in our lives, we need constant contact with the good news of God’s free and abundant love for us in Jesus! Thanks for helping with that.
Thanks for the encouragement. It is not too hard to use the gospel once I realized how much I need it in my life.