I started thinking as I was walking to my car yesterday afternoon about how I wish life could be like some of the games I play. For instance, let’s look at the game Castle Age on Facebook. There are certain tasks that I do daily (fight monsters, do quests, send gifts, etc) that keep me advancing in the game, and by doing those tasks I see my character grow each day. He gains more experience, strength, stamina, energy and money, which allow me to do even more the next day. Currently I’m a level 46, but I have a friend who is a level 161, so I still have plenty of room for advancement. What I was really wishing was that I could see myself growing every day like I can see my character in the game growing. In the game I get paid hourly, but in real life I get paid monthly. It makes it hard to see daily advancement in my finances when I only get one check each month. It did get me thinking though, and I started to wonder about whether or not it would be possible to see daily advancement in other areas of my life, and how could I do that? That’s when it hit me. If I want to see myself advance and grow in different areas of my life every day, then just like my character in Castle Age, there are certain daily tasks I have to do. I am going to take a look at 5 areas of advancement in this post, and the things I can do every day to advance in those areas.
This can be one of the easiest areas to advance in, yet for most people it can also be the hardest. It should be easy because as a Christian I should make it my number one priority to become more like Jesus, but it’s hard because I very seldom make it my number one priority. I tend to think that making money, relaxing, and even spending time with friends and family is more important than growing in my relationship with God, yet those things are not as important. God is the one who provides the leadership and direction for every other area in my life, so it is of the utmost importance that I make time to advance in the spiritual area of my life. So what daily tasks to I need to do? First of all I must spend time reading the Bible. The translation doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t matter if it’s big, small, or even on my phone, I have to have reading time every day, and the earlier in the day, the better. The bible is one of the ways God communicates to us, and we also learn more about him through it, so reading it is important. Also, we have to communicate back to God through something called prayer. We need to constantly talk to him throughout our day, as well as have special times set aside where all we do is focus on him. Some people might think of those times as “meditation,” but really all you are doing is spending time alone with your Heavenly Daddy. You can also spend time doing other things like reading commentaries, listening to sermons, listening to or singing praise music, and a variety of other things, and those are all good, but in order to advance, you must be in the word and communicating with God daily!
Well, I might actually be more concerned with losing weight than building my strength right now, but don’t we all want to be at least a little stronger than we are right now? I know most men probably do. So what daily tasks can we do to get stronger? To put it in the simplest terms, we have to use our muscles. You could do a workout, eat more protein, and start taking supplements, but when you really get down to it, all you have to do is use your muscles. The more you use your muscles, the stronger they will get. If you want to be able to lift heavier stuff, you need to start lifting things every day. A gym might make this sort of thing easier by providing you with more options and an actual workout, but you don’t have to do that. Find something heavy, and lift it. If you want to make some other muscle stronger, learn about that muscle, and use it. NOTE: TV does not help any of your muscles get stronger.
Is your brain a muscle or is it a big glob of goo? Regardless, if you want to become smarter, you need to follow the same technique you would with building muscle. Use your brain. In order to increase your knowledge, you need to learn stuff. This could be as simple as learning a new word every day, or as complex as reading a book every day. The most important thing is to find something that stimulates your brain, or something that you are excited about, and learn about it. If you like to read, get your hands on as many books as you can. If you like to collect things, do some research about the things you collect, if you like quantum physics… uh, you’re already pretty smart. Just use your brain. NOTE: TV doesn’t help here either.
This is another place where I have been struggling also for two main reasons. 1 – I’m lazy, 2 – I like food. I’m overweight, so one of the first things I need to do to become healthier is to lose weight. This means I have to do things that burn fat (walking, running, bike riding, etc) and I need to eat foods that are better for me. I don’t just need to do this once or twice a week either, but I need to do them daily. Whether it’s going to the gym, walking around the neighborhood after work, or just using stairs instead of the elevator, I have to get in more exercise. As for food, healthier food may be more expensive, but cutting portions is actually cheaper. Eat less food, then you don’t have to buy as much. Most of my problems with food might not necessarily be what I eat, but how much I eat, so cutting portions is the other thing I have to do every day.
This is the area that started my wishful pondering, as well as the one were it seems hardest for me to actually see any progress. Like I said, I get paid monthly, so I don’t get to see a certain amount of money pop into my bank account each day, and therefore sometimes it seems like I’m not making any progress, yet I am. Out of all the things I can do to advance in my finances, the biggest one is to show up to work. I may get paid once a month, but I work five days a week, and if I just stopped showing up to work, you can guess what would happen to that once a month paycheck. So, I have to work. The bible says that in whatever you do, do it like you were doing it for God (rough paraphrase), and this includes work. So show up, and work like God is your boss. In other words, do your best. Who knows, maybe it will even lead to a raise or a promotion, which would definitely help advance the finances. On the other side, however is what actually happens to that money. Advancing in finances is not just about getting the money, but about using that money wisely. When you go shopping, use coupons (www.southersavers.com, http://www.groceryfreak.com), instead of eating out all the time, eat at home, and definitely don’t spend all your money, but put some into savings. Work to earn the money, and then use it wisely. Like I said, this is one of the hardest areas for me, but I am getting there.
So I have come to realize that in some ways life is like the games I play. There are things I must do daily, and when I do them, I will begin to see myself advance in this game that we call Life.