Life Lessons from Playing SIMS – Really??

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“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish for us the work of our hands—yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17

Life lessons from playing SIMS – Really?? Yes, really. I know, I’m as surprised as you are, but please hear me out.

I would not consider myself a gamer, but I do enjoy puzzles and creative activities. When one of my sons was looking to purchase a gift for me awhile back, he stumbled upon an online game called House Flipper. In the game, you do tasks that appear in your inbox to build your skills, each with a story explaining why your help is needed. You learn many skills such as painting, plastering, building and demolition of walls, clean up, and staging furniture. As you progress, you complete tasks faster and upgrade your tools. You can also purchase filthy houses with broken or damaged appliances, cabinets, plumbing, and furniture. You then renovate the houses and sell them at a profit. I enjoyed the game immensely and eventually completed the game with no more houses to repair or purchase.

I searched for something similar, but couldn’t find anything as fun as House Flipper. Then one day I saw that SIMS 4, a suggested game for House Flipper enthusiasts, was on sale. I tried it, which leads me to today and the subject of my writing.

Who would have guessed that playing a life simulation game would reveal some eye-opening truths to me? 

I created each of my characters with a purpose in mind, a profession or a gifting.

Leaning more on the creative side, I gave them the attributes given to musicians, authors, artists, and chefs. I then gave them the tools and equipment they needed, and opportunities to use them. I also gave them specific traits, such as outgoing, quiet, playful, active, and more.

I gave each of them a unique look, with different wardrobes, hair colors, and body shapes, all according to my wishes.

We, too, were given many unique gifts by our Creator. He crafted our bodies magnificently, and He also gave us practical, useful gifts to enable us to make a living—and make a life. He created us to grow in our gifts, and grow in the work He created us to do. Our callings are as varied as they can be, each as He created.

“There are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. There are different ways of working, but the same God works all things in all people.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in various tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who apportions them to each one as He determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Our Creator has given us personality gifts and quirks. 

In SIMS, the gamer can assign likes and dislikes to each character they create. When they are in their element and their environment is good, they are inspired and can accomplish tasks that are otherwise unattainable. For instance, one of my characters loves to cook. I had him doing all the right things, but he wasn’t especially interested and didn’t accomplish his goals. Then I realized that when he was doing physical activity, he would become inspired, and afterwards would race through as if in a cooking marathon and achieve several of his goals.

Sometimes we find inspiration in the most unexpected places. Our Creator knows this. His still, small voice whispers to us sometimes, and other times, He guides us to places where we can find inspiration. He knows what we need and knows how to lead us there.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6

When SIMS do not have their emotional needs fulfilled, they become sad.

When a SIM is interacting with other SIMS, their companions have the option of trying to cheer them up, encourage them, compliment them, tell them jokes, hug them, and more. Aren’t we supposed to do the same?

We were not created to be alone. We were meant to live in community and to commune with our Creator. In this, we gain strength, comradery, and lighten our burdens.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

You cannot make a SIM do anything if they really don’t want to do it.

No matter how many times I would tell a SIM to practice their instrument, writing, cooking, etc., if they weren’t in the mood, they weren’t in the mood, and they would go off and do something else that they enjoyed better. For some, it was physical activity, and for others, video games. As they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We all need time away from our work and chores. We then come back refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle it with renewed enthusiasm.

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

You cannot live vicariously through someone else. 

Follow your own God-given dreams. When I first began playing, I set up my characters to be the equivalent of what we are now. My daughter tried to tell me they would age, and she told me how quickly the time passes in SIM world. My response was yeah, yeah, okay.

Then I got busy creating a few friends for my SIM husband, fellow musicians with similar likes and goals as him. I even included wives for them with some of the same interests as my own character. I got their homes fixed up, got them practicing music, and was all set to have them make introductions.

Before I could do that, however, I saw another character in the game who looked just like a young family friend of ours. The resemblance was so striking that I thought, hey, why not make him and a future wife for him? That was a lot of fun, giving him qualities and goals that are his in real life, and what would hopefully compliment them in a spouse.

I didn’t stop there, though. It was so sweet seeing them interact together that I thought of one of my own unmarried children, and couldn’t resist the temptation. The first would be one of my sons. He would be a neighbor of the family friend, and I would make a girl next door for him. Love blossomed, and soon they were married.

When I returned to my own character and her husband, I was dismayed to find that while I had been busy making lives for other loved ones, neglecting my own “life,” they had aged, and were now quite elderly. Some of their aspirations had come to fruition, but others fell by the wayside because I was not there to intervene and keep them motivated. I had missed seeing their relationship grow deeper, and their gifts increased.

Within one SIM day, my character died. My daughter warned me that this would happen, but I still wasn’t prepared for it. Within another SIM day, my SIM husband joined me, and that was the end.

Even though it was only a game, it really hit me and I’ve been pondering a lot of things since then. You see, the hardest part wasn’t watching them die, it was seeing them go without having accomplished what they were put there for.

“For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Spend a little time every day doing something that you love. 

This one that really hit home. I have a stressful job that often requires long hours and missed lunches. Sometimes I feel like a hamster in a wheel, running and running, but not taking the time to enjoy things that I want to do – things that make me happy. Bible study, praying, reading, sewing, puzzles, spending time with family and friends, even physical activity, falls by the wayside. We were not meant for this. We were created to have fellowship with one another and God, and it is okay to pursue things just for fun! I have determined that I am going to spend more time doing the things I enjoy, and especially investing in the relationships that are dear to me. We cannot get that time back!

I have endeavored to make the most of every day going forward.

If this speaks to you, take your life’s journey to the Lord in prayer, and He will show you the better way. Choose abundant life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

“This is the day that the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“My heart said, ‘Seek His face.’ Your face, O LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8


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This was written as part of a writing challenge I participated in to stretch my writing:  Five Minute Friday’s 31 DAYS OF FIVE MINUTE FREE WRITES. This is spontaneous writing in only 5 minutes, though for this one, I did not limit myself to 5 minutes, because this is my story. The word for the day was “Memory.”

“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:1-2

The memory is just as clear as if it happened yesterday. I had just finished reading yet another Christian novel. I had only selected the book in the first place because I had accompanied my mother to a Christian bookstore, and she had generously offered to purchase any two books I wanted. 

She was a new believer in Jesus, and being a voracious reader herself, was overjoyed to find bookstores filled with books from authors who shared the same belief. I would have considered myself a believer as well. I believed in God, after all.

The first time we entered the store, I gravitated toward the fiction section, surprised to find an extensive selection. It became a routine, visiting this bookstore every few weeks, always with her offer to purchase any two books that I desired.

I was immediately both skeptical and intrigued. I believed in God, in Jesus even, but books about Him? In a fictional setting? What kind of craziness was this? Was God okay with it? Even more astonishing, the characters who called themselves Christians prayed, and it was as if they were actually talking to God, face to face. Who had ever heard of talking to Him like that, like He was a real person, almost like He was near and could hear us? And who had ever heard of talking to Jesus as if He was their best friend?  

I loved reading, especially if there was a little romance thrown in, so I continued reading. On this particular day, I put the book away, perplexed. What would make anyone so audacious as to believe they could actually talk to God, and believe that He would answer, as if He really cared? Ah, that must be the answer then. It was just fiction. Still, were there people who really prayed like that, I wondered?

I looked around my small apartment, where I lived alone, and my eyes landed on the television that my father had given me. It seldom worked when his boss gave it to him, worked even less when I received it, and it barely worked now. It hadn’t even turned on in months. Nevertheless, I pushed the power button on this old television, and to my surprised delight, the screen lit up and figures appeared before my eyes. 

It was Easter week, and the station was broadcasting a movie about the life of Jesus, Yeshua. Actors brought the story from the Bible to life. It was difficult to understand the words Jesus spoke as He taught the people who followed Him. I was intrigued by how He challenged the Jewish leaders who tried to trap Him and turn the people against Him. I was awed and amazed at the miracles Jesus performed everywhere He went. He seemed like a man, a human, like us. The man in the books I had been reading was there in front of me, and I was captivated. 

I watched as they falsely accused Him, and then beaten. It wasn’t real, though, I told myself. It was like the novels I had been reading, fictional stories about Jesus. I believed He had died for people’s sin, sure, and I supposed He had gone to heaven afterwards, but I had never really thought about it, nor had I ever heard about Him suffering. No, it wasn’t real, I declared.

My eyes were drawn back to the television. The man on the screen was being nailed to a cross made of rough wood. Huge spikes were being pounded through His hands. I watched Him cry out in excruciating pain, as the hammer blows continued. This man, who was innocent and had helped so many people, was suffering agonizing pain. And then, He turned His head and looked at me, and time froze.

As I stared back, I was undone, because I knew. I knew it was true, every bit of it. I knew He had suffered willingly, painfully taking the punishment that my sin deserved.

I fell to the floor in a heap, weeping uncontrollably. The weight of this knowledge was more than I could bear. I had caused Him to suffer. Me. I, who had believed that I could do anything I wanted because God just wanted me to be happy. I had caused this. The burden of my sin would not allow me to do other than lay on the floor, prostrate, as I wept in grief and remorse. I could not undo the wrongs I had committed, knowingly or unknowingly. Through tears, I begged for forgiveness, over and over. I thanked Him for taking my place, for taking the punishment that I now knew I deserved. I lay there, a sobbing mess, until there were no more tears to cry. Gradually, my regret gave way to gratitude for what He had endured for me, and I knew I had been forgiven. Grief gave way to peace, and I got up from the floor a changed person.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

I was different after that day, and those books that had started it all became a kind of example for me as I learned how to talk to Him and walk with Him. The books may have been fiction, but they were based on truth, and that truth set me free.

That television never turned on again.

“And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10


This was written as part of a writing challenge I participated in to stretch my writing:  Five Minute Friday’s 31 DAYS OF FIVE MINUTE FREE WRITES. This is spontaneous writing in only 5 minutes. The word for the day was “Different.”

“Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to Him with ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.” Psalm 33:2-3

It was a gorgeous, sunny and breezy South Florida day, just the type of day you’d want to spend outside. It had stormed for the last two days, and when we awoke to sunny skies that morning, we were grateful. 

My husband and his band were the first band to take the stage at the outdoor jazz brunch. Food trucks and vendors with colorful canopies lined the streets and the parking lots, selling all kinds of food, beverages, arts and crafts, and tropical plants.

The crowd appreciated their type of music: jazz fusion, an eclectic blend of jazz, rock, funk, and Latin styles. Familiar songs with unexpected twists. The musicians skillfully came together as one unit… a blend of different backgrounds, cultures, and sounds as diverse as the music they played. Their unique style drew sizeable crowds of appreciative listeners.

Each musician used their gift and their finely honed skills to create exciting compositions that many had never heard before.

That’s what it’s supposed to be like for believers in Jesus. We are all part of one body, His body, and when we all work together, each contributing our own gifts and skills, we can function as intended. 

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live in harmony!” Psalm 133:1

If you are a believer, you have a part, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We need each and every part. Each is unique and placed exactly where it is supposed to be, just like the musicians on the stage.

Put your gifts in the Master’s hands and watch what He will do.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If one’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith; if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is giving, let him give generously; if it is leading, let him lead with diligence; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:4-8

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in various tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who apportions them to each one as He determines. The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-12