“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