I love video games. Not the new fancy xBox type games, but old school Namco and Konami games. In fact, for my birthday a couple of years ago my husband gave me an arcade style Ms. Pac-Man. (He’s a true romantic, Ms. Pac-Man eats heart-shaped pellets. ❤) It has more than Ms. Pac-Man, it has all the classics.
Over the weekend I was playing Frogger and I realized — there’s a lot I can learn about life from the game of Frogger. The frog is guided by his destination, he has to show courage along the way, and he can’t just sit there or he’ll die.
I know you’re probably familiar with Frogger, but just in case, here are the basics. You are the little frog trying to get to the top of the screen to rest safely on a lily-pad.
You have to avoid being run over by a car or landing in the water where you’ll drown. You also have to avoid hungry critters like alligators and snakes. Overlaying all of the danger, you have a countdown clock giving you just 32 seconds to accomplish your goal.
I know Forrest Gump says life is like a box of chocolates, but he didn’t know Frogger.
LIFE IS LIKE A GAME OF FROGGER.
You and I are little frogs, hopping toward a lilypad, avoiding or overcoming obstacles along the way. Our lilypads and obstacles are different, but we get there just the same.
Maybe you dream of opening a new business or changing cities, but you’re afraid to make the wrong move. Maybe you dream of being a better parent, but you aren’t sure how to get past the doubt and fear. Maybe you want to be part of a community, but you aren’t sure they can accept the real you.
WHATEVER YOUR LILYPAD, HERE ARE A FEW THINGS FROGGER TEACHES US ABOUT GETTING THERE.
FIRST, YOU NEED TO KNOW WHERE YOU’RE HEADING.
In Frogger, there is a clear destination — the lilypad at the top of the screen. The purpose of the game is to safely land in the lilypad spots.
What about in your own life? Do you know where you’re heading? For me, one “lilypad” is being able to speak to groups of women. Every time I book with another group, it’s like I’m crossing the screen, one step (or one hop) closer to my purpose.
Just like in the game, sometimes the traffic jam of daily life obscures the path to our lilypad. Maybe you find yourself in the middle of the road and you can’t even figure out where to look for the next landing spot.
In life we don’t have pixelated 1984 graphics setting out our path for us, but we have other tools available. There are pastors, blogs, books, webinars, conferences, and even life coaches all seeking to help us find our path.
I’m not sure exactly what you need right now, but a major directional tool in my own life has been identifying what brings me joy. Not just passing pleasure (like a Snickers bar) but true joy. By joy, I mean the feeling that emanates from my core and connects me to the peacefulness of God. That feeling like I’ve taken a deep, deep breath of really good air.
Hopefully you find a lot of joy on the way to your lilypad. But a joyful journey is not the same thing as an easy journey, is it?
SOMETIMES A JOYFUL JOURNEY REQUIRES COURAGE.
Jumping into the middle of traffic or onto a floating log is scary. One way to move forward is to hold your breath and jump without looking. You might get lucky and land just where you need to, but it’s unlikely.
Jumping ahead without knowing what risks you face isn’t courageous (you don’t need courage if you don’t see a risk). Assess the situation and do your best to make the right choice.
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T JUST SIT THERE.
Sure, moving your frog is risky, but staying put isn’t an option. Failing to move in Frogger has the same result as making the wrong move since the clock is counting down.
It’s true in life, too. We can sit on the side of the road where it’s safe, but we won’t get anywhere and soon our turn will be over. Taking risks is scary, but it’s a skill we can practice.
IN FROGGER, LIKE IN LIFE, THE MORE YOU TRY, THE EASIER IT GETS.
The more times you successfully move your frog through traffic, the more confident you are about plunging ahead. Each time you assess the risk and make the right choice, you train yourself to trust your instincts.
It might sound silly, but life really is like a game of Frogger. I do better when I have a goal to hop towards and sometimes those goals require courageous moves. As I navigate traffic and log jams, I’m learning to trust myself a little more with each decision. When I’m tempted to sit idly, I think about the little frog and how I don’t want to waste my turn.