When I was a Christian, there were a lot of things that I had to believe in order to be what I was. I had to believe, for example, that the bible was completely true (which was hard sometimes, I might add). I had to believe that people who had different ideas about spirituality were going to hell (another bone of contention for me). And I also had to believe in the importance of marriage.
Those were the rules, you see—some of them, anyway. Those were the rules of the game.
Now, I didn’t make them up, as you may notice. But like the Button Pushers in the previous story who were trying to follow someone else’s rules (“Do what you are told” and “Trust people in authority”), I didn’t have to.
I just had to agree to play.
And so, that is why when I got married, I had very little doubt that I would stay married for a long time. My husband was a decent man, you see, and I loved him, and even though we didn’t always get along, I would continue to love him, because that is what I was supposed to do.
Then, something happened that changed all that. One fine evening, after having an argument with him, I suddenly said, without even thinking about it beforehand at all, “I am going to move out.”
And two weeks later, I did.
After that, I knew—even though I was still a Christian—that the rules were not always right.
My husband didn’t deserve to keep me just because he signed a paper, I realized. God wouldn’t even want it that way, would he? So how could leaving—which my husband was quite in favor of, believe me—be wrong?
Very soon after this happened, this new way of thinking affected other areas of my life as well. After I moved out on my own, for example, I signed up for a dating website (which before I thought was in itself an act of lack of faith) and found a new boyfriend, Josh, who wasn’t a Christian but was very sweet to me and got me through that very hard time.
I don’t deserve to be lonely just because I’m not married anymore, I realized. Josh is good to me, and I am good to him, and we are not hurting anyone at all.
After that, for the first time in my life, I had sex outside of marriage with no guilt at all.
Six months later, I met my husband David in the same way, and we are still not technically married, and I am glad.
Life is a game. And the game is anything you want it to be. It can be a test. It can be a school. It can be a playground. It can be a journey.
It can be a competition.
Life is a game, and if you want it to have a purpose—a purpose that is good, and helpful, and loving, and kind, like I do—do this one little but highly significant thing: Choose it wisely.
Don’t be talked into playing a game you don’t really believe in just because you’re too lazy to think for yourself. Figure it out. Figure out what’s best for you, right here, right now, in this life. Then, no matter what it is, and even if others don’t agree:
Live it. Live it well. Get good at it, and play.
And, while you’re at it, dear reader: Have fun.