How to you see life? Is it a puzzle, a battle, a straight path, a dark never-ending tunnel, a roller coaster ride? On some level it’s all of those things. Lately, though, I’ve been seeing it as like a video game. Maybe more specifically, it’s a video game with levels to drive us forward or send us sprawling on our faces.

Difficulties and Hazards

In this game, the rules don’t seem to be very well defined and difficulties come out of nowhere. It doesn’t appear that we’ve been given the proper tools to win the battle, figure out the puzzle, stay on the straight path, get through the dark tunnel or stop the roller coaster.

Although we know that winning this game means we must choose to follow God’s good plans for our lives, it seems the plans we choose, because they come from our own willful desires. always turn into disasters.

How do we navigate these difficulties? How do we deal with all these monsters that appear in our path and test the very bedrock of our faith? What should be our response? How can we win this treacherous game we’ve been thrust into?

Keys for Victory

In every game there is someone who helps us understand the ins and outs and gives keys for victory. In this particular game of life, I believe it might be James. Though I really don’t like what he has to say, he has grasped a key and is handing it to us.

“When it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested, it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking,” James 1:2-4 TPT.

James was talking to the Jewish Christians who had been “sown as seeds among the nations,” James 1:1 TPT. They had fled for their lives because of persecution. James wasn’t talking about someone who had a job loss, a cancer diagnosis, a divorce or even lack of food. He was writing to people who faced death every day for their belief in Christ.

Most of us have not experienced that level of difficulty. Our issues, no matter how overwhelming they seem right now, don’t hold a candle to these early Christians. However, what James says to them will help us navigate our trials, as well.

Invaluable Opportunity?

James called what they were facing as an “invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy” they might ever come up against. With his help, they were playing the game right, but for me, it took a long time to understand this strategy.

A friend of mine who had a major heart attack many years ago, shared language to help me understand this a lot better. He said, “When we go through a major life change or difficult issue, it is like a portal to a deeper, more intimate place with God.”

Then, I saw what James was talking about. When we are living a life of luxury and ease with no difficulties, we cannot say with confidence that we will hold tightly to Jesus no matter what comes. Our ability to stay true has not been tested in the fire and until it is we can imagine how we might respond, but we can’t be sure.

Experience and Power

It’s sort of like taking classes to be a cardiac surgeon versus finally operating on someone with a heart blockage. It’s not until we are thrown in the very real life or death experience that we are able to summon the Holy Spirit’s power within us to not just endure, but to shine in the midst of what we are facing.

If we continue, believing this is what we are called to do and continue to face issues head on everyday, we grow even stronger. We are not afraid to step into difficult circumstances, which will challenge and grow us. Pretty soon, that first task seems simple compared to what we are doing easily now.

“And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking,”

If we accept the Holy Spirit’s power to work in us and look forward with joyful anticipation to even more experiences, which stretch us, our level of ability to walk with and rely on God increases exponentially.

We arrive at a level where what we have walked through has grown our endurance to the point that it begins to release the perfection of Christ into every part of us “until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.”

The Tunnel of Difficulties

Right now, we may feel like we are walking through a long dark tunnel towards a light at the end.  It’s a new path we are walking. But, until right this minute, we haven’t seen this point in our lives as a door that has been unlocked to a new season of our live and even greater things in Christ.

If we were living in a video game, we would have achieved level one and been promoted to the next level of an ever-increasing game of joy, hope and faith.

The key to leave level one was the release of unmitigated joy. This was necessary to unlock solid hope and confident assurance in the promises of God. This is the bedrock our lives should be built on. From there we begin to climb to the mountain of faith, where we don’t care if we know the future or the why of the present. We just trust the One who is leading us.

God Wins

We are finally relying on the Creator to give us victory on the final leg of the game He created. We know He wins. We know His grace is with us to empower us to victory. If we follow Him, we can’t lose.

When I was walking through the issues of extreme weight gain, I needed coaches to help me identify what was holding me back. Barriers and obstacles seemed to pop up uninvited and I didn’t know how to navigate them.

Thank God, my coaches set me on the course to losing more than 250 pounds. I now live unencumbered by the issues that used to hold me back. I’ve walked through many doors that I didn’t even know existed since then. They appear as an invitation to even more victory. Walking with God is always an adventure if we are will to take the path less traveled.

Coaching Helps

Having a coach to help me was invaluable to learn how to move to the next level. Trust me, no matter where you are, there is always a next level. As a Christian inner healing, weight loss and spiritual life coach, I’d love to help you work with God to get there.

My next three-month session of one-on-one coaching is open now. I have limited spots. Doors close Sept. 15. Don’t wait. Register here today,

It would be my greatest honor to help you get to the next level in this game called life.



Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. She has four more books, "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God." Sweet Grace and Sweet Freedom study guides are available as well. All books are on Amazon and under the book tab on her website. Her Coaching Programs can be found under the Weight Loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab. Also check out her blog at