5 Life Lessons from Survivor

Survivor is such an interesting reality show. Our family is loving watching the plethora of seasons available online. The game gives incredible insight and life lessons into how people interact with one another. It also shows how various obstacles are handled by young and old alike. And what’s funny is that everyone just needs to learn to roll with it, like it or not. It’s not personal. That’s just part of the game.

Seems to me that this reality show demonstrates quite a few realities of real, everyday life.

Life Lesson 1: It’s all about your tribemates

At the beginning of each season, you are placed on a tribe. You are pretty much stuck with whoever they put you with when the game starts. Sometimes a competitor is placed on a single-gender team. Sometimes a competitor is placed on an old or young team, based on your age (40 and over is considered old – UGH). It is what it is. Are there unfair advantages from the start? You bet!

But no matter what team you’re on, you have no choice but to cooperate and work together. If not, someone is going home. So alliances are made with those you get along with most and you hope your instincts are on target.

In life, you are given no choice as to who you are born to, where you are born, and what you look like. Sometimes, just like the game, you are given an unfair start. It stinks. But the best thing to do is work with the community you have been placed in (Jer. 29) for the betterment of everyone. It’s rarely permanent, but they can provide a good foundation and minimally you can walk away learning a thing or two. We must make the best of every situation, good or bad.

Life Lesson 2: It’s all about your own personal journey

As the game progresses, of course, alliances may weaken as each person tries to gain immunity (i.e. if you have immunity, you can’t be voted off at the next Tribal Council) not just for his/her tribe anymore, but for himself/herself. It’s not your tribe that wins a million dollars, but one sole Survivor.

There have been seasons in Survivor when one person has had a target on their back most of the season because they are that good. Their tribemates are trying everything to win immunity challenges to have an opportunity to vote that person out of the game. At times, that particular person is completely alone, fighting everyone with no one standing beside him/her. It’s awesome to see that person win over and over again, despite the obvious disdain and frustration of the other tribemates!

In life, just because no one wants us to win doesn’t mean we can’t. That should never stop us. To be certain, the people around us can be wonderful and help us get through tough spots. At other moments in life, everyone around us wants us to lose and suffer for a thousand different reasons. At the end of the day, our only responsibility is to love and honor Christ and obey His Word, no matter what anyone else is doing or no matter what anyone else thinks. We can’t rely solely on the encouragement, accomplishments, or faith of others. We will be held accountable for how we live our lives, not based on what choices our “tribe” makes but the choices that we make. Life is lived collectively, alone.

Life Lesson 3: People will lie to you

Even the perceived closest of friends on the show has been known to be deceptive and/or lie to one another. There was once even a contestant who was a police officer who swore on his badge, his mother’s grave, the works! And guess what? He was lying. It’s incredible what people will do to get something they want. Many rationalize that it’s just a game! It’s a lot of money! And to be fair, it is. But is all of that worth losing your integrity? Depending on the contestant, you will definitely get different answers.

It’s important that we are always wise as snakes and innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16). Should we never trust people? Not exactly. Should we always trust people? Not exactly. Finding that sweet spot will depend on each individual you encounter. Although we should give people the benefit of the doubt as often as possible, many people we interact with won’t have our best interest at heart, and we must be well aware of that fact. This will help us avoid being hurt and blind-sided in the future. We must have our eyes wide open in this world we live in.

Life Lesson 4: When you are tired and hungry, many of our worst character flaws show up loud and proud

The one consistent attribute of all Survivor contestants is that at one point or another in the game, they are extremely hungry. Pretty much all of them lose a substantial amount of weight. And since they are essentially camping out in the open, a good night’s rest is a rarity. Most are on their best behavior, considering that not only one million dollars is on the line, but thousands of people are also watching. However, the emotional tolls of the game definitely wear many of the contestants down, to the point that a few actually drop out of the game altogether.

When we are tired and hungry, we must be self-aware enough to know that we may say or think some pretty silly, irrational things. Personally, all things seem so much worse and the situation will seem so much bleaker when I’m either tired or hungry. Any kind of “speech filter” is removed and it can just get ugly. When I find myself getting to that point, I realize I can’t do this. I’m completely incapable of reacting like a normal human being. The kids know. It’s time for Mami to pray. Right. Now. They back up slowly and give me a minute to collect my thoughts and just pray like a crazy lady to Jesus for His help. He always does.

Making decisions and/or interacting with others in a situation where we are either tired or hungry or both is not a good idea. However, it just can’t be helped sometimes. And it’s in those moments when we are the weakest that God can be seen as the strongest and most powerful. Amen? But only when we prayerfully and humbly ask Him into our mess.

Life Lesson 5: Sometimes, the strongest and best person isn’t the one who wins

There have been several games where the very strongest contestant on Survivor has winning streaks for immunity, only to lose the very last one. And since the finals consist of either 2 or 3 contestants, the one who wins immunity will more than likely get rid of any kind of competition, especially someone who has dominated the game in immunity challenges.

It is maddening when the best person is not the one who wins. We love happy endings! The best people are supposed to finish first. And when they don’t, the results never seem to sit right. However, that’s life, isn’t it? Often, the person I think deserves the chance at the job doesn’t get it. Or the incredible couple who’s been trying to have a baby for years doesn’t ever get pregnant. Or the sweet man with cancer tragically dies. A great biblical example is Job. Or pretty much all of Eccelsiastes. This obviously has been an issue in humanity since the beginning of time.

Sometimes life seems so unfair. But we need to keep reminding ourselves just like David did when he ran from Saul (1 Sam 21), that we can trust God, even when He doesn’t seem to be making any sense. He knows what He’s doing and He sees it all. Not a tear is ignored. He is faithful and good, whether or not we understand. We must choose to trust in His goodness even as He may allow what seems to be unfairness into our lives.

Any other life lessons you can think of? More to come next week!

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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