Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Take a Solid Step

This week I got together with a small group of men to talk about our struggles and confess our sins to one another. Feeling like I needed some accountability, I spoke about my needs and struggles. I also decided I needed to take some definitive steps to get away from the issue.

You see, I struggle (mightily) with controlling how much I play certain types of video games.

Some games I have no problem with, I can sit down, play for a little bit, and shut it down and move on with my day. Others however I completely lose any sense of self-control and go on multi-hour sprees for days or weeks on end. For whatever reason the switch just won't turn off.

In talking about this with these men, I started adding up just how much I played (*very* conservatively) over the last year. Since I got to bed later/wake up earlier than everyone else, that tends to be my "me time." It is in these hours that a good deal of playing comes from. That being said, however, plenty of other time I realized was being soaked up thinking about, planning and researching different aspects of games. I didn't even include that in my estimate. All that being said, I *conservatively* played around 500 hours of video games last year.




20.8 days.

Not 20.8 work days, 20.8 twenty-four-hour days.

That is not OK. And remember, that is a conservative estimate. It also doesn't count the thinking/reading/research aspect of it. If I really took the time to go through everything, I would probably stretch closer to the 600+ hour mark, but I'm sticking with 500 because I don't want to feel like a complete waste of space.

That is not OK.

Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a hobby, or even with playing games as a hobby. They can be good for stress relief, getting out of your head, relaxing and a host of other good things. But 500+ hours minimum shows that I have an idol that needs to be taken care of.

So it is time to take solid steps to do so.

I've done the cold turkey thing before, where I don't play anything for 30 days or so. While that has worked during the break, I eventually go back on a rampage, playing catch-up because "hey, I took a break." I have done this several times before, with the same results So cutting them out this way doesn't exactly work.

Instead, I believe it is to take the games that are a problem, and rid myself of them. Not put them in a drawer or hide them away for a while, but to rid myself of their presence once and for all. Sell the cartridges and discs and uninstall them from my PC. The ones I have no problem putting down and not thinking about I will keep, and use them as a normal, beneficial hobby that keeps me from binging later. The ones that cause me to stumble, will be gone.

The reason I write all this is to challenge you, dear reader. I want to challenge you to take a look at your favorite things and ask yourself if you have an idol to rid your life of. You may need to quit it all completely cold turkey or take a different type of approach like I am. Either way solid, practical steps must be taken if we are going to rid ourselves of idols and distractions and become the people God calls us to be.

Where we spend our time will determine where our priorities are. Do you spend your every waking hour watching TV? Facebook? News? Do you spend it on your job? Working out? On politics?

I am convinced that the most insidious idols are those which are not directly sin. We can easily see how pornography, abuse and cheating are sin. These things go against God's stated law. But when it is something on the side, and when it can even have good effects, it becomes much more difficult to recognize when it becomes a sin problem. It takes time, effort and honesty to say to yourself "this is sin not because of what it is, but what I have turned it into."

I once heard Mark Driscoll state that when a good thing becomes a God thing it becomes a bad thing. Regardless of what you think of the one who said it, the statement is true, and it is up to us to take it to heart. It is time to take a stand.

So I challenge you to look at your life, and start taking solid steps to fix those things which move your further from God and replace it with things that bring you closer to Him. Half-measures will not work. We must be willing to give it all for the One True King.

So let us start moving.