1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Isaiah 2:8,9, 17 Their land is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made. People bow down, and each man humbles himself; therefore do not forgive them….The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, but the idols He shall utterly abolish.
Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before Me
There are many different kinds of idols available in this world. For some it may be their sight in the mirror, turning this way and that, combing hair over, pulling back, and so forth, just admiring how they look. That can be fairly common for young teen girls. It can be the same for the teen male who has started to fill out, maybe lifting weights or doing some other activity that with the beginning of more testosterone is helping those muscles get bulked. Sometimes it is the addiction to just working out, and although activity is healthy, it is not when it is to the detriment to spending quality time with others.
Or perhaps it is the person who craves sugar, bakery goods, salty foods, or some other kind of food. Or perhaps it is alcohol or some other drug/activity/hobby.
Addiction is defined as “state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit forming…and to such an extent that its cessation causes trauma.” Merriam-Webster. Giving up the addiction may cause some of these feelings and more, anxiety, stress, anger and perhaps physical symptoms—shakes, nausea, sleeplessness, headaches, etc.
Wikipedia gives a definition “brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. Despite the involvement of a number of psychosocial factors, a biological process—one which is induced by repeated exposure to an addictive stimulus—is the core pathology that drives the development and maintenance of an addiction.” It states that two properties characterize all addiction—repeated exposure and intrinsically rewarding.
I confess that I started playing a word game and a jigsaw puzzle game on my phone last spring. As I was closing my day, I had tv on, and would pull out the phone and open one of the games. It was a mentally stimulating challenge as I would try to beat my times and to also get the puzzle solved. But I began losing track of the time I spent on it as I challenged myself to ‘just one more…’
Then I was losing sleep. I’d glance at the clock figuring I was close to 11 and bed, only to find that the clock was reading after 1 AM. My internal clock wakes me between 6-6:30, so with less than five hours of sleep I was depriving myself of vital, recuperative rest.
So after a couple of nights not getting proper rest, I decided I would set an alarm, allowing only 30 minutes play time. Sometimes I would hear the alarm, and promise myself as soon as this particular game ended, I would put the phone down. Other times, I did not hear the alarm, so intent was I on the challenge, and then the reward of a “win,” finding a difficult word or whatever. In short, I was addicted to playing the games, to winning and beating my times, finding the challenge of how pieces fit the jigsaw, or solving the word problems.
The point is I was addicted. I think I should only be addicted to doing God’s direction. I do my devotional and bible readings in the mornings. Sometimes, I will pick it up and read more, and of course, since I write this blog, I am frequently looking up the verses I want to use. The games had me challenging myself, and filled hours in the evening when I was completing my day, and became a reward of sorts. But it was detrimental. It was hard to put down, and that is damaging. That was how it turned from a relaxing brain stimulating event, to an addiction.
Addictions can be anything, even something as mundane as game playing. Folks are addicted to watching a soap opera, and any number of activities, poisons we ingest and so forth. We tend to think of addictions as chemicals–nicotine, OTC meds, heroin, and of course oxycodone, alcohol, and any number of substances. But as I have confessed, addictions can come from any manner. Do you have anything in your life that pulls at you and takes precedence at times?
People can do the same with food, alcohol, sugar, drugs, both over the counter, illegal, and prescription. It is possible to become addicted to all sorts of things, shopping, beauty treatments, games, and so forth.
I asked God to help break this habit, and He did. The first couple of evenings, I wanted my “reward” for completing my day, feeling as though I had done well. But I couldn’t initially chance putting the phone and the games in my hand. So I asked for help when Satan would quietly, sneakily prod me to pick up the phone and ‘play just one…’
Better to be addicted to thanking God for His glory and creations.
But I read one of the books I always have going, watched a show I wanted to see, and learned to do other things until the habit was broken. I only want to be habitually with God and learning of Him. I don’t want or need any deterrents in my life.
Thank You, God, for letting me realize my games were a type of addiction to me and ‘mybellaviews.’