How Destiny almost stole my destiny
Today starts the first day of a month-long entertainment fast that I’ve self-imposed. You see, I’ve been on a journey. Of course, we’re all on a journey, but this one is mine – and it contained far too much mindlessness that threatened to suck me into a black hole of mediocrity.
Throughout recent months I’ve learned quite a lot about myself, God, and life in general. I’ve learned that I’m way too prideful, God is way too good, and life can feel way too hard. I’m not afraid to admit that so much of this hardness for me has been self-imposed. Not that I was aware that I was doing it, but for the majority of the 34 years that I’ve been alive I have been hamstringing myself whenever possible. That in itself is a broad topic, so for the sake of this article I’ll focus on one particular torture device selected for my self-flagellation: entertainment.
My whole life I’ve loved video games. Many of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s do. For me though, long before I ever realized it, they were an escape. Why I was escaping is a topic for another day, but for me to burn hours in a day on a game was not uncommon as a child. And as a teen. And as a young adult. And (yes, I have a problem) as an adult. It didn’t feel weird to me. It felt normal – just how I lived (and coped).
Unfortunately, as any fellow adult-gamers-who-never-grew-up can attest, life doesn’t work so well that way. Spouses and children don’t mesh well with hours of self-absorption into digital realms. So I learned to stop firing up the Xbox so often and trying to focus more on life. Fortunately for my addiction, iPhones make great substitutes for an Xbox and I was able to continue hiding playing Candy Crush
or Hearthstone while at least pretending to spend time with the people I care about.
The saddest fact of this is that what I was doing to my children and wife wasn’t the worst part. What I was doing to myself – how I was robbing myself of the joy of an accomplished life – has slowly taken its toll. Sure, I’ve seen and done some great things – just not as many as I’m capable of achieving. And this gets to me. Every day I wake up feeling depressed because not only am I no closer to achieving my goals, but I haven’t even been capable of following my own road map.
Slowly I’ve begun to realize, as God has dropped things in my spirit, just how damaging these patterns have been. Thankfully along with the realization has come oodles of healing as God has been yanking out weeds left and right in the garden of my heart, preparing the way for me emotionally to not need the safety of entertainment to hide behind. Because thats what I was doing: hiding. I couldn’t face reality because I didn’t understand the pain and anxiety that I was feeling inside, so it was much easier to choose “flight” than “fight”. My “flight” just typically involved fighting online instead.
I don’t write any of this out of shame – I wasn’t hiding from he world intentionally, I just never knew I was doing so. And yes I’ve been vague about what was actually going on inside, because that’s not the point. I hope that at least one person who reads this will recognize a similar pattern in themselves and do something about it. Get the help and healing that you need to become whole and face the world and all of its joys and sorrows instead of hiding behind the tv/book/iPhone. Don’t let them steal your destiny.