The following story is one that only a few people know because I am still a bit embarrassed about it. But the Lord brought it to mind several times recently and I want to share how He was victorious!
A few years ago, we were blessed to have family staying with us for several months. I am very thankful for the time we were able to spend together! It was so much fun, but there was a lot going on and it was, at times, a bit chaotic with balancing work, kids, etc. Attempting to relax, I had taken to playing Candy Crush on my Facebook. At the time, it was a way for me to tune out the noise and focus on something quiet for a few minutes. No biggie, right?
Well, if it had remained an occasional diversion, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. However, this was not the case. It quickly turned into something different and developed into something that fed into two areas that I have struggled with over the years—competitiveness and obsessive behavior. The perfect storm for what happened next.
At first, the warning signs were subtle. I became territorial…I was the only one who was allowed to play the game. After all, it was my outlet for relaxation! Gradually, the amount of time I spent playing the game increased. I was driven to not only complete each level, but to also get the maximum amount of stars. In my mind, it was not a problem. I had it under control.
By the time our visiting family left, I was consistently spending an hour or more on Candy Crush each day. It was now a habit that I couldn’t do without. Any downtime was spent playing the game. I was playing it so much that when I wasn’t physically playing Candy Crush, it would be “playing” in my mind while I was doing other things.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, my son with autism became interested in the game. He liked to watch me play it and sometimes play it himself. So of course, I had to continue…I was “bonding” with my son! At this point, everyone in the household was occasionally playing. I told myself it was a family activity…something fun for everyone!
And so this went on for many months. More and more time was devoted to playing the game each day. I had reached the end of all of the levels and was forced to wait (impatiently) for new levels to be created. While waiting, I went back and tried to get higher scores on the old levels.
Somewhere along the line, it stopped being fun. It became an obligation. A HUGE obligation. I actually started to dread coming home because I would HAVE TO play the game.
There finally came the day when I was in the middle of a game and an overwhelming urge to delete the game came over me. The Lord showed me just how much I was in bondage to Candy Crush and I needed to stop. So, I did. I deleted the game right then and there. After completing over 1100 Levels, I was finally free!
It was like a gigantic weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was such a relief! And, praise God, I didn’t miss it at all!
When I reflect back, I am horrified that it went on for as long as it did. I refused to acknowledge the problem that had overtaken my life. The amount of justification and excuses I made to continue to do something that deep down I knew had engulfed my life is appalling. I even used my children as an excuse!
What started out as a harmless diversion became an idol. A sin. One that I fiercely protected.
And like every sin that we actively participate in, it overtakes everything else. The more we indulge in it, the more entrenched we become and more we are enslaved by it.
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
But that’s where the Lord comes in and saves the day! He came to set us free! We no longer have be in bondage to sin – to our worldly desires. In Him, we are a new creation!
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new
Video games…are they sinful? No, I don’t believe they are. Being obsessed with video games or anything else? Most definitely.
1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
So much wasted time! Time that could have been spent praying. Reading the Word. Serving. Spending quality time with family. Taking care of basic life responsibilities, like cleaning, cooking, etc. Sleep.
This whole experience has made me much more aware of when I start giving priority to the wrong things in my life. I have learned to lay these things down before the Lord & walk away. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is not. – but the Lord is so faithful in helping me overcome any temptation!
My questions for you:
What has priority in your life? Are there things that you spend more time on than you should?
Ask the Lord to show you anything in your life that has become an idol, and if there is, repent and turn away!