When the day of my turning point came, I wouldn’t have been more stunned had a wrecking ball come swinging into my kitchen window. I’m now not so sure if it was the actual event or the combination of that and a heartrending revelation and my subsequent overwhelming grief that I’d squandered precious time — for years — reading, searching, creating, writing, researching… on the computer. Good things… so many good things.
There is a silver lining…
Lord has opened His Word to me in many new ways. I want to be careful not to exceed the context or intent of the Scriptures, so my ‘revelations’ or insights might not seem applicable to this situation — but numerous passages have spoken to my heart in new ways through these last two and a half years. One, is that the Lord is not willing that any should perish. Now, this pertains, ultimately, to salvation, but I’ve begun to see His love for life in a new way. His love for eternal life, His love for unborn life, His love for the downtrodden, His love for obedience in life, and His purpose that we might have life and that, more abundantly.
Addictions limit abundant living.
No worries: I haven’t jumped ship here into name-it-and-claim-it-prosperity-(little g) gospel living. But I do see that we limit God’s work in our lives when we live contrary to His plans and purposes for us. Being a preoccupied and distracted mother leads to all sorts of visible and not-so-visible troubles — but that’s not all — whatever is occupying our thoughts and time must be in accordance with God’s plan and design for our lives and things that hinder that or draw us away should rightly be called sin to us. Yeeouch. All the justifications, excuses and reasons for doing otherwise just deepens our problem and widens the sweeping damage done in our homes and in the lives of our family members.
Having the computer set up in the kitchen where it could be accessed and consulted at any hour, any time, for any length of time was like a drug to me — a gotta-have- it drug. That’s why I can so easily and confidently call unguarded, unrestrained and unmeasured internet use an addiction.
You know you’re addicted when you pray: Give us this day, our daily bread… And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us [some email]…
So, now what?
When facing and fessing up to and then turning/recovering from addiction, may I say, you’re never going to make it if you try going it alone. The devil will meet you at every turn (or log-in). You will make provision for the flesh. You will justify, minimize your addiction, make excuses for your ‘work’ and need to be online. And then you’ll remember you made a deal, your regret or shame or embarrassment may come back to your mind — but admissions will not keep you on track. Your sorrow will not keep you on track. Your resolve will not keep you on track. Your best intentions will not keep you on track. Simply deciding to be done with spending too much time on the computer will not solve your deeper problem and will not prevent you from carrying on just as you had been doing. I think that’s why the Lord taught or gave the following warning in Matthew 12:
(43-45) When the unclean spirit is gone out of the man, it walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then it says, I will return into my house from which I came out; and when it is come, it finds it empty, swept, and garnished. Then it goes and takes with itself seven other spirits worse than itself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first…”
Walls and fences for wills and fancies!
AA. Yep, AA! No, I’m not talking Al-Anon, I’m talking Accountability and Activity! I have learned over the last several years — and most especially in the last two and a half — that whenever a change — a drastic change — is needed, drastic measures must be taken. And, believe me, computer addiction is that serious. Think of the times you’ve dieted. You don’t leave the delectable foods on the counter, you don’t snack on candy bars, sip on rootbeer floats or munch on potato chips; No, you clear those things away and gather for yourself nourishing vegetables, fruits, lean meats and water. Additionally, you don’t sit and wait for weight to drop off — you get moving: you get busy and exercise or go for walks. You track your progress with a scale or measuring tape. And, better yet, you get a partner to join you: someone to whom you are accountable. You’ve already proven your ‘self’ is not a good accountability partner. Sadly.
So, also with computer addition. You make no provision for the flesh — and, believe me, while simply unplugging may seem like a good solution, it’s not a real solution. It may stop the activity for that length of time, but it wouldn’t necessarily get to the heart of the matter. In this, I encourage you (and myself) to begin with acknowledgement and prayer. Face the truth, look square into the face of the matter and then set up accountability. This provides the place to “confess your faults one to another.” (read James 5.16) That’s a powerful verse — the third part of it tells us that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Did you catch the fervent part? This is no small problem – computer addiction; thus there’s no casual solution. Fervency in prayer! You won’t be fervent in prayer until you grapple with the problem and grasp its gravity.
Here’s a net-net for you. Make a break — a clean break — you will survive and so will the masses.
Recommit. Reconnect. Re-create. Restore.
You see? There are many REasons for facing and tackling online addiction. But then… you’ll never know until you stop…
Next time, something of a new track to run on.