2 Peter 2:19: “You are a slave to whatever controls you.”
Such a simple statement that packs a lot of punch with a little bit of insight and the desire to dig in to God’s meaning. “You are a slave to whatever controls you.”
If I would have thought about this verse in “the olden days,” I’m sure I would have immediately leaped to thoughts of alcoholism, smoking, pornography, illicit sex and drugs…all of those addictions that once we’ve been hooked, take over as priorities above all else.
That interpretation made it easy for me to point fingers at others, rather than look within.
But now I know that I’m not exempt.
Because I’ve been—and still am—hooked on “lesser things” that just as effectively take me away from important things.
My things are not what one thinks of as addictions, and are not necessarily bad; in fact, they are laughable, really. Except when I think of explaining myself one day as I stand before the King of Kings and He asks how I spent this limited amount of time He’s given me on this earth.
Because even in the midst of the good things I’ve done, I’ve wasted an enormous amount of time. This occurs to me now because I’ve watched two of my addictions suddenly cease—not by my own efforts, because that simply wasn’t going to happen, but by some external force.
Accidents? Maybe. Coincidences? No way.
Let’s start with the biggie: My beloved north woods cabin. From early April through at least October, I’m fixated on it. I love it, and the bulk of my time and energy for at least six months over the past 20+ years has been spent thinking about, planning toward and going to the cabin. A recent back injury made not only the possibility of going out of the question for the immediate future, but in a manner so quick and thorough I still can’t believe it, linked up with that “external force” to dissolve my desire [obsession] to spend summers at the lake.
Amazingly, I could care less that I’m not at the cabin. My bags have been packed for months, and I still whine about it on occasion, but it’s out of habit more than any deep need to head north. So my cabin addiction seems to have ceased. Coincidence? No way.
In an equally unexplainable way, another even “lesser” thing that I’ve been a slave to has suddenly ceased: My ability to watch TV.
Within the last few days, two of my TVs—first the one in the bedroom, and then the big-screen one in the living room—have become nearly unusable. They broke. Or something. It’s the weirdest thing, particularly because each has a different problem, yet both are severe enough to nix TV-watching.
TV has been my go-to when I get stumped on blog work or this week, on re-working my book proposal. Instead of pushing through, I turn on the TV, grab food, and then sit/lay there until I fall asleep, sometimes within and for just a few minutes, but always long enough to give me a fine excuse to postpone getting back to work until the next day.
So in an instant, poof!
Both TVs gone. Coincidences? I think not.
Now I have to say that my daughter reminded me yesterday that I could watch Netflix on my Mac, but I can’t afford to replace that yet should God decide to zap computers too.
Which brings me to my last major addiction and excuse not to get down to business quickly.
Ever since we got our first Apple computer back in the 1980s, I’ve felt compelled to win at computerized Solitaire three times before starting work. Yes, that’s how I started my days before I began my morning SAP practice. But now my mornings are spent communing with the Lord, so I no longer play computer games in the early morning hours. Now I play both Solitaire and Sudoku (and I must win one of each) on my phone whenever I get stuck on a project. And sometimes, stuck means merely “tired of thinking.”
Having watched the cabin and my TVs dematerialize, I believe it would be wise to lose my iPhone until I get this book proposal out the door. Today.
Father, thank You for the great night’s sleep that would not have happened had I been watching TV until all hours. I feel refreshed and energized, ready to tackle what You’ve called me to do. And I thank You for leading me so directly down the path You want me to take. I love it when You make things so clear, even when it involves a bit of pain—like a sore back or the expense of replacing old TVs.
You know me so well, Father. You know all my best excuses and the self-doubt that is probably at the core of them all. Thank You for the “coincidences” that prompt me to redirect my focus off lesser things and back on to You. Let me use this day well. Amen.