Too much of anything in the secular realm is not wise. Do a quick self-examination and ask yourself what is the object of your overconsumption. Truthfully, I could make a list of the top ten. In my effort to encourage you, my goal is not to rattle off a list of what we spend too much time participating in, but I want to discuss some potential effects of overconsumption. The perspective of the outcome is the same. If you routinely spend too much time ‘doing the same thing’ especially around the same time, preceding or following a particular event or activity, you can develop not only a bad habit but also an addiction could be unfolding.
When the word addiction is mentioned, some default is to think of drugs and alcohol and not the many activities that we participate in daily that gives us that ‘happy feeling’. Those activities or ‘things’ that gives us the most comfort has the potential to spur addictive behaviors e.g. repetitiveness, lack of management, and destruction. The simple fact that anything outside of God that gives us that rush of comfort is only temporary and leaves us feeling empty from having participated.
Okay, okay… some of us would not agree that our behaviors are borderline addictions, but for the sake of this exercise, examine your daily routines, especially since you have been quarantined or simply humor me. 🙂
I know this person, (wink, wink) at one time in her life, she would listen to a certain genre of music, other than Christian music, a certain day of the week. This music took her to a happy place, not all bad, but not all good either. The fact that this started out as a day to unwind, was not the issue, but the issue was the development of how this time became her happy place.
During the week when she became sad or depressed, she knew that she could go to that place in her head/mind that would provide a level of comfort like nothing or no none else on the planet. She had even begun to experience the chemical ‘let down’ that accompany sex, shopping, eating chocolate, or even falling in love. You know… Dopamine, one of ‘natures’ happy drugs. It is released with the anticipation with any of the aforementioned activities. Dopamine is one of the ‘big four’ chemicals that our brains release associated with producing that happy feeling. Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins are the other three.
Soon, what started out to be harmless would become her addiction… her idol. In case you have not noticed, she did not start out to substitute God’s comfort with seeking comfort by fleshly means. My bible tells me that my comfort and hope come from God’s living and active word that He, Himself has given us through reading and abiding. “For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope. Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus”, Romans 15:4-5. Another one of my favorites, “3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God”, 1 Corinthians 1:3-4.
A nugget; If God comforts us in all our tribulations so that we may be able to comfort others in any trouble, why would He allow us to find our comforts elsewhere, (in this case, the flesh), since I am to share and utilize it to comfort others? Hmm…
There is no way that I can tell anyone to look at what God did for me through earthly and fleshly means. Do not hear what I am not saying… refocus. What I am saying is that we cannot find lasting comfort and the kind that would not leave us shameful and empty apart from God.
Loving Exhortation: Be consistently, sober-minded. 1. Be careful if you are spending too much time on social media or the internet, even if the goal is to ward-off boredom. 2. Be careful if you are spending too much time consuming COvid-19 information. Yes, this can even provide comfort. How? The more you know about the disease the more comfortable and control you feel; the more you know, the more you think you can prevent it. Live and trust God, quit reading and talking about it so much.
3. Are you listening or reading more about the Covid-19 environmental effects than reading or listening to the word of God? Only you can honestly answer that. Do you know more about COvid-19 than you do on how to lead someone to Christ? Do you know more about the symptoms and how the national leaders are trending with their decisions than defending your faith with scriptures? Again, only you can answer this.
4. One more thing to be careful with. That glass of wine that use to be occasional. Since the quarantine, you have more in the house, you enjoy it more than before because you have more time to drink it. You look forward more to a nice glass of alcoholic beverage because it relaxes you. I am not a drinker, but just writing this makes me want a glass, especially if it is going to relax me. Lord have mercy! See what I mean…
5. Finally, the beauty of tickling those taste buds with comfort foods. When working, you did not have time to prepare them, but now, you prepare those big meals with homemade desserts and pastries more regularly, meals with pastas, like spaghetti and lasagnas, because it feeds more people or more leftovers to stretch those groceries for budget purposes. How about, trying out those new recipes; another facilitator of comfort. What I am trying to say is be very careful. The enemy and the flesh working together will create havoc in our lives.
This is not the time to get relaxed in what can become easy living or the proverbial life on a ‘flowery bed of ease’ as a means to avoid complaining or to produce contentment. Be careful of overindulging in things of this world that brings temporary comfort, joy, and happiness. Desire comfort in that which lasts. This can only be found in God though Jesus Christ and His word.
Allow me to bless you as I leave you for today with my favorite benediction prayer: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may He life His countenance upon you and give you peace” Numbers 6:24–26!
Thank you for reading my free style writing! 🙂 I pray that you are blessed and encouraged by it.
The journey flows…. –