Posted tagged ‘obsessed’

The Wisdom of Moderation

January 9, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                              January 9, 2018

                                         

Two of Apple’s largest stockholders are asking the company to help curb the digital addiction of children and youth. A ripple effect of the iPhone’s popularity, as well as SnapChat, texting, Facebook, and other forms of social media, has been the increasing amount of time the younger generation is “hooked” on their digital devices.

At the middle school that I substitute teach and coach at digital devices are part of the educational tool shed. Students are told to get online on their devices and sign in at Google Classroom for the reading assignment or questions to answer as they read. Research gets done at their desk on their iPhone.

Last spring, however, I experienced the other side of the digital addiction age. Several eighth graders focused on their iPhones when they were to be reading a textbook assignment. They attempted to keep their devices hidden from sight, but I wasn’t born yesterday. I recognize that sneaky look from my days of trying to hide cheat sheets in high school Spanish class.

Social media and iPhones are just the latest of a long, long line of products and vices that grow to the point of being obsessions and addictions. The average American teenager receives his/her first iPhone at the age of 10 and spends four and a half hours a day using it, not counting texts and phone calls. Recent research is connecting the risk of teen suicide with the amount of time teens spend using their digital devices. Adolescents who spend several hours a day using their digital devices tend to feel more isolated and depressed. Teens that spend less than two hours a day on their devices tend to be happier.

We should not be surprised at the negative implications of over-consumption. It fits with the scheme of things. A healthy life- physical, spiritual, emotional, mental- has balance to it. An unhealthy life is often out of balance in some way or several ways.

Several years ago I discovered Chinese buffets. I’d go there for lunch and gorge myself. The afternoon was spent feeling lousy, and I added several pounds to my body weight. I finally wised up and swore them off. I now have not been to a Chinese buffet in about ten years and, I don’t want to say it is the only reason but, my cholesterol has dropped.

There’s a great proverbs of Solomon’s that says this, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” (Proverbs 25:28)

When we become obsessed we become vulnerable. We see in our culture today that obsessions come in different forms and in various venues. There’s greed, drunkenness, gluttony, sexual addiction, workaholic-ism, laziness, and on and on. Any obsession leads to a “broken wall’ where some kind of enemy or evil can enter in.

Pretty much anything in our life is to be practiced, consumed, or done in moderation. There is wisdom in moderation, and there is usually trouble in excessiveness.

It will be interesting to see how Apple and social media companies respond to the request about digital addiction. Apple may simply see it as a way to develop a new product designed for adolescents. In essence, it could be a new way to make money for them. The real question is what will the social media companies do that rely on consumption, exposure, and screen time to make their profits?

Companies, also, more often than not, have no self-control!

What Would Jesus Say To A Little Leaguer’s Parents?

June 23, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                              June 23, 2015

                        

Dear Jack and Jill,

I happened to be watching your son Benny’s Little League game the other night. Yes, I know…that’s probably a little surprising to you. You probably think I spend all my time in prayer meetings or talking to people from the top of a mountain, walking on water and turning water into wine…you know, “the work of a messiah!” But, actually, I kind of enjoy baseball. My favorite team is…you think I’m going to say the Angels, don’t you? Actually, it’s the Cubs! They need all the help they can get! As the Word says, “nothing is impossible with God.” But, of course, those words were written before the Cubs came into existence! Just kidding!

Benny seems like a sweet young lad. I couldn’t help noticing that he laughs and seems the happiest when he is with his teammates in the dugout.

I couldn’t help noticing your body language when he came up to bat. You tensed up like the physician was about to put a hypodermic needle in your backside. When Benny stood watching a third strike sail by him his teammates still offered encouragement to him when he came back to the dugout. I then looked at you and noticed that both of you had your head in your hands in obvious disappointment.

After the game Benny was smiling when he left his teammates, but Dad, as soon as he came to you the words of advice and correction started.

So take these words with a grain of salt or chew on them and be the salt!

Let Benny be a kid! Even when the local newspaper starts putting stats in the daily sports section, let him be a kid! I don’t know if you realize this or not, but I love kids. I mean…I love everybody, but I especially love kids who are just kids. That might sound like a strange way of putting it, but actually, some kids are made to grow up too fast, and…hold on!…turn into their parents too quick!

Benny wants to know you love him for who he is, not his batting average! God wants him to enjoy being a kid for a while before he learns how to hit a curveball!

Let me suggest that you focus more on building a child with character than one who can play six positions on the field. There are a lot of adult baseball players who hit for power, but have no character. Let Benny’s baseball skills develop alongside his character. The world is changed by people who want to help others much, much more than fastball pitchers.

Don’t sell out to the game! Keep a balance in your family life. Benny may love baseball, but don’t allow him to be obsessed with baseball. Obsessions pave the road to imbalanced. Passionate is different than obsessed. Passionate echoes his love for it, his enjoyment in it. It’s okay to be passionate.

Give him some space and grant him grace. Don’t try to live your frustrated sports life through him. I’ve noticed that too many parents buy into the idea of investing their kids’ lives into extended practices, a multitude of games, long weekends in strange places, and buying the best equipment with the hope that their child will end up on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. I worded that exactly the way I meant it also…”investing their kids’ lives!” They too often mortgage their children’s childhood for a future that the child may end up despising.

Here’s one last thing! What I noticed about Benny is that he has a caring heart. A couple of times he got a cup of water for a teammate who had just before that had made a defensive error. When he was sitting on the bench for a couple of innings he was encouraging his teammates. He helped the catcher get his equipment on, and one time put his hand on the shoulder of a kid who was smaller than him who had just gotten thrown out trying to steal second base. Benny is a great kid! And guess what? He will probably never be able to be a kid again. If you let him giggle in these years it will open up a laughter in his spirit and joy in his heart. Perhaps that’s where I’ll end it! Focus more on developing his heart instead of his muscle mass and throwing arm.

Have fun with these days! I’ll be watching and smiling, but for now…the Cubs need some divine intervention. They’ve got a series coming up with the Cardinals!

Holy Cow!

Jesus

Enjoying, Minus The Worship

December 10, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 December 9, 2012

 

Last week our seniors’ Bible study group at church, cleverly named “The Ageless Wonders”, had an interesting discussion on the tendency that we have to worship something or someone in place of God. We investigated the idea that God gets moved, or shoved, off the throne and replaced by activities, possessions, people…even customs and traditions. Each one of us has something in our lives that has the potential to be worshiped.

One of the group members asked the great question, “Does that mean that we can’t enjoy something?”

My response was that God desires for each one of us to enjoy life, and the events and activities of life. I stopped short of defining what the line is between enjoyment and worship. I believe that there is no clear line, and I also think that we fluctuate like a weigh scale in where we are. Some days we may be heavy into the worship of the latest American Idol and light on attention to our God. The next day might present a different verdict.

Some Christian groups in the past, and perhaps the present, seem to want people to not enjoy life. It’s almost like anything that doesn’t have the name Jesus in it is bad. Let me tell you! I bought a box of chocolate-covered cherries tonight at the store and I’m going to enjoy them. I’m not going to feel bad for keeping the name of Jesus out of it when I eat one of them tonight. I may put one on a saucer and place it beside the Christmas tree for Jesus…but I doubt it! I’m going to enjoy it, without worshiping it.

We have a multitude of obsessed people walking around today. Obsessed is worship distorted. Obsessed is believing that God hates abortion so the person goes and bombs an abortion clinic. Obsessed is being so passionate about your baseball team that you and another obsessed fan pummel a fan of the opposing team in the parking lot after the game for no reason other than the fact he’s wearing a hat of the other team.

Could it be that there are a number of people who enjoy God, but obsessively worship something else? Could it be that the channels have been flipped for a lot of us?

I enjoy basketball- coach it, officiate it, watch it, love it! But I worship God. If there is a hospital emergency that needs my pastoral attention on the night of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship I will be at the hospital. (Although I admit that DVR’s make it easier to be spiritual at the right times these days!)

This Christmas I’m going to enjoy my grand-kids, and my kids, and Carol’s homemade Chex mix, and eggnog, and Christmas carols…but with all my heart I will seek to restrict my worship to anything else but my Savior and my Lord.