A Real Halloween Fright - Our Insidious Addictions
Did you ever wonder why we are afraid of the dark, even in our own homes, where we are fully aware of who and what is in there? It is very likely the logical and rational reasoning that because we cannot see something, it could lurk in our path where we could trip over it and get hurt.
Oddly enough, we are all often blind to our own "dark corners" of consciousness. The hidden "goblins" I speak of today are our hidden addictions...they lurk in the back of our minds and hearts goblin' up our time, life and energy and yes...even our physical bodies; devouring our opportunities and potential.
Today I am not talking about the tragic addictions such as drugs or alcohol. I am inviting you to seek out the insidious "little addictions" that are eating away at our lives. These "little addictions" are too numerous to cover in the time and space I have to share today, so I do invite you to ponder your own during the days ahead.
Let's look at my definitions, as I am using them today:
Insidious:operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with negative, unhealthy effect: an insidious habit.
Addiction:the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is mentally or emotionally habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes great distress.
Our insidious addictions are seemingly innocent, fun, positive things we think, feel, or do that at some point become the perceived source of our good; our peace of mind, our fulfillment. They go from being a pleasant diversion, to a habit, to the extreme of being an addiction. They give us a false sense of control and well-being.
One of the most recent examples of this was seen in Facebook, with "Farmville," "Mafia Wars," "Cafe," etc. While I don't seem to see requests for chickens or bombs any more, I think some folks out there may still be playing. Playing is good...until it crosses the line of diversion and becomes addiction or compulsion.
Now, if that was not one of your issues...you're still not out of the woods. Sometimes the insidious addictions can appear quite healthy, like diet or exercise...but even healthy activities can become unhealthy when the time and energy they require interferes with the delicate balance required for life as it was meant to be lived.
The key word here is "insidious." We don't know it's become an addiction until the habit, belief, etc. has taken root. Oftentimes, because it seems so harmless, we are exceedingly resistant to letting go of it. And when we try to let go...we find ourselves unhappy and out-of-sorts, or filled with anxiety.
I heard an amusing term the other day for one of our technological addictions: "Crackberry." We see this every day...folks who can't seem to put down the device. It is sad, to me, to see our young people addicted to texting. Rather than looking at this as a potential danger, it is so much easier to make jokes about it and advertisements about the benefits of unlimited texting on your phone plan. Meanwhile, genuine and meaningful one-on-one, up close and personal communication has vanished.
There are many hidden; insidious addictions that can affect any one of us. Here are a few: Email, Internet surfing in general, Control freak, Gossip, QVC or HSN, Relationships, Roles, Television, Religion, Adrenaline, Cell Phone, Technology in general, Exercise, Housework, "Tinkering" in the yard or garage, etc. The important thing to keep in mind here is that the activity or diversion consumes significant amounts of time, energy and life-force to the point that other areas of your life are neglected.
If you think you are not addicted, try cutting back on things like having your cell phone with you at all times, or television, or check email only once a day or, shut down the computer for 24 hours, etc. etc. etc! See if there is any discomfort.
Here is a little exercise for you. Below you will find what is called a "life satisfaction wheel." Copy the wheel on a piece of blank paper, and color in each area to reflect the amount of time and energy you give that part of your life. In whatever areas you find lacking, ask yourself "Why?" What is keeping you out of balance?
Don't think you've got a problem? Ask your friends or family. They just may have some thoughts to share. What is hidden to us, is often well known to others.
From the bottom of my heart, I assure you that I am not about pointing out anyone else's flaws. I have enough of my own to think about. I simply strive to echo Jesus' mission..."that you may have life...and have it abundantly!"
So...go take a ride on the Life Satisfaction Wheel! Wheee...RevAli