These days, I have a lot less free time than I used to, not that I ever had more than I knew what to do with. The very nature of having five children, with most of them home with me all day, is physically and emotionally draining and entirely free-time sapping. But I do have those moments. Those few and far between moments when there is no one coming and no one in need of going and there are no questions to be asked or answered or directed.
And then I have free time.
Can it be called free time if I'm nursing the baby at the same time? Perhaps not, but it's the best I can do. We'll call it semi-free time, except for those rare occasions when the baby happens to be cooperatively napping during our daily quiet time (as he is now), and I'm actually totally alone. Regardless, these are the moments that I get to sit and do (almost) nothing. Or, from a different perspective, I get to sit and do (almost) anything.
The problem I'm having is that more and more often these days, I'm choosing to do "nothing" with my free time. Nothing productive. Nothing life-altering. Nothing God-honoring. Nothing...except numb my brain with useless computer games, while I could be reading a good book, writing about something worthwhile, sending encouraging notes to others, reading the Word of God or praying for those I love. I could even be paying the bills or making lesson plans or scrapbooking or sorting family photos on my computer.
And yet I continue to play the same computer games over and over again. And what's really silly is at this point, there is absolutely no hope of getting any better at them. I'm incredible. I'm probably the best zombie killer on the planet, and yet I continue to shoot at them with a variety of dancing vegetables whenever I think I have five minutes to spare....or a half hour....or an hour and a half. Where does the time go?!
And that's the other thing. Slowly, I've been "finding" more and more time to dedicate to my obsession, when I really don't have any extra time. So what's happening? I'm neglecting the things that are my responsibility, like laundry and housecleaning and lesson planning, and I'm passively refusing to do the things that God has called me to do, like learning how to study the Bible, reading the book I've committed to reading for a church group, and writing about what God is doing in my life. All as I stare blankly at a computer screen and devise the best plan to prevent the consumption of my brains. Ironic, isn't it? The more I protect my imaginary brains from the onslaught of animated zombies, the more I can feel my actual brains becoming more and more zombie-ish.
Seven years ago this coming January, my husband and I stopped watching all television. It was hard. Really hard. We made the choice for a variety of reasons, but do you know what we discovered after it was gone?
We had both been addicted to TV.
After the addiction was broken and we were free, we grew closer to each other and closer to God. We wasted far less time. We did things that were worthwhile. And once the "withdrawal" from television was over, we emerged on the other side with a much purer and Godlier perspective on television. It's mostly worthless. It glorifies sin and materialism and violence and immodesty and human wisdom and greed. Obsession with TV turns us into zombies. Obsession with anything turns us into zombies.
I thought I was free from it. I thought I had escaped. But now I'm a zombie once more.
Today I'm taking back my brain and I'm giving it back to God.
In the words of my pastor, I'm coming back from "the living dead".
Anyone care to join me?