Imagine a father and his daughter. On the daughter’s birthday, the father gifts her with a cool toy that she’s always wanted. Why? Because he loves her, and wants her to have fun and enjoy herself.
Now imagine that the child has been misbehaving — disobeying the father and doing her own will. Consequently, the father takes the toy away from her for a while. Why? Again, because he loves her, and wants her to learn to be obedient and kind. And even if the daughter is unhappy that she doesn’t have her favorite toy anymore, she ultimately learns to associate misbehavior with consequences.
Keep this analogy in mind; I’m going to switch gears a little bit and tell you a story. 🙂 (I promise it’s relevant to the analogy — just bear with me for a few minutes.)
Last May, I developed a special interest. I’m not going to tell you very much about what said interest was, mainly because
I’m a little embarrassed and almost nobody else knows about it it isn’t crazy important to the story. But I will tell you that it was an ongoing show/serial. If you’re curious enough about which one, you can PM me and ask me.
Anyway, I had a couple friends recommend this serial to me, and when I started watching it, I pretty much instantaneously fell in love with it. I’m sure at least a few of you have been in the same boat, where you’ve gotten hopelessly invested in a show and its characters and plot. Yeah, that’s what happened to me. I spent hours at a time binge-watching it until I was caught up on the latest segments. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I daydreamed stories and lore headcanons for it. I created a world in my head surrounding it. Special interest became obsession within the fortnight. I think that’s a reason I didn’t blog much this year; I was putting most of my mental energy into the serial.
If you know me well enough, you’ll know that when I’m interested in something, I tend to quickly become obsessed with it. Even if it’s for a short time. This was one of the most intense obsessions of my life. It got to the point where I was watching the serial so much that I used it to drown out my worries. Scared for the future? Go watch the serial. Don’t feel like facing responsibilities? Go watch the serial. Feeling guilty that your life has been taken over by a petty show when you should be setting your mind on bigger things? Go watch the serial!! My everyday routine became controlled by it like a convict in a prison. It almost felt like a second being was holding me, and every time I tried to protest or thought about escaping, it would tell me “If you try to escape you’ll just hurt yourself. I’m here to protect you. You’re perfectly safe with me. Abide in me and you will be happy.”
Isn’t it funny how the Devil sounds a little bit like God sometimes?
It was enough to make me believe the voice. And I stayed obsessed throughout the summer. Everyday I woke up in the morning looking forward to watching new episodes… but the more and more excited I grew about the show, the more and more miserable I grew in general, the more I’d cry myself to sleep at night because I was tired of being chained down, the more I started inwardly screaming, “I WANT OUT OF THIS PRISON. I WANT OUT OF THIS TORTURE ROOM.”
The misery built up and up until on September 20th, I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried all morning, could barely focus on the church service or talking to other people, and any little heart-wrench made me start bawling. I was on the edge of insanity. I opened up about my situation with my dad, and he told me straight up, “If it’s causing you this much stress, get away from it immediately. Stop watching. And don’t come back until you can handle it again.” After back-and-forthing for about three hours, I gave in. And despite the fear of missing out, I cut myself off from watching the show. I walked away from the prison, my knees knocking.
And within the hour of doing so, something interesting happened….. I looked back on the past few months, back on the excitement and the anxiety that the serial gave me, and I saw something I had never seen before…. I saw God. I saw God through every moment of it. Every high and low. And I saw how much He loved me as a daughter in Christ.
I realized that all of this had a purpose. There was a reason God put me through this trial. For one thing, He wanted me to enjoy His creation. He did, after all, create each and every human being who helped put together the serial. He takes joy when I take joy in His creation; it only becomes disobedience when I hail the creation over the Creator, which is what I ended up doing. So when I disobeyed by making an idol out of the show, I’d realize what I’d done, and hail Him as Father.
Sound familiar? Like the father in the analogy, God gave me a gift He knew I would enjoy. And when I turned my face from Him and figured I knew better, He called me away from the gift. The best thing about it was, He knew this would happen. He knew, even as He gave it to me, that I would use the gift wrong and let it control me. He knew when I would get obsessed, and when I would pull myself away. And He knew that I’d come out of it with my eyes on Him. He had a plan. I didn’t see it when I was in the midst of the obsession. I didn’t realize He had a plan. I thought He’d left me to figure it out myself.
And now that I know He was there the entire time, it gives me hope. Hope that even when I don’t see His handiwork, or when I feel like I’m walking in the dark with no idea what’s ahead of me, He has me. He’s holding me. It doesn’t mean the walk will be painless, but it won’t be worthless either. Because God knows my future. He knows where my every unsure step leads. And He will use it to draw me closer to Him, whether I’m aware of it or not.
So take heart Christ-followers. In any circumstance, in all the highs, lows and midpoints, the Father has you, and the Father loves you.
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This was a different post from usual, eh? It was sitting in the back of my head for weeks and I really wanted to share my experience. If you think it was weird that I got this worked up over a show, I think it’s weird too. 😛 But it genuinely was causing problems for my mental health. The struggle was real.
Anyway, I hope you guys have been doing all right! Sorry for another absence. Lately I haven’t been quite sure what this blog will be about. If you have any ideas let me know. I will say that I do plan on doing something for Inktober so be on the lookout for that. 🙂
I’m going to close this post with a couple songs that stood out to me during and after the tribulation. “East and West” is a cry for help and a testimony of God’s boundless love. “The Strength to Let Go” is about sacrifice — letting go of pride and laying it as Jesus’ feet.
Have a good rest of your week!