Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

WHY NOT GET HOOKED?

The summer after my sophomore year of high school, my best friend said to me, “Hey, let’s get hooked on a soap opera this summer.” I sort of shook my head, and naively agreed to “get hooked” with her. Since neither of us had a job or any other important things to do, it worked out quite well for us. Sometimes we’d watch together at each other’s houses. Sometimes we’d watch alone then call each other and chat about it. It was silly really. But guess what? We were semi-sorta-kinda “hooked” for the next 15 years until the network canceled the show.

Okay, I wouldn’t really say we were “hooked,” I guess we just enjoyed this particular daytime drama. I know…this makes me sound really shallow, doesn’t it? But I suppose there are worse things to be hooked to, right?

You know, when I think of people and the many vices that have a grip on them, it makes me sad. Plus it makes me angry. And I understand part of the addiction—it’s an escape. For a brief moment, the addiction (or whatever we’re hooked to, dependent upon, obsessed with, etc.) is an escape from our reality. And reality can be a real bear, can’t it?

But the way I figure it, the more we escape reality, the more disconnected we are from real life. If we’re disconnected from real life, we’re disengaged from real living. And therein lies the danger. You see, those we know and love exist in real life. Situations and circumstances happen in real life. When we live in our created escapes from real life, we miss out on real living. People pass us by. Family members—with all their bumps and bruises—float past without our full engagement. Opportunities—even the ones that knock on our very doors—present themselves without a passing glance from us because we’re missing out on real life.

And it’s easy to do. Facebook, reality TV, smartphones, sensationalized news channels, daytime dramas, computer gaming systems, romance novels, celebrity preoccupation, pornography, drugs, alcohol, gambling, iPods, iPads, tablets, food, and all the rest. They have a grip on us. And the grip is ugly. And the grip is strong. But the thing is they provide a respite from reality. And any break from our broken, less-than-perfect lives seems refreshing.

Refreshing? Yes. Healthy? Maybe not. How do we break free? I’m not totally sure, but I think it has lots to do with prayer and living on purpose. It has to do with being intentional. It has to do with allowing the power of God to penetrate the grip on our dependencies, or their grip on us. But until we make a move, we’ll remain hooked.

Why not get hooked?

Wouldn’t it be cool if we got hooked on stuff that made an impact on others? Think of the possibilities. Why not get hooked on:

  • Praying big prayers and seeing what happens next
  • Doing random acts of kindness for people you’ve never met
  • Meeting the needs of other people—painting a room, mowing a lawn, giving a ride, etc.
  • Finding someone to bless every day
  • Paying for the meal of the car behind you in the drive-through
  • Sending notes of encouragement…in the mail
  • Having someone new over for dinner every month
  • Reading  and studying God’s Word
  • Humility, not pride
  • Mentoring a younger person
  • Finding an older person to mentor you

You see, real people exist in real life. And these real people have real junk—baggage, hurts, scars, and needs. If we’re hooked on the things that allow us to escape reality, then we’re allowing real life to skate by. Before we know it, we’ll end up being far more knowledgeable about our vices than the very people we know and love. But if we’re hooked on stuff that makes an impact on other people, our own reality begins to be more bearable.

Isn’t it time to shed the things which consume us? Isn’t it time give up reality escapes? Isn’t it time to live life, engaging in the real world with real people? Isn’t it time to get hooked?

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