It was family history research that brought me to this topic of addiction. Once I’d found my husband’s grandparents, my perfectionist nature and desire for completion spurred me on to know more about their family. It was like paying them a visit! It became a daily ritual – pushing me to finish the profiles of people on my tree. If I didn’t have their death date, I’d search for it so I could tidy up that generation of names! I felt disloyal to them if I hadn’t given as much time to their details as to others in the family.
I sat at the computer for too long, even though it adversely affected my body. I was prepared to put up with pain, just to satisfy the part of me that ‘needed’ that last record in place! I sensed that God was telling me to leave the family tree, but I thought just a few minutes spent on it would be alright. Soon I could see that I was back to it again, scrolling down the pages, click, click, clicking on the lists of names that had some similarity to the ones I knew. This went on for months, with my husband occasionally saying, ‘I thought you were going to give that up?’
Pain can be a hard teacher! It doesn’t always go away once you’ve given up the cause of it. But it’s strange that I don’t have a problem working on my blog! That was God’s idea, and he knows best!
Experts say that the only behavioural addiction is gambling. Other authorities insist that video game addiction and shopping addiction are in that same category. I wasn’t interested in games, shopping or drugs, but was I any different from the usual addicts? Every time the family history website sent me an email, I couldn’t ignore a message that might contain the final small detail that would round off the ancestor’s profile that I ‘must have’?
I might feel sorry for those who can’t give up alcohol, nicotine or drugs, but was I also addicted? I see lots of mobile phones, iPads or even laptop computers attached like permanent appendages to the arms of men, women and children, calling for their attention, just as the family history called me.
A couple of Bible verses were appropriate in this situation. Did they apply to my way of life?
So since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. ~ Romans 6:16.
Here’s another: Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing what I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. ~ 1 Corinthians 6: 12. These are from the Message Bible, but for that last phrase, the Good News translation reads: I’m not going to let anything make me its slave.
I got serious about this and wondered if I wanted to be remembered as a person who was addicted to family history research or as a lover of living people? What drives me? Who rules my life? After all, self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit!
I feel better physically if I keep off the family history. What does it matter if I don’t know all their dates? For me, there are more important things to do with my time and I’m asking the Lord to help me do them! Thanks for listening!