Get back up.
We lose our way, we get back up again…
— tobyMac (new single “Get Back Up”)
I had a bit of a revelation last night while going through my almost-nightly “OMG praise God for bringing an end to this day” detox session.
Actually, let me backpedal a bit. Hi! Been a while since I really posted anything of substance, hasn’t it? I think after I came to the decision that Jenn and I will start a new blog together after we get married, I lost a lot of interest in keeping this one updated. Is that going to change? Prob’ly not. But this really is something weighing heavy on my heart, so we’re gonna pretend for today.
Okay, fast forward to the past couplethree weeks. Long story short, a whole lot of crap has happened to me recently. Just within the past two weeks or so:
* My laptop was stolen out of my bag at work.
* My iPhone was completely erased while trying to sync it with the “loner” netbook that my mother has been gracious enough to share with me.
* I did something to my right shoulder back on Jan. 31st that has resulted in very annoying and persistent pain going from my shoulder blade down to my elbow ever since then.
* I dropped my iPhone and broke yet another case.
* Got a pretty yucky sinus infection last week that resulted in me missing half a day of work and two nights of school.
* The back door on the driver’s side of my car would not close securely yesterday, resulting in me having to find a ride to work and being thirty minutes late.
The grand prize of this whole mess is me being within a hairsbreadth of finding the nearest cave and hiding in it until the Rapture. Until last night. Like I said before, I had a bit of a revelation. This is prob’ly something that would’ve come to other folks I know in a more timely fashion, but heck, I’m just glad it finally dawned on me.
In this day and age, what do you think when someone says, “The devil is at work here?” For me, personally, that reminds me of when I had Dr. Allan Saxe for Texas Government a couple years back. He had a habit of mouthing off some hilarious-yet-terribly demeaning jokes that were guaranteed to offend every culture/gender/species in attendance at least once every evening. After he would blurt out such a joke, he would clap his hand over his mouth, then comically say, “I am so sorry. The DEVIL made me do it!”
I think this is a pretty dang good example of how people look at the devil’s influence these days. It’s hilarious. It’s not real. People have control over their own destinies, and there’s no sulfur-sucking freakshow doing this stuff to me, right?
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
— 1 Peter 5:8
So, is the devil at work in my life right now? Could be. It’s possible he’s trying to distract me from the most important things right now: God, Jenn, and school. He’s using what I like to call R&D. Not research and development, not raspberries and donuts (though that would probably work just as well as everything else he’s been doing to distract me), but Ruses and Deceptions. Stuff keeps getting thrown at me to distract me from focusing on getting stuff done for school, plus it’s distracting me from continuing to nurture my relationship with Jenn as we prepare to get married. Not to mention the fact that my laptop got stolen from me shortly after I just started doing some serious graphics work for my church.
What if it’s the other way around, though? What if God is T&B‘ing me? Okay, sorry, too many letters&letters. Testing and Blessing me.
The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
— Deuteronomy 13:3b
We know God tests us. It’s part of the whole deal. So it’s totally possible that this is just another test of faith by Him.
But at the same time, I can also see some of this stuff as a real blessing. Well, two things mainly. I mean, breaking my iPhone case was somewhat of a blessing, because it resulted in me getting an even sweeter case for about half the price of the last one. But anyway, the two things I think of as a blessing in disguise were probably the two worst things on that list up there: My laptop getting stolen and my iPhone getting wiped.
A little over three years ago, when I first started dating Jenn, I was on the tail end of a serious addiction to World of Warcraft. I realized shortly into our relationship how much of a detriment that addiction was to our quality time together, so I closed my account and I haven’t been back since. I thank God every day for that, because it was His way of intervening before I became a hardcore gamer and wasted my life away in that crappy old apartment, eating Jack in the Box tacos every night and playing WoW.
But then my laptop was stolen, and being without it has made me realized that said addiction wasn’t quite out of my life. For a short while after the incident, I was suffering from (and I apologize, because I know this sounds a tad melodramatic) my own personal equivalent to phantom limb syndrome. Over the past four or five years, I had turned that laptop into another appendage. If I needed anything, I knew that my laptop could help me. And so when my laptop was stolen, well, you can guess how I reacted. Devastated, completely and utterly. I was seriously depressed, like I had no idea how I was going to do just about anything in life without that laptop.
Then my iPhone did it’s thing, and that just made me feel crappier. What the heck was going on with my stuff!? I was getting pissed. My usual methods of communicating and general “doing stuff” were rebelling on me. How am I going to function without a working iPhone and a laptop that’s been taken from me?
Then, after the 800th time that thought crossed my mind, I finally realized just how absurd it was.
How am I going to function without Facebook? Twitter? Photoshop? Office?
See where I’m going with this?
The devil may be taking advantage of the situation by trying to distract me by worrying about all this stuff. But GOD is waking me up from this technologically-induced state of dependency. Through the theft of my laptop, He’s giving me an NCIS-caliber smack on the backside of the head and going, “HEY. Quit it.”
I don’t NEED this stuff. It’s nice to have, yes. But if it’s gone, then it’s gone. There is absolutely no reason for me to get so sad about not being able to get online. My laptop was not another arm, it was just a tool. A tool that I had a bad habit of getting too absorbed in using. And I needed to learn my lesson about getting too far into it.
So, where do I go from here? Do I shun technology? Do I sell my iPhone?
Pff, no. :-) I need to remember that the key is to not let myself get absorbed. I’m not missing out on anything epic if I don’t login to Facebook whenever I have down time. I don’t need to tweet every other thought I think or action I… act.
Granted, losing my Photoshop sucks, because I was just getting started on doing some fun stuff for my church. But it’s okay, because I know I’ll still be able to help whenever I can.
As I look back on all this now that I’ve typed it out… man, it looks really silly. In the grand scheme of things, of all the terrible stuff going on in this world, my biggest problem right now is getting over losing a computer. But hey, the little victories in life at just as nice, right? A win is a win, and anything that helps me clear out the clutter, get closer to God, and focus on what’s REALLY important in my life (ie. marrying the girl of my dreams) is a tremendous victory, as far as I’m concerned.
All I have to remember is that it’s just stuff. This stuff, I can live without. This stuff, I can lose without breaking my heart. Being without this stuff will not keep my life from going on. Stuff, I don’t need.
What I do need is my Lord. What I do need is my beautiful fiancée. What I do need is to finish school so I can make a better future for my wife and me.