I binge on all kinds of things. Asian food, TV shows, music, books, projects, coffee… it doesn’t matter the substance. If I get a taste of something I enjoy, I’ll go after it until I’m sick of it. In some cases, people have tried to reassure me that it’s just me being a perfectionist – for example, if I find a TV show I like, I will start at the beginning and watch it all the way through. Even if there are ten seasons. Especially if there are ten seasons. (I’m usually late to the game with pop culture, so there are inevitably ten full available seasons before I figure out I enjoy something).
Once I procrastinated doing my homework by watching a couple YouTube channels I liked. All 420 videos in a week. My life (and schoolwork) was a wreck.
A binge (or temporary addiction) can be quite harmless in some respects. Listening to the same song or album on repeat doesn’t really affect much, except maybe your frame of mind. But usually — for me — the consequence of my addictive personality is time wasted. Sure, occasionally my punishment will be a stomachache, like when I decide Asian food is the only thing to eat for a week straight, or that chocolate and coffee is an appropriate meal.
But time is the kicker. Watching 5 episodes of that week’s TV obsession each night not only takes time away from things I should do (like dishes… I abhor dishes), it takes time away from good things that I legitimately enjoy doing. If I’m stuck on a show, I won’t read books that stretch my mind. I won’t exercise or enjoy the outdoors. I’ve found myself telling my friends, “no, I can’t come over tonight, I’m busy,” when in reality, I’m just sitting at home catching up on season 6 of Supernatural.
As you can probably tell, I’m most ashamed of my TV watching addiction. Other addictions like reading or artistic projects can be spun into something beneficial, but other than a bank of useless knowledge, I gain absolutely nothing from excessive TV watching. I should stop. Will I? Probably. But I’ll most likely move on to the next addiction.
Sometimes, temporary addictions can cost money as well. Recently I decided that since my family is scattered all around the world, I need to read stories to my nieces and nephews via video. But am I content with Skype? Oh no. I had to buy a camera. And a tripod. And a microphone. And editing software. Investments, sure – if I keep up with it. But the piles of yarn and fabric in my home from my last 2 project ventures are not good omens.
Despite my natural tendencies to jump from one thing to the next, I crave balance. I’d love to be the kind of person that works hard 6 days a week and only rests the seventh. But that’s hard work. I’d love to be the girl confident in her choices of work and entertainment without needing to jump around to what’s new and popular. But that takes strength of mind. I’d love to find that one project outside of work that I enjoy so much I can claim that one thing as my hobby. But that takes dedication.
Recognition is the first step to healing, is it not? I recognize that I have a problem. I need to ground my life and decisions in something solid, something lasting and eternal. I know of only one thing that is eternal:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” – Matthew 24:35
“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” – Deuteronomy 33:27
I’ve written about this before: this utter inability to succeed in my own power. And yet I still try? I’m rather stupid, aren’t I? I know the truth, and I run away from it. I’m like a cancer patient with 100% chance of recovery if only I accept the treatment, but because the treatment is painful I choose to suffer and die anyway.
I’ll always be weak and needy, but God gives power to overcome. More than that, He overcomes for me. Because I know this:
“He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.” – Psalm 72:13
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” – 1 Corinthians 1:27
This addictive personality of mine – it’s flawed and broken, but God can somehow fix and use it for His glory. Once I’ve surrendered, I can’t wait to see what God does with it.