Wednesday, July 22, 2009


How does one waste the days of his or her probation? Turning to sin is surely part of it, but there is another, more subtle way, a way that may not seem evil at all [....] One of the ways Satan lessens your effectiveness and weakens your spiritual strength is by encouraging you to spend large blocks of your time doing things that matter very little.

M. Russel Ballard, Be Strong in the Lord

Escapism has been on my mind today for a couple or reasons. First, I read an article in the Ensign about the addictive nature of online role-playing games. It isn't available on the internet yet, but if you're interested, it is called "Just a Game? by Charles D. Knutson and Kyle K. Oswald, August 2009 Ensign. Second, I had the stomach flu yesterday, and since I could not stand up without feeling nauseous, I ended up watching a lot of T.V.

The truth is, I loved it... at least the T.V. part of it. Jeremy and I found a show we hadn't seen before that was both fun and clean, and watched a bunch of episodes in a row. I have found myself wanting to watch more today. But I know that wouldn't be wise.

While I am not tempted to take up online role-playing, television happens to be one of my weaknesses. In college I went through a stressful period when I watched way too much T.V. I would come home from class, grab some food, sit down, and watch a show. If it was good, I would watch another one because I wanted to hold on to that happy, relaxed feeling. If it wasn't that good, I would watch another one because I hoped the next one would be better. In either case, I would stand up from the television, hours later, feeling unfulfilled.

I regret now all the time I lost, when I could have been learning, serving, and solving some of the problems that made me so stressed.

This can happen with a lot of things. If we let them, even harmless activities can gobble up our time and take away our independence. Sometimes it is good to escape for a while into a good book, a shopping trip, a T.V. show, or a computer game. But, we will not be self-reliant if we do not have the time to take care of all the necessary and mundane details of life. We cannot serve others if we are too busy escaping to face our own problems. And, we cannot keep our finances in order if we spend recklessly on shopping and entertainment.

In the end, no escape can substitute for the peace that comes through turning to the Savior. We still have to work to solve the problems in our lives, and we will never find happiness without putting forth earnest effort, but the Savior promises:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11: 28-30

Through Him our efforts will have meaning, and our peace will be real and lasting.

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