Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Not terribly long ago my husband and I got into a fight. Not a fistfight, a marital spat. I knew we had come to a new place in our relationship when, as we were too angry to speak to each other and went our separate ways for a time, (and we didn't know what each other was doing) he chose to go outside and sharpen my lawn mower blades for me. I chose, in his absence, to practice a song on piano I was learning to surprise him with on Father's Day. I know, kind of like "Gift of the Magi"--somewhat.
I remember back in the day we had made a meager attempt at marriage counseling. We were taught about "fighting fair" and not to use "always and never" statements. I am not a fair fighter. I have a lethal tongue. That is to my shame. It is only the Lord Jesus who could have arranged the circumstances to bring blossoming goodness where there used to be such venomous spite.
Back in the marriage counseling period I was in therapy myself. I did get one really good insight in that psychologist's office. I don't think I even told her about it. It was a mental image I had of what the problem really was. The vision was a vast darkness with unending spiraling tunnels of black and grey. The tunnels, I knew, were what was wrong with me. There was no end to it.
At the time it was kind of a freak out but also in a way depressing. There was no amount of counseling that could get to the root of my brokenness. I didn't know at the time that God was giving me a picture of my sin.
A couple days ago I punched a link in a junk email I knew I shouldn't have. I do not know why I did this. Temporary utter stupidity. Anyway, I immediately ran a scan on my computer and then my computer just shut itself down. Oh no. After all these years of being so careful, I had finally done it. I turned it back on and tried to run the scan again, and it shut down. Argh. This was only 10 in the morning and I knew I would have to wait until my husband got home to deal with it, leaving me in a heightened state of anxiety for several hours.
During this interval I had some time to think. I have recently been lamenting to my friends the fact that I am on the internet far too much. In truth, it has become a sinful habit. Not that I'm doing anything inappropriate--if you don't consider ignoring your kids, your work, your marriage, your relationship with God inappropriate. I had prayed about it several times. I had tried to devise time limits for myself, but that never worked. It was just like a diet. But now, here this thing had happened--I had contracted a computer virus, and I figured that perhaps it was something God had allowed to happen for my good.
I don't like to make huge mistakes without learning something from them. I thought, I prayed, "Okay, what can I take from this? LORD, Please help me because I don't want to make some lame promise like, 'If my computer doesn't actually have a virus I'll only use it for 20 minutes a day,' which is not actually addressing the issue." That morning I knew I should have been spending time with God first, but I was farting around on the internet, with my Bible pushed aside. Now hear this: I was not viewing the situation as God folding His arms looking down at me with disdain. I was rather seeing it as an opportunity He was giving me to flee from the self-created prison of addiction to going online.
And here is the original thought that came to me, I'm pretty sure, not from myself: What if I only used the computer in a manner consistent with honoring and glorifying God? That was it! Perfect! That made it all so very clear. It's okay to shop, but to a proper point. It's okay to email, or even facebook, to some extent. The line does not seem hard to see. I know when I'm wasting time, or money, or my brain. I know when I'm not tending to who or what I should be. THANKS LORD!!!!
So, it turns out I did not have a virus after all. I had just switched tablecloths and I think the laptop was sucking this one up causing it to overheat--that is my theory. But I am absolutely convinced that it was all happening in God's providence. Here's the proof: Last night, after all this, a friend told me my son had something hilarious posted on his wall. So I checked it out. He had not written anything wrong, but his several friends' comments took it to a place that was, let's just say, not really honoring and glorifying God. As I found myself beginning to snicker, I showed it to my husband, who was like, "gross." Then suddenly, I got this bizarre black error message screen I had never seen before...and I realized that God was helping me again.