I am the LORD your God . . . You shall have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:2,3 (NIV)
My downfall began when I downloaded a Scrabble application on my Kindle.
“Just one game a day,” I told my husband. “To unwind.” I insisted I played for love of the game.
Soon one game a day became two, three, four . . . one right after another. And it didn’t serve to relax me. Instead, I got more wound up. If I lost, I kept playing until my winning percentage was 93 percent. I checked the statistics after every game.
Then I discovered Scrabble on Facebook. I started with three Scrabble buddies—real people—one game going on with each at one time. For love of the game.
Now I have seven games going on at once, three with one opponent who’s already nudged me out of first place in the ratings.
Ratings, you ask?
Yes, ratings. When I first started playing Facebook Scrabble, no record was kept of our wins and losses. When I lost, I felt thwarted, but started a new game—for love of the game. It was good for me not to know my win-loss record. It was bad enough that I booted up my computer the first thing in the morning. Many days Facebook Scrabble usurped my quiet time and then some. If my Scrabble buddies were online, it was lunchtime before I knew it, and I hadn’t done anything else all day.
Then a ratings list appeared at the bottom of the Facebook Scrabble board. I was in first place! Soon I wasn’t playing for love of the game anymore. The challenge was there, but the fun was gone, as were friendly feelings toward my opponents. I realized that Scrabble—or those darn ratings—bring out the evil in me.
They say the first step in any recovery program is admitting your problem.
I’ve realized my addiction isn’t to Scrabble— or any game for that matter. I’m addicted to winning.
So I’ve determined to cut back on my Scrabble time, limiting myself to one game a day on my Kindle, win or lose, and take one turn a day with each of my Facebook Scrabble buddies. I set a goal to place fifteenth in the ratings. Right now I’m second, 58 points behind the opponent who started three games with me, and 18 ahead of another challenging opponent.
That’s exactly how the enemy of our souls works: Using something we enjoy to ensnare us. My “love of the game” morphed into “cutthroat.”
I could blame the ratings. I could say the devil made me do it. But the truth is, I am the one who chose to let something else take first place in my heart and life.
First place belongs to God. And only Him.
Thank you, Father God, for always guiding me back to You, no matter how long or how far I’ve strayed. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Mark 9:42–50