Self Discipline

For some time now I have been gripped with an obsession.  It’s called web paint by numbers, a puzzle system where you click squares in a grid based on a series of numbers for each column and row.  It’s kind of like Suduku in that it requires some thought to complete it.  Some are easy, some more difficult.  You can check it out for yourself.  Seems kind of harmless.  Gives your mind a workout.  Better than some mindless shoot em up.  Right?

I have played this game for several years telling myself it is good for my brain and I’m only doing it for random thirty minute stretches.  The problem is the thirty minutes can drift into an hour or two or three.

But web paint by numbers is not my only problem.  I get to work real early because I hate morning traffic.  I’m in the habit of playing three kinds of solitaire every morning and then reading some personal e-mail.  Well I got a new computer recently and don’t have those solitaire games anymore.  So…  I found this really challenging on line jigsaw puzzle site.  That’s the thing about the internet.  You can always find a way to soak up your time.

My wife was going to be out of town for a week and I was in real danger of spending a vast number of hours painting by numbers or playing solitaire or working jigsaw puzzles. So I decided to try something new.  Self discipline. I determined that I would not spend any time on any of those perfectly harmless but pointless diversions.  And I did it.  An entire week cold turkey.  And here’s the thing.  I’m afraid to go back.  I feel like alcoholics must feel.  I’m afraid that one game of wpbn (web paint by numbers) or solitaire or a jigsaw puzzle and I’ll be hooked again.

Is there anything wrong with those diversions?  No.  Well maybe not for most people.  But for me…  An extended stretch of those games leaves me feeling depressed, useless, lifeless.  And I’ve come to realize something.  I can get a lot done in thirty minutes.

I can write a post in thirty minutes.  I could keep two or three or four blogs going at the same time.  I should be able to post once a day no problem.

I can write one scene in a short story.  John Grisham wrote a best seller novel by getting up an hour early each day (and not playing games).  Could I write a novel thirty minutes at a time?

I think about how bad I feel when I play those games.  The thing about this writing, blogging, posting thing is it makes me feel good.  It’s not pride or anything.  After all I’m not getting many looks.  No danger of me turning up on Freshly Pressed.  But still it makes me feel good.  Makes me think of that quote from Chariots of Fire.  ‘When I run I feel His pleasure.’  I guess that’s one of the ways we know we’re on the right track.  We feel His pleasure.


About Angus Lewis

My wife and I lived our whole lives in Arkansas until ten years ago. We moved to the Kansas City area in 2011 (a job change). That was the reason for the 'From a Far Country' title. Our children and grandchildren were in Arkansas. Six months ago we sold our house and bought one in Sherwood, Arkansas and my wife moved back down here. Two weeks ago I retired and moved back too. (I'm probably going to try to find something part time to keep me out of trouble.) So maybe the 'From a Far Country' title is not so much of a fit anymore. But I think I'll stick with it. I'm still not home. Not yet. The Bible says we are all strangers and pilgrims here. Our real home is with God and some day we'll be there. We'll be home.
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