My son got a PS3 for Christmas. It has been a major controverisal issue in our family, the not allowing gaming consoles in and such. My DH has not allowed any type of game, though computer games have made their way through the "No Fly Zone." We learned quickly how addictive they can become, and we struggled for a time with our son, who picked "Call of Duty" as his number one obsession. We took the computer away, forbade him to play at friends, etc., and generally tried to manage his game addiction. It wasn't until last year that my son finally stepped up to the plate and took control of his gaming interest. In the ensuing months, he has moderated his time, choosing other interests instead of the games, and mostly has beaten his obsession with them. This whole matter was my doing, really. I talked DH into getting a PS1 years ago, but back then our son wasn't really interested in games at all. I gave in when our son begged me for Battlefield 1942, which he had played at a friends house. I bought it for him when he was 12, and well the rest is history.
Over the course of time, these games have functioned in more ways than simply to divert his attention. He has made online friends (which is a bonus since he is an only child). He has learned an amazing amount of programming language, even to the point of working as a contract programmer from time to time. He has also built games for his friends, and has one particular game that is very popular now (gamers play it from all over the world, and email and contact him for bug/problem fixes). Though he plays the games in team match (with other players), he uses this time for social/friendships. It is a weird thing to consider that he has made friends around the world, and that they share interests like this. I guess it is how social friendships work in the 21st century.
Since he demonstrated great restraint, and was able to hold down a part-time job this fall, I decided to purchase a PS3 for him. He has wanted one since they came out, and has championed their benefits (outside of games) for a long time. Now that I am able to buy things based on my own opinion, and I don't feel compelled to say no because my DH thinks this or that, I am more open to accepting ideas and weighing the consequences. The console was purchased as a surprize gift, and my son has used it well. He has enjoyed playing with his friends online, moderated his time, and generally had a lot of fun with it. It is so hard to be the only one of a social group without these things, especially when you are 17-18 years of age.
Today, we are going to Best Buy to get a headset. I guess it is necessary so he can talk with his friends online. He plays with two other teens from Northern AZ, and then when he is on the computer, he plays with other teens and young adults who live all over the world. We have never had issues with sexual predators, which was why we didn't indulge his interest at first. We never had problems with any kind of involvement at all, and my son has made nice friends. I think it has to do with his church activities, and the fact that he was home schooled. He is well-grounded, very devoted to God, and seeking to serve Him. The games are a social outlet, and something he finds relaxing. I used to draw when I was his age; he plays games. I think we have finally put them in their proper place, and are using them as they were designed to be used: for fun, for friendship, and for relaxation.
Speaking of the above, I realized today that my life is about to take a drastic change. As we head into 2011, I am positioned now for full-time work. I have blogged about working for almost a year, but in that time, I have not gotten very far down the "getting hired" road. I have cited many reasons, but now understand that I was not ready to work in the job the Lord had in mind for me. He needed me to understand His plan for my life, and how He works in it and through it. The job couldn't take priority over His work, and until I was of the same mindset as His Holy Spirit, I wasn't getting closer to full-time work. In truth, I have viewed the "job" as the end-all and be-all of my life. It was the one thing I needed to get me over this hump, and out the door and on my own. I couldn't do it with a job, and therefore, the job was my focus.
Recently, I have come to understand things better, and to realize that the job was not just to provide income, but that the job was to prepare me, to train me for His work. He has a work for me to do, a specific thing, and I am working towards it. I am going to graduate school as part of this preparation, and the job will provide training for me as well. It has to be a specific job, and not just any job. I can work in any job, and I can earn money, but that is not the Lord's directive. I have been told to wait for a specific kind of job, and that timing required patience on my part. God was working to move me, to change me, and to help me understand what He wanted from me. I was slow to grasp the signficance of waiting, and slow to understand how the practical and spiritual worked together. I get it now, and I understand what He is doing. I am ready to take the job of His choosing, and I know that it will be hand-selected for His purpose and work.
This means that I am set, I am ready, and I am waiting for Him to release this job to me. He has it ready to go, and I now get my part in it all. He has always said to me "Carol, just do the work you are assigned to do." He says this often, and it doesn't matter if it is in relation to Macy's, school, or home stuff (parents, DJ, shopping, etc.) God gives us purposeful work to do each day, and we are to be obedient to do it. Whether we are washing clothing, burping babies, tending sick children, or running errands -- we are doing the work God has assigned to us. The work will change too, as our children grow or our parents age. The work may include outside of the home work too. It may be a full-time or part-time job. It may be like in my case, a job that will prepare and train us for ministry. The work is immaterial -- the attitude and willingness everything. We are to do our assigned work cheerfully, and as unto the Lord. This brings Him Glory, and we receive blessing for our obedience.
I got my signals mixed up there for a long while, and I thought the work was everything. I focused on the dailyness of my home, my life, my work, etc. I didn't see them as part of His overall plan for my life, and that they were simply components of His will. Now that I have my head on straight, I can do whatever work He has in mind, and do it with the right attitude. I am blessed to have received this knowledge from the Lord. It has released the burden of working, of looking for work, and of the long grind of work. I no longer think of it this way, but instead I think of it as part of bringing Him Glory, and that my part, however small, will indeed count in His great plan and commission -- in His Kingdom work. Praise God forevermore -- He is so Good to me.