The teacher was talking, but what was I doing? I had my computer sitting open in front of me during English class and was trying to level up in my favorite game. I couldn’t help playing; I was addicted.
At first it seemed fun. But soon my teachers caught on, and I started getting in trouble. That’s when I realized something had to change.
From the time I was a little kid in the Christian Science Sunday School, I’ve learned I can always ask God for help with anything; I’ve also learned how to pray so that I get answers and find healing. But at first, the thought of praying about this addiction felt like a joke. It seemed so silly to pray about gaming.
As I thought about it more, though, I remembered Jesus’ promise “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). I realized that what I was really praying about was freedom. Even though I felt like I enjoyed gaming, when I reflected on it a little more, I got this picture in my head of myself as trapped. Like no matter what I tried to do, I couldn’t break this habit. I thought about what the opposite of that would be, and I realized it was the freedom to experience the fact that because God is the only real power, gaming couldn’t have any power over me.
I loved this idea of finding freedom, so I decided to look up what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, says on the subject. One idea I really liked was, “Denial of the claims of matter is a great step towards the joys of Spirit, towards human freedom and the final triumph over the body” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 242). This passage helped me understand that while it felt like I needed to game, I could actually deny, or challenge, that feeling because I am spiritual—I can’t be affected by any impulses, thoughts, or “claims” that are based in materialism or self-gratification. I also realized that challenging these impulses actually had a payoff: I would find more joy in loving God and feeling strong and free than I ever could when I was gaming.
While it felt like I needed to game, I could actually challenge that feeling because I am spiritual—so I can’t be affected by any impulses that are based in materialism or self-gratification.
I found another passage that helped me: “Ages pass, but this leaven of Truth is ever at work. It must destroy the entire mass of error, and so be eternally glorified in man’s spiritual freedom” (Science and Health, p. 118). I knew the truth was that God did not make me with a need to be gaming constantly. And I was relieved to realize that Truth’s power, not my own willpower, would destroy this destructive desire so I could feel my spiritual freedom.
As I prayed more and more about freedom, I got a deeper understanding that gaming didn’t need to have—and actually couldn’t have—any power over me. As this realization dawned, I felt the stress of having to earn the best score lift off my chest. It was a huge relief!
Although gaming seemed fun when I was doing it, it turned out to be short-term fun that ended in negative consequences. The freedom I’ve found, though, has brought me more consistent happiness—happiness that isn’t controlled by a game.
Since this healing, I haven’t felt the need to game either in class or on my own time. I’m finding more time to do constructive things, and I feel a lot less stress. Now I know that understanding the truth about God and how He made all of us is the highest “level” I can ever achieve, and this has brought me so much peace and freedom.
Originally appeared online in the teen series: Trending - February 25, 2021.