Titus 1:7-8 ” Since an overseer should be without fault as God’s managers: they shouldn’t be stubborn, irritable, addicted to alcohol, a bully, or greedy. Instead, they should show hospitality, love what is good and be reasonable, ethical, godly and self-controlled”
I’m far from perfect but each day, month or year as a Christian I try to improve. Praying hard for God to show me things in my life that He is not pleased about and give me the strength to take it away. Recently, God has revealed to me my problem on spending and so I’m focusing on materials that enlighten me on this topic.
In the recent Book Fair in SMX I was able to grab hold of a book entitled “Gotta Have it”. I was surprised to discover that Shopping wasn’t the only addiction I’m dealing with. I’m sharing it here in my hopes that perhaps you too may discover some stuff that are excessive in your life because the fact is, we all of suffer from wanting a little bit of too much of some stuff in our life. This list is not exhaustive and there are more of what you can get too much off, but for brevity sake I am listing down the most common things people struggle with.
You may wonder, most of these things are actually good. The problem starts when after feeling its benefits, we think more will make us feel better. But when It doesn’t, we keep on trying – hard. Pretty soon we are like that mouse on a wheel running and running but not going anywhere.
A. Food – Many of us turn to food not to fill a nutritional need but an emotional desire. Problem is food can’t be fill our emotional hunger. Unlike the stomach that signals fullness, emotions can is a bottomless pit.
B. Alcohol – No one drinks in the hopes to be an alcoholic. When they become one, rarely do they seek or open up about needing help about their alcohol use.
C. Caffeine – can become a security blanket removing their anxiety.
D. Electronics – Don’t get me wrong, electronics is amazing. There are lots of them, some helps you connect to people and literally places people half the world away within reach. Its so amazing that. looking back I don’t know how I managed to live without all my gadgets. The danger is when I now start to believe I can’t live without it.
Then there’s also stuff like TV that keep us entertained, but this too has a tendency to of becoming an excess specially when observing life becomes more important than living it.
There’s also the mix of both worlds like gaming, but sometimes your avatar or that character that you playr become more present, more real, more engaging than the real you. Then it becomes a problem.
E. Work – Working is good and we all need to work. Problem comes when the rewards of work become more valuable than other positives in your life, like heath, emotional well-being and your relationships.
F. Shopping – Many people use this as a way of escaping reality. Whether its having the latest electronic gadget or the hippest clothing style or hobby hardware, each purchase comes with a whispered promise: Your life will be better (believe me I know). And yes, Many times it does, but shopping becomes an excess when you feel compelled to shop even when you don’t have the time, or money or the need for the things you by. Its an excess when you start feeling deprived or anxious when you are presented from shopping.
G. Nicotine – is an addictive substance. It alters the body chemistry so that you’re different with it than without it. Without it you can become irritable, hostile, anxious, impatient or depressed.
H. Drugs – something strong enough to hep you is strong enough to harm you if not used properly. Abuse comes when these drugs are used outside their narrowly defined prescribed use parameters.
I. Exercise – Exercise should be part of everyone’s lifestyle but it becomes an excess when its position in your priority scale is so high that you’ll forgo just about everything to do it. You’ll still exercise when you’re Sick or injured, when it interferes with other responsibilities including family obligations. Its an excessity when it becomes too tightly tied to your feelings of self esteem and you feel anxious, guilty and irritable without it. When it becomes a source of inordinate pride and self-identification it becomes a problem.
J. Hobbies – by their very nature have the potential to become excessities because they are the few activities that you specifically chose to do. Everyone needs to sleep and work, basically these already fill up 2/3 of your week. Add in preparation time, travel time, and other responsibilities and you will find a small window of time for doing what you want. This is where hobbies fit into.
When hobbies don’t quite fit into that window of time, when they’re so much fun so rewarding or pleasurable that they start to expand and ooze out of that small window something has to give. When that something else is work, sleep or family responsibilities then that harmless hobby has turned into a monster.
K. Gambling – If you get hooked, this becomes a serious activity. It becomes a promise to end all your problems or at least get temporary reprieve. When gambling reaches this level it isn’t about fun anymore but the faith that with this race, this game, this throw, this hand, this time — the world will right itself and you will win once again.
L. Sex – becomes an excessity when what you want becomes more important than what God wants, what your spouse wants or what you need.
M. Relationships – can be between a parent & child or the desire to be always be in a relationship (sexual or not). People who need to be in a relationship so badly and would not tolerate being alone even for a short while.
N. Money – is an avenue for power and control. As seductive and potent as drugs. You don’ have to be wealthy to love money. Excessity in this area is not determined by the amount but on the attitude. The answer lies more in your heart than on your check book.
O. Anger – For some people, their expression of anger is important to them. Its their personal statement or protective covering. Like money, anger is a conduit for power and control. Usually, angry people get what they want. Most people will give in to the demands of angry people just to pacify them. Because of this, anger has the potential to be your go to emotion when things don’t go your way.
P. Guilt – Guilt says, you don’t need to hurt me, I’ll hurt myself. Through this, guilt seeks to control the level of pain. Guilt is a way to make yourself responsible for the pain in your life.
1. Which of these are you guilty of? or maybe its not in the list?
2. Why are they never enough? Each one covers up a need in your life. You can’t get to your real need until you go through the process of uncovering the truth.
Lets see if you’re really a candidate of “Excessity” via these questions: ( Note – You don’t need to answer yes to all to be guilty)
Here are my addictions:
- Do you eat when not hungry?
- Do you sometimes eat till you feel physical discomfort?
- Do you regularly feel guilty after you eat?
- Do you think about food continually during the way worrying about what you’ll eat, when you’ll eat and how much you’ll eat?
- Are you dissatisfied with your body, how much you weigh and how you look?
- Is a cup of coffee in the morning a must?
- Have you felt jittery and restless during the day?
- Do you drink coffee during the day to keep alert and fight off being sleepy?
- Does your use of caffeine interfere with your ability to go to sleep at night?
- Do you find yourself anxious or nervous unless you have access to your cellphone or your computer?
- Do you regularly spend more time than you planned accessing electronic device, either to keep up with messages or to play games?
- When you choose to be online often rather than be with people?
- Do you regularly spend more when shopping than you mean to?
- Do you buy multiple items when you really just need one?
- Do you hide your purchases or your receipts?
- Do you often take back the things you purchase?
- Would you rather go shopping than do just about any other activity?
- Do you exercise more than 6 days a week?
- Do you become irritable if you’re not bale to exercise more than a few days?
- Do you continue to exercise when when your significantly injured or in pain?
- Do you become annoyed if someone asks you to do something that interferes with you ability to exercise even for a single day?
- Do you regularly steal time off work or family in order to engage your hobby?
- Have family members ever talked to you about how much time you’re spending on your hobby?
- Do you regularly find your self spending more time on your hobby than you originally intended?
- Do you spend more money that you’re really able to in order to support your hobby?
Here are some that might be yours:
- Have you ever felt you should cut down on drinking?
- Do you get annoyed when people questioned your drinking?
- Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever needed a drink in the morning as a way to wake up and feel “normal”?
- Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
- Do you take your work with you to bed, on weekends or on vacations?
- Have your family members or friends given up on expecting you to be on time because of work?
- Do you believe its ok to work long hours as long as you love what you’re doing?
- Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else?
- DO you need to smoke everyday to feel good?
have you seriously attempted to quit one or more times but been unsuccessful?
- Do you experience moodiness and irritability if you can’t smoke?
- Do you keep smoking even though your family or doctor has told you to stop?
- Would you avoid going out with friends or family if it is to a place designated as non smoking?
- Do you ever lose time from school or work because of gambling?
- Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
- Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
- After losing do you ever feel you must return as soon as possible to win back your losses?
- Are you reluctant to use your “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
- Do you keep secrets about your sexual or romantic activities from those close to you?
- Do you lead a double life?
Have your needs driven you to have sex in places or situations or with people you would not normally chose?
- DO you find yourself looking for sexually arousing materials in newspapers, magazines or online?
- Is it taking more variety and frequency of sexual and romantic activities than before to bring about the same levels of excitement and relief?
- Does your pursuit of sex or romantic relationships interfere with you spiritual beliefs ?
- Do you find yourself in a repeating pattern in your relationships?
- DO you find yourself in uncomfortable or anxious if you are not in a relationship?
- Do you deprive a sense of identity ad pride from you relationships?
- Is it important for you to be in control of the people you are in relationship with?
- Do you find yourself living vicariously through the people you are in a relationship with?
- Do you regularly spend time thinking abut how to make more money?
- Do you often dream about what you would do if you won the lottery or received a large amount of cash?
- Do you calculate your value based on the amount of money you make?
- Have you ever lied or cheated in order to make or keep money?
- Have you ever resented spending money on other instead of keeping it to yourself?
- Have family members or friends ever questioned you about your temper?
- Do you find that you are often irritated, annoyed or frustrated over other
- people, circumstance or life in general?
- Do you often critique other people or situations?
- Do you feel more empowered when you are angry?
- Do you regularly regret things you say when you’re angry?
These excessities act as a warning system. They alert us of unmet needs in our life. Whenever we engage in excessities, there a true need at the core of that behavior. The problem comes from how we choose to to fill those needs. Using excessities may never fill those needs.