Lent 2017: Not an Unproductive Lent

Lent: Day 32 of 40
Name: Davin Lee
Lenten Commitment: Give up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a mind-numbingly repetitive and irritating video game. Unfortunately, it also happens to be incredibly addicting.

For a couple of years, I saw the people who played it as absolute losers. I often wondered why they could not spend those hundreds of Counter Strike hours on anything better – maybe a game that was actually good.

But one day, I was bored and had a bit of time to spare, so I opened CS:GO. For the next few months, I found myself constantly going back to it knowing full well that nothing would come of it except frustration over my own lack of skill and poor time management.

Other people would say “You need to practice and get better! Put some more dedication to it!” which would always upset me because it is literally pointless. The satisfaction of winning a game of CS:GO was hugely outplayed by the dissatisfaction of knowing I am throwing countless hours into the trash.

Now do not get me wrong: I do not think video games as a whole are a waste of time. Good video games exist out there. But this only made my frustration worse – Why was I wasting so much time on this one?

I know that I can get addicted to games very easily. In sixth and seventh grade, Minecraft consumed a huge chunk of my life. I realized that if I did not stop playing CS:GO soon, it would do the same. I was becoming the loser I made fun of. This did not stop me from playing though.

I needed an excuse to stop myself from playing. It was then I remembered Lent. Lent forced me to think about things; it forced me to care. It forced me to wonder: once all of my free time was eaten by this literal meaningless farce of a video game, how would I ever get out?

So, my Lent commitment was not so much about forgoing something, but more about preventing a future disaster. This was the first step of a bigger process. I thought, “I’ll worry about daily QT and all that later; for now, I need to quit playing this stupid game.”

I uninstalled CS:GO on the first day of Lent, and have not touched it since. It was a lot easier to convince myself I had better things to do than play CS:GO once I actually decided to stop playing CS:GO. Needless to say, I don’t plan on getting back into it anytime soon.

This really turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. It came to the point where I was asking myself whether I should have picked a stricter Lent commitment. 

Late into Lent, I realized that although I have more free time now, I am continuing to live a life spending very little time with God. My Lenten commitment came from a selfish heart, almost completely missing the point of the whole thing. I had started Lent off the wrong way, trying to give something up just so I could waste time on other things.

Regardless of whether I fulfilled my original commitment, I now understand that, up until now, it was an unproductive Lent. In retrospect, something like giving up a video game or something small for Lent is a very elementary step in a much bigger process of getting closer to God, whether it is to better appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice and withdrawal, make more time for Him, or anything else that would strengthen your relationship with Him.

It is so easy to miss the whole point of Lent and make little “sacrifices” that are really just minute details of a larger process that, from a bigger perspective, do not actually mean that much.

From now on, I want to keep this in my mind even beyond Lent. I do not want a date on the calendar to dictate when I think about these things and when I care. I hope that this leads me to eventually think of a Lenten commitment that will really change my life in the long run. Something that really comes from a place of wanting to get closer to God; something that can help me acknowledge and even embrace His presence wherever I go and whatever I do.

Though this year’s Lent personally seemed unsatisfactory, I would like to see it as an experience that helped me round out my perspective on Lent and the way I am living my life, as well as get the bigger picture of it all. This Lent will have to be the first step in this journey; that is good enough for me.

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