Moderate: (v.) to reduce the excessiveness of; make less violent, severe, intense, or rigorous.
My husband is playing a video game right now.
For those of you who are down on video games, you’d have to live with a responsible pseudo-gamer to understand that playing games for him is the equivilant of a 5 mile run, a steaming bath, two glasses of wine (or 3), 18 holes of golf, insert your relaxation drug of choice. The fact is, occasionally my husband just needs to escape to a different world and perform various acts of adventure with a sword or a gun or a bow and arrow. He needs to figure out a maze, turn the right key in the right door, and defeat the bad guy. In short, it relaxes him. And believe me- I need him relaxed!
Me? Not so much. Videogames get me WIRED. Videogames (or at least videogames that I really get into, because I DO get into videogames!) bring out a part of me that would put the most passionate game-addict to shame. The competitiveness, the perfection, the challenge, the brain stimulation, the adrenaline rush. Whatever it is, if I start playing a video game I have a very hard time stopping. Until. It’s. Done.
For those of you who know me, you probably don’t believe this. But here are some facts about my life and videogames:
I am a Tetris master. (ok, not officially, but I’ve been WELL beyond level 19 on the NES)
I played Sonic the Hedgehog for Gamegear until I beat it AND found all the Chaos crystals.
I loved Mortal Combat.
I once played Solomon’s Key. On the computer. In Thailand. With the cheats. For 8 (eight) hours straight until I beat it. I was newly married at the time… and then nearly divorced. (just kidding, but it was then that he learned of my problem and never let me play Solomon’s Key again)
I got “Where’s My Water?” free on my Kindle fire just to try it… and I beat it that night. (read 3 a.m.)
In other words, I have a problem with moderation in some areas of my life. I like to keep tabs on my addiction issues and avoid triggers at all costs. Needless to say, you will not often see me playing video games. I love them. I enjoy them. But what did Shakespeare say? “Know Thyself!”
Unfortunately, some triggers cannot be avoided.
Projects that I really get into, for example- think DIY projects, crafts, reading, scrapbooks, painting, writing a blog (trigger!!)- anything that gets me drawn into a train of thought that I know will be hard to come back to if I’m away from it for a time. These are the worst because I love, love, love LOVE to do them but I have this horrible habit of getting so wrapped up in them that all the world disappears. If I don’t pay attention, I won’t eat, I won’t sleep, the Pickle will go hungry, the husband will have no clean clothes. Things get really bad if I get too deep into something.
Which is why I believe that moderation is SUCH an important practice or principle or whatever you want to call it. And I have every intention of instilling it in our daughter (and to practice my own along the way!)
Currently we moderate her TV viewing. We’re not TV-free. We’d be complete hypocrites were she to ever catch us after she goes to bed staring completely absorbed into some great primetime plotline. She gets enough exposure that it’s still a novelty, but not nearly enough to make it a habit or addiction or something that is on all the time in our house.
We moderate her sugar and salt intake. She’s little. Every taste and texture is still new and exciting to her. Many have heard me simply state, “as long as I am able to control what she eats, it will be, for the most part, healthy… because I KNOW that the day will come when she will have the power to choose for herself and it will not be the best thing for her.” At that time, I hope that she has had just enough of a moderate upbringing to let her enjoy the indulgences but also appreciate (and like!) the nutrition.
There are a few things, however, that I hope we never moderate.
I hope we never moderate our love for one another. I hope it is radical and passionate and growing and changing. I hope we are eager to wake up each morning to find new ways to love each other and to show love to the people around us. Love (real love) should never be moderated, but on the contrary, should be as excessive as possible.
I hope we never moderate our faith. I love the days that I get so overwhelmed with God’s presence and fullness and blessing in my life that I miss everything else. That I don’t see the imperfect home. That I don’t worry about the mailbox of bills. That I don’t concern myself with the low money in the checking account or the lack of splurge food in the cupboards or the slightly out-of-date clothes in my closet. I hope we always see how truly blessed we are and that we never, ever limit the way that God can transform our lives every day.
And I hope we never moderate our service to and respect for other people. I’ll be the first to confess that there are days where I limit this. Where I get too self-absorbed and don’t see the needs around me or don’t take the time or make the effort to meet them. I hope we would open our eyes and be eager to serve and bless others in any way that we possibly can. Not that we would lose ourselves, but that it would simply become part of us.
So while my coffee intake could use some moderating, there are several things that I should do more passionately. Because, after all, a very small set of eyes is watching and doing everything I do- may I moderate appropriately…
And love much!