I have never watched an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. In fact, whenever my grandchildren are watching cartoons and an episode of SpongeBob comes on they run to the television and say that I should change the channel. But I have learned one thing that was mentioned on the show. When I have a song that is stuck playing over and over in my head, it is called an earworm. According to one of the episodes, an earworm is a physical creature that enter one’s head upon listening to a catchy song. And then it just stays there.
For the past couple of weeks, as my brain shifts into neutral, I can hear the lyrics of a song by Jeremy Camp. This is the part of the song that is my friendly earworm:
In this obsession with the things this world says make us happy,
Can’t see the slaves we are in all the searching all the grasping;
Like we deserve much more than all these blessings we’re holding,
Then just in the past few days the picture above was recreated all over the world. The newest iPhone was released. And there were multiple stories about the widespread lines of people waiting to get their own model of the latest and best communication device.
I am not in any position to judge for anyone one else as to whether or not they had a valid reason to stand in line for hours and hours for a phone – even one touted as a technological miracle. But it did make me take pause and do some soul-searching about my own possible “obsession with the things this world says make [me] happy.”
The results of that search, which are now being made public for the first time? Well, I must admit I like dabbling with technology. I think bluetooth speakers are really cool. No wires to struggle with and I can take them almost anywhere. I say them because I do have three. But of course I need one for both of my vehicles and one for the house because, well sometimes I forget how portable a bluetooth speaker really is.
I have a Kindle Fire and I do like to read. I discovered Bookbub from which I get an offer every day of very low-cost and even free ebooks to download. So let’s see, I now am the proud owner of about 320 ebooks of various genre and authors. How many have I actually read? Well I started a lot more than I have finished.
Then there’s our vehicles of which I am attuned to the various sounds that are supposed to be there. For me a well running car or van means all is right with the world. But just let a little squeak or rattle appear and boy my mind becomes filled with all the possible $2000 dollar repairs that may be coming down the road. And like an earworm, those thoughts play over and over.
When things are going smoothly in other parts of my life, I am very happy. However, when a few bumps make their way in, my mind can become occupied with all kinds of anxious thoughts – thoughts that just go around and sround. Are these all obsessions with me?
As I wrote this I came of with three questions I need to ask myself when determining if something or someone is an obsession for me. A yes answer for me means I need to take action.
- Does this distract me from my normal pattern of living?
- Does any part of being involved with this disrupt any part of my life?
- Do I feel I need to depend on this to determine happiness in my life?
Simplistic? Many solutions seem so – to those who are not applying them to their own lives. But for me answering those three questions brings memories bubbling up of my plunge into alcoholism. That all too familiar path is one I need to avoid. So answering those questions as honestly as I can is a mandate in my life.
As careful as I need to be in quick identification of possible obsessions in my life, there is a far more important goal. In Philippians 3:14 I read I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. That goal, of course, is heaven but that has already been won for me. Jesus perfect life and death opened heaven. And through the faith that comes to me through the Holy Spirit the Bible, heaven is mine.
But, I still need to run the race while I am alive; a race in which I am compelled to show my Savior how thankful I am for all he did for me. I need to run that race in such a way that potential obsessions are arrested before they spring to life. I need to run that race as such a clear a response for my Savior’s love that others cannot help but notice.
Even as on my own, I cannot fulfill the mandate of answering those three questions above with complete honesty, neither can I run that race as just described. That strength comes through Jesus who gave his life and now powers my race to serve him.
So earworms may annoy me at times, but if I listen, they can be useful. Which reminds me, there was more to that song which I will share. But first, I invite you back to my continuing journey in following my Savior as he leads. I will wait you.
So come and empty me, So that it’s you I breathe
I want my life to be, Only Christ in me
So I will fix my eyes, ‘Cause you’re my source of life
I need the world to see, That it’s Christ in me – That it’s Christ in me
Christ in Me – Jeremy Camp Sparrow/Universal 2015