The past few weeks have been pretty tough for me. Between trying to get assignments started and the various little things that pull on my time, I’ve found that I’m staying up later, waking up earlier and generally just trying to get through day-by-day. But in the midst of all this, I want to share with you the events that have happened over the weekend just gone (25th-28th August). Over the Friday and Saturday, the Revive Conference was on – many of the workshops and main events of which I found insightful, challenging and moving. There isn’t much else to say on that – I’m still processing a lot of what I saw and heard there. However, after heading home on Saturday, I went to watch the new video from the ‘Extra Credits’ team (I’ve mentioned them before – but they’ve moved, so there’s a new link).
What I watched broke my heart. The last two weeks they’ve done episodes about Game Compulsion/Addiction. The first episode addressed the hype, and some of the issues surrounding children being completely focused on games – and they raised some really good points. The second was more challenging. In a 20 minute – two part video, one of the team shared his personal struggle with game Compulsion during High School. He spoke about in general how High Schools are often only accepting a certain type of person, and video games are often a place where the traits that aren’t accepted in High School are encouraged. There is a massively personal journey that he went through, but I won’t detail it here (watch the videos!!). I will say that it brought back aspects of my story – which goes deeper than game compulsion, but game compulsion certainly played a role in my life just a few short years ago. I won’t write it out again, but I’ve posted it on their forums – here.
His story turned out to be a happy one – life welcomed him back, he managed to break away from games, and has used the skills that he learnt while playing the games that used to be the focus of his life. But not everyone’s story end that way – he shared that his best friend from that period of his life never managed to pull away from games – whenever life offered him opportunities, whenever something got too hard he ran straight back to games, afraid that life would reject him again. This idea, this knowledge that there are people out there that life has just dumped on, who are turning to games to fill the void in their lives broke me. I teared up while watching those videos (and now as I’m writing them I’m tearing up again), and eventually broke down and cried while praying at Church on Sunday night. I wept for everyone who has ever been in that situation, and for the people who are currently wrestling with those demons. And I wept because for the first time since I started college I felt a complete clarity about where God was leading me. I am called to be a missionary to the world of online games, and I am called to minister to the broken people that cannot escape from them. I don’t know what it’ll look like, or the path that I’ll be walking along the way, but I know that this is my calling, and that God will never leave nor forsake me while I walk with him.