Friday, September 16, 2016

how to know you've gone too far

Lewis tells us about moderation today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He calls it temperance, and he contrasts it with what most people thought of as temperance during his life: which meant not drinking alcohol. He would find the shift in word meanings frustrating... as a philologist, he was what we call "prescriptive" in his approach to word meaning. That means that he thought words "should" mean certain things and not other things. So the tendency to use the word "temperance" to mean what he calls "teetotalism" (abstaining from alcohol) is a bad thing in his mind.

But philology aside, he points to the need for all people to realize that moderation (what he calls temperance) is important in all areas of our lives, not just in alcohol consumption. He says we need to make sure we don't eat too much, or play golf too much, or dote on our dog too much.

On the other hand, it IS good and healthy to have hobbies. If you are interested in the 17 hobbies described in the pic above, go here. But hobbies are good for us.

The way we can tell when a hobby has become unhealthy (or anything else, for that matter) is how it interacts with other areas of our lives. If we like to play a certain video game, for example, that's probably not a bad thing. But if we find ourselves playing it all day long every day, ignoring our friends, family, responsibilities, and God... well, I think it's pretty clear that it's no longer healthy.

If I find myself wanting to play golf instead of going to church, that's normal. But when I actually DO that... skipping church to play golf... that's when it's no longer good for me. That's when I need to deliberately cut back on the amount of golf I'm playing.

If someone asks me to help them with something, and I refuse because it would mean giving up my hobby, then I might need to put things back in their proper places.

Hobbies are awesome! As long as they don't become obsessions.

Thank You, God, for teaching us moderation.

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