Jason's story. Freedom from depression and video games

For nearly my entire life I had an addiction to Video Games. I remember as a kid, while everyone wanted to play outside, I wanted to be inside playing games. It got in the way of school work, it got in the way of relationships with friends who didn't want to do what I was doing and it got in the way of truly living life during my childhood years and forming lasting memories like most people do. 
      But 2012 came along and changed my life. My relationship with my girlfriend, who I had been with for nearly six years at the time, had come to an end at the end of 2012. The following year I started to battle severe depression. Unhappy with so many aspects of my life, I began to lose hope and wonder if things would ever get any better. While all this was going on I continued to play video games with nearly all of my free time. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was the fact that I was spending all of my time playing video games instead of making meaningful improvements in my life was one of the biggest contributing factors to my depression. My depression had reached such a severe state that I started to entertain thoughts of suicide.
      I had been a Christian pretty much my entire life. While not always living in such a way that reflected my faith in God, I always believed in him, I always knew he was there. It was in those darkest moments of my depression that I called out to him and prayed that he would deliver me out of this mess and give me a hope. He did.
      One Sunday morning, I was laying in bed, playing video games of course and just really not wanting to go to church that morning. I was tempted to do everything BUT go to church. But my mother called me and convinced me to go, so I did. On the way there, I realized that there was probably a reason why I was so tempted to do other sinful things and not go to church that morning. There was probably something I was needed to hear that morning and Satan didn't want me to hear it. 
      I arrived at church, attended praise and worship, heard the sermon but nothing was standing out to me. No sign from God that I supposed to be there at that exact moment until after the sermon when my pastor, Alex Himaya, asked the congregation "Is there anything that you have given up to God.... and then taken back." I didn't even have to think about it. In the past, I had given up my favorite pastime as a fast but once the fast was over i went straight back to where I was. I realized that I had made a God out of video games. I had worshipped on the altar of my addiction to them for too long. It had always promised me satisfaction and a relief from my worries but it had never delivered. It was at that I felt the spirit telling me to get rid of this addiction out of my life.
      This was especially difficult to obey because I had just recently purchased an XBox One. I could've sold it and made some money but God didn't tell me to sell it, he told me to get rid of it. Besides, with the money I had earned by selling it, I could've been well on my way to just buying a new game system.
      I had struggled with what to do and even bartered with God in an attempt to be able to keep my Xbox One and still honor God. I tried to just play it less, which worked for awhile. But eventually I found myself playing it just as often as I always had. It was in that moment that I knew I was an addict. I also knew what I had to do.
      A few days later and it was my 27th birthday, it was Sunday morning and I was sitting in church. I was reflecting on my addiction and how I had not yet been obedient to God by getting rid of my addiction. I heard God say to me, "This addiction has plagued you your whole life. Don't give this addiction one more day of your life." The very next day I donated my game system to the Saint Francis Children's Hospital. As I walked out of the Hospital a few pounds lighter than I went in, I felt like the burden that had held me down for so long was finally lifted. I felt like the idol that had kept me from a closer relationship with God was finally out of my way. I began to grow closer to The Lord.
        Fast forward to where I am now, life is good. My depression is gone, I have a more satisfying job where I help troubled teens recover from behavioral issues and learn to cope with mental disorders, I'm going back to school soon and, a truly rich blessing, I've begun a relationship with a beautiful, godly woman who I'm inspired by and encouraged by all the time and whom I love.
        God delivered me from my addiction and depression but oftentimes I find that we have to be obedient to where he is calling us and what he is calling us to do. Trust in God and believe that he loves you enough to deliver you from the pit you find yourself in.
      To others who struggle with this issue, I would encourage you to realize that, whether you find yourself addicted to substances like drugs or alcohol or something like video games, gambling or pornography, when something has a negative impact on your life, it either needs to be changed or it needs to be removed. Trust that the life free from these burdens and addictions is the life that is truly worth living and it's the life worth changing for.