Robert Palmer died awhile back. The news saddened me. You members of the younger set might be surprised to know that his video, Addicted to Love, was the very first big hit of the music video era. He ushered in the whole phenomenon. I never really liked that video, but I think I was addicted to it.
That video was pretty honest, I think. It didn't represent addiction to love as being exciting, or even fun — just addictive. The women in the video are not even quite alive. Addiction has sucked the very life out of them.
It's like that with all addictions. It may start out as fun, and it may continue to have certain pleasant aspects, but much of it turns out to be no fun at all.
Like my email addiction. I want someone to come into my email inbox and love me. I wind up compulsively checking my email; I wind up hitting that check email button with the inane frequency of a lab rat hitting the little button that he thinks will get the researcher to give him more cheese or cocaine or whatever it is he's been conditioned to crave.
Periodically, someone does come into my email inbox and love me. Sometimes it's someone inviting me somewhere cool like San Diego to participate in a conference. Sometimes it's an editor who likes some of my writing. Sometimes it is some random lost soul who connected to something I wrote or said along the way, and lets me know that it matters. That's cool.
Sometimes it's an ex-girlfriend from back in the day who has discovered that she never should have left me and that she does love me after all — if I could just get over the religion stuff.
Some of these types of emails are admittedly rather rare. But they do happen often enough, just often enough, to keep me strung out on that check email button.
My life, quite often, like many people's lives I suppose, is not what I had hoped it would be. I am not the person I had hoped I would be. I spend so many hours and days and weeks and months and years doing things that don't seem to be of my own choosing. And somehow along the way I got sabotaged — I got old and racked with injuries and lost most of my big bushy head of hair and the girls don't notice me anymore, not like they used to, and Young Adult Ministries has enacted age limits that exclude geezers like me from their functions and I am supposed to give a Valentine's day "Dating and Courtship" seminar even though I don't have a valentine (Blessed Virgin Mary will you be my Valentine?) and all of my relationships end in heartache with no sign of marriage in sight and my room is a mess and my files are a mess and my finances are a mess and I don't feel up to dealing with any of it; good God how did it all turn out like this?
So, what's to be done about it all? I'll check my email, and maybe there'll be some love there, and that love will salve my wounds. If I only checked it once a day, I'd have decent odds, and there might be something comforting there. But, because I compulsively check it seventy-eight times a day the preponderance of the attempts are fruitless and only serve to compound my despair.
I think Jesus gave enough love and blood on the cross to get me through this email mess. I'm sure he did. And I'm pretty well willing, in spite of all the mucked up mess of my life, I'm willing, by God yes I am willing, to let Him get me out of this.
How? You know what I think I need? I need an email prayer. If I can't stop myself from checking it compulsively, I need to habituate myself to saying a prayer when I do. That way, Satan the tempter, the liar who is beating me up with that check email button, will begin to lose much of the satisfaction of his ploy.
Maybe there's good news in my inbox, and maybe there's not — usually not.
But the longing for love is always an invitation to discover the good news that I am loved. God knows everything that I fear would keep anyone from ever loving me. He knows about my gravest weaknesses; He knows how thin is the veneer of confidence I wear when I'm out in the world. He sees it all and knows it all and He's hopelessly in love with me. He's pouring out his love for me in every moment.
I'm being drawn toward Him by my email issues. I do want some editor, seminar coordinator, ex-girlfriend who dumped me, goof-ball with fascinating problems to share with me — I do want them all to send me email missives of appreciation and love. It's okay to desire that. But it's not okay to desire only or even mainly that. My desire must be multiplied; it must far exceed those natural desires, and find its home in desire for the God of Desire.
And so, as I move my mouse arrow to the bottom of the screen to click on my email program, I practice my new prayer, "God of Desire, my desire is for you." I love that prayer. It's working such wonders in my life. When I experience desire that threatens to lead toward lust, any kind of lust at all, I no longer try to repress or turn away from that desire. I simply seek to complete it. God of Desire, my desire is for you. And it almost always sets me free.
And then, if Satan sneers at me and sends only porn spam into my inbox, I'm ready for him. And I tell him, "Look here you freak, I know who you are. And you're nothing but a two bit, small time, back alley, carnival barker, a side-show shill. I know what you're selling and I know it's a lie. And I'm not buying. I don't desire your bait and switch frauds; I know there is no life there, nothing of love but only death and despair. And it's not death and despair I desire, but the God of life and love. And he's hooking me up.
"He's promised to hook me up with real love and I know he keeps his promises (Ezekiel 36: 22-27). And I know that your name is 'the one who breaks all promises.' So, you're outa here; you wasted your time even coming around here." As a matter of fact, just to prove it, I think I'm gonna shut this whole system down and have a little peace and quiet, some time resting easy right here, in union with the one who made me this way, addicted to love.
System shutting down.
Come, Lord Jesus.