Overstressed and overworked, Beau Gilmore tried to “hide from the world” through video games but found they always left him empty
As a young boy newly introduced to gaming, Beau quickly became absorbed in first-person shooters.
As an adult juggling two stressful jobs he played every evening and all weekend.
At the time Beau recalls, "I loved it. I found it almost addictive
"I was a sixth generation alcoholic, so [gaming] became addictive – basically another numbing effect to drown out life itself."
The worst side effect, Beau says, was the emptiness he felt inside.
"I felt that I couldn't relate to people anymore. It absorbed my mind and cut me off from my family," he shares.
Beau and his family had grown up going to church One day she asked him, "Why don't you see who God is and see if He can give you a purpose for living
"I blew off that question because I had rejected God," Beau .
"But I couldn't reject her next question: 'What do you think is the purpose of living?'
"That one hit me deep. I didn't have an answer."
Beau's sister gave him a Christian book to read.
"The book introduced me to a God I never thought existed," he says.
"A God who wanted to have a personal relationship with me (through faith in Jesus), who really wanted to love me, who cared about what I did and what I did to myself.
"I felt this burning desire inside of me that something out there really cared about me."
“I now have such joy in my life”Reading the Bible every morning for just 10 minutes revealed to Beau how addicted he was to gaming.
"I realised God was trying to get me away from my addictions."
Christmas Beau quit smoking our months later, he recalls, "I felt God say, 'I want your time and your thoughts. I cannot spend any more time with you if you're going to spend time training your mind how to kill people in video games"
At first, Beau was unwilling to give up his only two friends, fellow gamers like him.
A week later he decided, "I either find out who God is and find a purpose, or I stay stuck doing the same thing day in day out."
It was humbling, Beau says, to tell his online friends he was leaving video games for God.
"I spent so much time blaspheming God in front of them. They were raised in church like I was. They left because they were tired of it like I was."
His friends believed he would return, and yet, he says, "That was the last time my friends ever saw me online
"I took all of my games and gaming system," he says, "and threw them in the back of my closet."
That decision to seek Jesus, he , "was the best decision I ever made".
"I found out so many exciting things about God that I could never find on the TV screen.
"I found out that every moment, every breath I took, was a gift from God. I savoured the small moments. And it added to my life abundantly every day."
When problems came up Beau realised he did not need to turn back to his past addictions.
"God brought so much joy to my lifehen I had problems I went to the Bible, tried to find peace in it and I was richly rewarded for it.
"It finally seemed like God was giving me purpose. And to me this was the most exciting thing in the world."
Life is a fuller story now, Beau concludes.
"Each day and moment is new, because I have a purpose for living, for fighting through the trials of each day.
"I don't have to drown problems out. I can take it to God and I can have peace and joy with God."•