Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Follow Through... Kind of

For years I've wanted to eliminate television from my life. In my heart, I'd prefer to live life rather than to just watch... stuff. But that stuff is just so interesting. It's bad enough with great drama, humor that makes me forget the stress of the day and thrilling mysteries, then you've got "reality" tv. Ugh, I would never realize the dream. But last year, around May, I just hit my limit. We had narrowed down to just a few shows but I was a slave to them. Survivor ruled Thursday nights. LOST was a must see. I began to get sucked into The Good Wife. There were others, CSI (which really, I didn't even like), Dateline, Bones, and more. Each one kept me up later than I wanted to be, making me tired and mildly dysfunctional the next day. I would be disappointed that the time Andrew and I had together was spent engrossed in entertainment rather than something more enriching. And, I was frustrated by all the extra messages that were being sent to my mind and heart through the shows themselves and commercials. As the kids were getting older, I didn't want them to see much of what was on after 8pm and, since they were still up, I was aware of a need for a choice. So, as the shows ended their seasons one by one I just stopped turning the TV back on. Eventually, there was no evening TV and only occasionally some PBS shows for the kids.

I noticed some things happening right away. Oddly I would go to bed when I was tired, not when the show ended. Who knew!! I finished a few books that were sitting on my shelf for too long. And, I replaced TV with... dum da da dum... internet time, specifically Faceb**k. What? Isn't this supposed to be some glorious post about how I'm out there living life with no TV? Sorry to fail you, I'm human you know. I love the connection that Faceb**k allows me to have without having to worry that it's too late at night to call or that I may have to cut you off just in the best part of our conversation because someone or something needs me. It's a quick peek into other people's lives when I need a break from my own and it's an outlet for my witty thoughts and comments which might be lost on my younger crowd. (ok I might be stretching a bit on that last one.) But really there is an addiction factor to it, too.

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked: who can know it?

Oh, I'm not saying Faceb**k, the internet or even television are "wicked" necessarily. I absolutely do not want to argue the value, or lack there of, of any of it. This is simply about a calling, if you will, for me to minimize these outside sources of input in order to hear God more clearly. My point is the natural drift that occurs in my life because of a heart that is untrustworthy... wicked. The temptation to fill the time I've opened up with more and more... stuff. (I'm like that with clutter, too, but that's a whole other post... or two!!). You may know the verses in the Bible that go something like this, what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do, I do it. The passage ends like this in the NIV:

Romans 7:21-25
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who
will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature
a slave to the law of sin.

In this stage of my life, with the kids at the ages they are, and Andrew's work schedule as it is, I've found my quiet time with God is at night. In the past I have fought and fought trying to fit in time to read His Word and have moments of worship and prayer, constantly battling interruptions or other draws for my attention. The time was there all along, I was just filling it up with... stuff. Do you see the war waging there? I want the time up yet I keep filling it!

I think the critical turning point came when I stopped trying to turn away from something, TV time to start with, and began desiring time with God even more. I have longed for time with Him, I have prayed that I would long for it even more, enough so that priorities would align themselves appropriately. Slowly, time with the Lord, reading with the kids, even quietness, are becoming more attractive than the alternatives that were so hard to deny in the past. I honestly don't miss television, which I have not been able to say in the past. In fact, recently our connection to the converter box was broken which means the ability to watch our four stations is now not an option. I have to chuckle, it happened at the perfect time! No big deal, I'm not missing anything.

And so, I continue on this pilgrimage, winning some, losing some... losing lots, but I feel pretty good about the TV deal, like I actually followed through on something... kind of. Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

WOW! Great reminder why we don't have anything but antenna tv. I was just telling R that I can't wait to have cable again, there is so much I feel like I am missing when family and friends atart talking about things. However, now I am reminded that my simple life of reading and spending that time in the evening with my children doing homework and reading past their previous years bedtime is much more precious then tv. We have 1 show, ONE, that we watch every week and that is Parenthood. More so because it hits close to home. Thanks for the reminder that we are happier and in a better place not having one and two shows a night to watch. The quality time is inmeasurable.

Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff