Why I’m Giving Up Watching TV
I absolutely love to watch TV. I always have. My mind spins at roughly 400 mph every waking minute of the day (I’m an HSP…what can I say?), so watching TV is a way for me to escape my own mind in a way. It’s numbing, comforting, and very, very time consuming.
I live alone, which I love (although I can’t wait to live with my fiancé, Riley, once we’re married!). What I don’t love is being home alone at night in complete silence. So, as a comfort, I turn on my TV. I watch hours of TV each night, which although slightly embarrassing to admit, is my reality. Even when I’m blogging, crafting, cooking, doing laundry, cleaning, paying bills, or organizing, my TV is on. (Usually tuned to TLC…)
And so, it has become noise. Constant noise. I’m not really paying attention to what’s on the screen, not really absorbing anything I’m watching. It’s just soothing to have a distraction…like a pacifier for my mind…something to turn down my thoughts and anxiety and stress.
So, do you get it? I watch a lot of TV and frankly, I love it.
But over the past few months, I’ve felt more and more convicted about the amount of time I spend each day either actively or passively watching TV, especially when I consider what I could be doing with the time I dedicate to mindless television consumption.
I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as not having enough time, only not making enough time. And the reality is that at present, I’m not making enough time to spend with Jesus. The times when my heart is steady, my mind is at peace, and I’m living firmly planted in my faith are the times when I’m spending significant intentional time with Christ daily.
So I’m turning off my TV and spending the time that I would’ve spent watching mind-numbing shows with Jesus for the 40 days of Lent.
I wish that I could say that I am super excited for the next 40 days. But honestly, I’m not. I’m responding to what I believe is a conviction of the Holy Spirit, even though my emotions aren’t excitement or joy at present.
What Lent Is, & Why I’m Choosing To Observe It
Lent makes up the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday. As a way to prepare our hearts and minds for observing Christ’s death on the cross and celebrating His world-changing resurrection, some Christians choose to fast, pray, and live more simply as a way to grow closer to God during this important time of year.
The 40 days of Lent are significant because they represent the 40 days that Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert, as described in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. During this time, Christ prayed, fasted, and overcame all temptation before He began His ministry.
Lent is a time to set aside “things of this world,” like television, for example, in exchange for heavenly things, like spending time in God’s word and prayer. Although I do not believe that Lent must be observed in order to be faithful believer, I am choosing to observe it and fast from TV as a way to open my heart and mind up to healing and intimacy with the Lord.
I was raised in a Methodist church, where we observed the Lenten season each year. I gave up some food item nearly every year of my teenage years, which although a sacrifice, was mostly because I wanted to be healthier or lose weight. (Not the heart behind giving up something for Lent!) In college, I began to change the way I looked at Lent…one year I wrote an encouraging letter to a friend every day for the 40 days of Lent. What a blessing to my heart that was!
What Boundaries & Guidelines I’m Setting
Giving up a food item is a bit more simple logistically than giving up television. No one is going to unknowingly place chocolate in my mouth, but I could very well walk into a restaurant where TVs are on. Do I walk out? Try my best not to look at the screens? Become anxious? Frustrated with myself? No, I don’t think so, because I don’t think that kind of response is in line with why I’m turning off my TV in the first place. Because of this, I’m committed to giving up TV in my own apartment only, and will deal with other uncontrollable situations as they come.
For example, next week, I’ll be with some co-workers at a conference, and we’ll share a hotel room. If the hotel TV is on at night or in the morning, I am not going to panic. My heart is to spend more time with Jesus, not to try to control every television in the United States…just the one in my living room!
Workout DVDs are okay as they are not mind-numbing, relaxing, or pacifying in any way. I mean have you tried this one? (I haven’t either…yet! 😉 ) Or this one? Actually, I would love to spend time exercising as a way to honor God with the body He’s blessed me with.
Movies are off-limits, too. I could see myself switching from live-TV-obsessed to movie-obsessed in a matter of 40 days if I don’t respect this boundary!
What I’m Hoping For
More than anything, I hope to know my Jesus’s heart better, feel His love closer, and believe His promises stronger.
I also hope to gain a clearer mind, a more peaceful heart, and a more focused spirit.
Jesus, you’ve given it all to me…I give it all back to you. May this small sacrifice provide an outlet for deeper spiritual growth in my life. Will you heal places in me that I don’t know are broken? Will you remind me daily of the scandal of Your grace? Will you come beside me, walk with me, and teach me? Will You prepare my heart to receive Your sacrifice–death on a cross–fully, completely, and without reservation? I love you, Lord. Amen.
Do you observe Lent? Are you giving up anything this season (or adding anything) as a way to draw closer to God?