Let’s dive right into this weeks topic: Television!
When my husband and I first got married, we couldn’t afford cable. Netflix wasn’t really “in” yet and most of the time our bunny ears didn’t dial in anything interesting.
To be honest, I’ve never been much for TV watching. I rarely get into the “latest show,” so it didn’t hurt my feelings or mess up my weekly routine to ditch cable and opt for game nights with my husband instead.
On the other hand, when we first got married my husband loved to watch sports around the clock. His Dad was a football coach and avid sports watcher, and my husband grew up with a game on in the family room for most of his life at home.
As we slowly detached from cable TV and experienced life without it, we learned that we really enjoyed the silence, the time to talk, and the time to just do something else.
My husband discovered that he cared more for the scores than the actual game and the app on his phone took less time to check. Plus he learned that he really does enjoy reading and it’s much easier to do so when their isn’t any “background noise.”
We’ve been married over seven years, and we’ve only turned cable on a couple of times. Now is one of those times because it gives us a better deal on the internet, which being a work at home family means internet is pretty important to us! Usually we end up turning the cable right back off after a few months of having it.
However, I know this is not the case for the majority of American homes (sometimes we have cable, sometimes we don’t). For most Americans, media, and especially the television, is the omnipresent backdrop of life. Ever present. Ever there. Ever entertaining. Ever keeping company.
But is your television consumption dulling your affections for Christ?
I’ve talked with many women (and a few men) who tell me that television is a hard habit to break. It’s there, luring them with it’s stories and connection to the outside world.
It’s the center of the room and a(n elusive) time waster. They wish they had more time to do other things, but television is an addiction they can’t seem to break.
It’s just a normal part of their daily routine.
Honestly? I’m less concerned with how much time people spend watching television and more concerned with the passive way in which we allow the messages on the television to enter our homes.
Television Choose to Consume Challenge
My husband and I just finished an entire season of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. We’re “in between shows” right now and we’re considering what to watch next.
We enjoy TV shows that don’t have talking vegetables or flying capes. You know, TV shows just for adults!
But right now, I think we’re going to fast the TV for a bit. It’s easy to turn on the TV after a really long day with the kids, and we love curling up and vegging once the kids are in bed. But at what expense?
I don’t know about your house, but with a four year old and a two year old under our roof, we rarely (and I do mean RARELY) get to have an uninterrupted conversation together.
We certainly don’t have time for praying together, just the two of us, or time to string more than a few thoughts together into an adult, passion inducing, dream possessing, flame driving conversation. Aka, our sentences shared throughout the day almost always revolve around who needs to change the diaper, go to the grocery store, clean up the dishes and start the science project.
Yes, we’re working to train our children to not interrupt. We try to get them to stop running and stop yelling, “Superheroes to the rescue!” We shoo them outside and we give them quiet activities, but they are little boys and they are really loud. It’s life!
Plus they need their bottoms wiped, their shoes tied, their food cut and blown and cut again and a drink to go with the meal and their clothes washed and dried and … you get it. I know you get it!
This means that our evenings, our one time of almost always guaranteed time of quiet conversation, we get to choose. We can choose to do the hard thing and have a conversation, which really isn’t so hard once you start, or the easy thing, turn on the TV and zone out.
There is a time and place for both. Like I said, we utilize the Netflix TV show option liberally in our home! BUT occasionally we have to step back and evaluate how much time we’re spending watching television together.
Lately it’s been too much. We’ve neglected conversation outside of the bits and spurts we squeeze between family conversations and not allowed ourselves to connect, really connect, in this season of little ones.
I’m a verbal processor. If I don’t get to process verbally with my husband regularly, then I really struggle. It’s the number one way I feel loved – to spend time in conversation regularly.
Real conversation. Not the surface kind of conversation. The real kind of soul baring, sin confessing, scripture debating conversation. I need depth in relationships and when we’re constantly choosing TV, we’re not meeting a desperate need in our marriage.
This week let’s take a hard look at our television consumption.
My husband and I are going to set some boundaries this week regarding TV.
This is the time of year when football gears up, new shows come out, and exhaustion sets in from really busy schedules. It would be easy to fill our evenings with too much TV.
If you’re married, I challenge you to talk to your husband about your television consumption. Set some boundaries.
Plus talk about what kind of shows you’re watching.
Are they glorifying to God?
I’m not in the camp that everything has to be perfect (Gilmore Girls certainly doesn’t have a perfect, Christian plot – it’s not even Christian and sometimes it even took snubs at religion), but I am in the camp that you are affected by what you watch!
You are not above temptation, you are not above falling prey to Satan, and you’re not above being unknowingly influenced. Media is subtle in its persuasion!
I believe we have to watch TV with our eyes wide open – our spiritual eyes, not just our physical eyes.
This means we need to be willing to turn off the TV when a show glorifies evil, promiscuity, or bigotry.
We have to be willing to throw away the family favorite when the Holy Spirit pricks our hearts with conviction.
We can’t say, “It’s not that big of a deal” or “It’s just a show.”
The purpose of being intentional is to glorify God.
We pursue holiness not because we want to be “good people.” We pursue holiness, we’re diligent to seek Him for all things, and we seek to honor Him in all we do because we’re so thankful! We have been saved from eternal damnation, clothed in robes of white and counted among His children based on nothing we have done!
What grace! How can we not want to obey Him, honor Him, or seek to live for Him (including how we spend our television time)?
The thing is that we won’t always get it right. We’re going to watch TV shows that don’t honor God and what we think is okay, probably makes Him weep.
Sometimes ignorance is just part of the equation as we grow in godliness, walk the journey of faith one day at a time, one moment of conviction and repentance at a time.
We simply won’t always get it right, but it’s what we do with those moments of conviction. It’s the pursuit of holiness and in the training of our minds to obey Christ perfectly by the grace of God!
And don’t forget your children!
It’s an easy outlet to babysit my kids when I’m having a hard day, or to just give me time to get something done. I’m guilty of taking the easy road and turning on the TV just like most any mom out there.
I’m taking some time this week to really evaluate my children’s television consumption too. I’m taking a hard look at the messages they are receiving and setting some clear boundaries on how much television I want them to consume.
Maybe you’ve never really thought about how much TV you’re watching. Maybe you think you’re watching way less than you really are. Perhaps you should take a few days and track how much time you spend watching television each day.
Then take it a step further and ask yourself how much of what you viewed actually enhanced your view of God or encouraged your God-given mission and calling!
Take time to read scripture and evaluate how God wants you to steward the gift of TV. Because really, it is a gift! It’s a sweet little luxury if you have it.
Then make a plan as you feel led.
Perhaps you’re like us, and you just need to fast for a bit, reset your television appetite and give your evenings time to breathe and enjoy a quiet conversation.
Or maybe you need to take some time to focus on training your children to play quietly with books or puzzles instead of being entertained by a television while you finish the dishes or squeeze in some time of prayer.
Maybe you’re in a season of balance and nothing needs to change.
I don’t know what your situation is. You do and God does. I challenge you to be purposeful to at least think about how God is leading you in this area of media consumption! Don’t let the subtlety of Satan have a foothold any longer.
Seek. Repent. Turn. Make a plan. Train your mind to obey Christ and lead your children to do the same.
What about you? How is your television consumption lately? What boundaries have you put in place to ensure healthy usage?
Why do you want to live intentionally? Do you ever wonder if there is more to your Christian walk than just “getting to Heaven”? Have you ever thought about whether or not your life truly matters?
Live for Him: A 7-Day Scripture Study on Learning to Live Intentionally By Grace will help you uncover your “WHY” behind living intentionally. Click here to learn more.