Why I Turned Off the TV

UG Why I Turned Off the TVLife is busy. Absolutely no question about it, there is always something else to do. It doesn’t even matter what stage of life we are in either; if we aren’t careful, we will end up being a slave to the tyranny of the urgent.

Just a little bit ago, I was running around trying to get my house clean and all the laundry finished so I could pack for our family in order to get us ready to leave on for a cross-country vacation to visit extended family. I had just finished up our home visit with one of our social workers and going over my foster daughter’s monthly paperwork, finding a place for the pet guinea pig to stay while we are gone, and making some semblance of lunch out of the random ingredients that were left in the fridge when my phone rang.

I’m tired just looking at that paragraph, but it didn’t end there. I turned around to find a broken lamp and my boys chasing each other with lightsabers all while screaming like banshees.

Madness, chaos, and tyranny of the urgent.

I don’t want to live this way. I don’t think God wants me to live this way consistently either.

Running from thing to thing isn’t good for us. We get so distracted by all of the noise around us and can’t hear His voice like we ought to.

There will always be something calling our name and demanding our attention and focus in ways often louder than our Savior speaks.

He whispers. And nudges.

He never demands we follow Him. He simply asks and waits.

The noise around us demands and demands impatiently.

I realized that I was spending too much time surrounded by noise. Some of it is good. Clearly, I need to pay attention (at least for the sake of my lamps) to my screaming banshee children. They need me and they need me focused on God.

I turned off some of the competing noise. We don’t really watch TV anymore.

It wasn’t just for me. My kids were watching way too much and I hated having to physically turn it off in front of them to get them to move away. I needed the quiet in the evening hours without saturating myself with more noise… worldly noise.

We all benefit from having more quiet space. At first, I was scared of it. What was I going to do without it in the evenings? I was going to miss out on so many fun and entertaining shows… I wouldn’t know what everyone else was talking about when they discussed what they were watching…

I missed it, and then, after a bit, I didn’t. I’m not saying this is for everybody, but I’ve loved the extra time, the freedom from worrying about what my kids are going to stumble upon, and the ability to be far more intentional.

Instead of mindlessly “relaxing”, I’m intentionally choosing to relax and relax mindfully. I didn’t realize there is a difference until now.

What sealed the deal for me was how God finally got through to me about how we are entertaining ourselves to death. There is nothing wrong with watching a show or a movie (I still love movie nights occasionally!), but it becomes wrong when we become so entrenched in it that we are consuming it.

Have you ever noticed on news shows, they always refer to us as “American Consumers”? Our lives are spent eating up stuff, working so we can earn more, and our value is in what we buy. Ouch.

Our value isn’t in external things; it is in Christ and Christ alone.

Is all of our entertainment distracting us from being who we should be in Christ?

If we are eating up what culture has to offer, there isn’t the room in our lives there should be for Christ. We can’t be lights for Him sitting in the audience.

Are we just consuming noise? Or we consuming life through Christ?

It isn’t really about TV, but for my family that is what needed to happen. I’m about to turn off some of the music too since my three year old screams (again like a banshee) if I refuse to put “Let it Go” on… again. My motives here though probably border on self-preservation here though…

We all have probably more noise in our lives than we need whether it be TV, music, our cell phones or any other device, or maybe it is noise coming from friends or books or anything else we try to fill ourselves with other than God.

But then, it doesn’t really matter how much noise we have. We always need less. We need more of God.

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10 thoughts on “Why I Turned Off the TV

  1. This is so encouraging! I think all the time about how addicted to technology/entertainment I’m becoming and I’ve been trying to figure out just what exactly I can cut. My struggle is that my husband feels little pull to break away from tv/computer games/phone etc., and that’s how he likes to spend his evenings…so if I want to spend time with him (and he really likes me w/him in the evenings, so I want to honor that) then I’m stuck sitting on the couch w/him in front of the tv. I’m hoping to find some sort of happy medium, like tv only in the evenings w/my hubby…but I think I need to work on my will power for that! I’m sort of an all-or-nothing kind of gal and struggle to find the self-discipline to limit myself to just a little at designated times, and not whenever I want. Thank you for sharing your motivations in this!

    • Thanks, Sarah! I totally struggle the same way- I do a lot better with more quiet and reflective time and my family tends to relax with screens. It is easier with kids to be able to put your foot down, for sure! I’m still trying to figure out what it looks like to be intentional with relaxing as a family in the busyness of it all. I think it is probably a “farther up and further in” kind of process (if I quoted my Lewis right!). If we continually strive to just do a little better than the day before… I totally struggle with the self-discipline with it too which is why I felt like I needed to do this!

  2. I enjoyed this. I have been thinking a lot like this about video games and social media. I haven’t gotten to the point where I have turned them off, but I think I’m going to try to limit them a lot more and include the TV too.

  3. We have limits but this summer our kids have had lots more than usual. I need to think about cutting back more drastically especially with school starting back! Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. Great choice, I got rid of my TV altogether and I haven’t regretted it. I’m glad my girls aren’t exposed to those images and they now use down time for creative activities. We still get movies on our laptop when we want but it’s not a default. I’m way happier without it.

  5. Wonderful post.

    We have time slots for TV watching… I hate calling it TV watching because I actually will only allow my children to watch pre-approved shows and movies. Having the TV turned off for the most part, definitely adds to the peace in the home.

    Thanks so much for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop)!

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

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