Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Week Without Television

Today marks one solid week of eliminating constant television viewing from our lives.

This lent we decided (which basically means I decided and my husband went along for the ride--you are the best, Eddie Ray) that we would not just turn the television on and surf the night away. It would be better for us to decide what we were interested in watching, turn the TV on when the program started and turn it off when the program ended. We don't have 127 cable channels, so you'd think this would be easy for us.

After week one, I have started and finished 3 books; had a few great discussions with my husband; have gotten more sleep; am able to pray more, and better. It's like a fog has lifted. I'm also starting to think of some of the things that I need to get done around this house, but have been putting off.

It's still hard. It's so much easier for me to come home and talk myself into "relaxing" in front of the tube, rather than exerting a little effort on something productive. After all, didn't I work hard all day and deserve a break?, because if I don't do it, it won't get done, and there are a million and a half "its" around our home that need done, along with a million and a half "its" in the Church that need attention. All these "well-deserved breaks" I talk myself into are nothing more than procrastination in disguise, and procrastinating is a symptom of an undisciplined life.

Let's face it, Americans don't like discipline. Fast food? Cable? Gaming? Forget the effort it takes to cook, to read, or to do something that actually requires leaving your house and engaging real live people; and these aren't even the biggies. We fool ourselves into thinking that its all ok, that God still loves us.  Loving us and being pleased with us, however, are two very different things.  We thus make a conscious effort during these 40 days to reflect on those areas of our lives where we know we are disappointing God, and we give up something, spend more time in prayer, do works of mercy, and if we're doing it right, we'll develop the discipline we need to fight temptation.

If you're not on the Lenten walk yet, it's not too late to start today. You can even make it as simple as picking a book of Scripture and reading a little of it every day.  Some other ideas:

Start using off-brand personal items, and donate your regular brand (unopened, of course) to a shelter.
Cut out playing Wii for an evening and go volunteer at the homeless shelter.
Take giving up sweets to the next level, and use the money you save to buy canned goods for a food pantry.
Turn off your car radio and talk to God while you drive.
Be silent for an hour a day.
Go to Church one more day a week.
If you don't already, pray at the same time every morning--this is a great prayer with which to start:

The Road Ahead by Thomas Merton

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. 
I do not see the road ahead of me. 
I cannot know for certain where it will end. 
Nor do I really know myself, 
and the fact that I think that I am following your will 
does not mean that I am actually doing so. 
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. 
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. 
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. 
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road 
though I may know nothing about it. 
Therefore will I trust you always 
though I may seem to be lost 
and in the shadow of death. 
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, 
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


Eddie Ray said...

It's been like having a beach house without the sounds of the surf....
What a great way to journey thru lent...

Gina said...

It has been like a beach house! very calming without all that noise.

Karen said...


Gina said...

Karen, hopefully I won't go back to the surfing. I've been much more selective as to what I watch, so I'm not wasting time in front of the tube anymore. I've found more time to read as well--I've read more books in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last year!

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