Saturday, April 7, 2012

Going to Extremes

I'm at the end of my third day of not turning on the TV at  home. It turned into a Holy Week experiment. The spiritual benefits are noticeable. I don't know what the longterm results will be. 

It started because I felt so tired and stressed and distracted, largely because of work. I became aware of just wanting to zone out in front of the TV. But for some reason, that wasn't relaxing any more. It was adding to my stress and anxiety  rather than easing it. It was bringing  back reminders of when I battled untreated depression 

I hardly know what to do with the quiet time, and at least three times, turning on the TV seemed like such an innocent choice. But I couldn't shake the truth that even if watching was not a problem at that moment, watching might make it harder to turn away when I really did not have time to waste. And so I've left it off, even when I could have watched Opening Day for the Texas Rangers baseball season Friday afternoon before work.  

This afternoon, I turned on the radio at the house to listen to the Aggies baseball game with OU. Even without video, it was a total distraction for me. When it was over, I turned off the radio and welcomed the renewed quietness.  

As I was telling a friend about my Thursday and Friday without TV, her response indicated she thinks I'm being extreme. But am I? After all, it's just an experiment. But some initial results seem clear, whether I like them or not. Watching daily soap operas adds nothing positive to my life. If I need an escape or distraction. I'm pretty sure God will help me find something better with which to fill that time. As for watching ballgames, it's definitely problematic for me. These are matters of balance, and when I'm tired and stressed, I have a hard time with balance. 

I didn't give up or add anything for Lent this year, partly because I was already doing more prayer and meditation and quiet time  since the start of the year. As Holy Week has gone along, I wondered if I would be ready for Easter.  The discipline of these past three days help me be open to new possibilities that the Risen Christ may have in store for me. 

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.' "
—Isaiah 30:15

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words. (Luke 24:5-8 NIV)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." 
--John 3:16
(Now, that's extreme!)

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