You’ve seen it. The kids sitting, zoned out in front of the television, the video game, or the computer. Maybe they’re laughing at a favourite show or “engaged” in their favourite game. There’s a small part of you that whispers, “I don’t think this is good,” but that is usually reasoned away.
You’ve heard it. A friend who has no time to themselves. No time to work on that hobby they’ve always wanted to. No time to spend with friends and family. They feel stolen from sometimes. If it wasn’t for the busyness of life, the kids, the spouse, the house . . . they’d have time. And yet they’ve spent ten hours in front of the TV this week so far.
You’ve felt it. Discouragement. Wishing you had more time to spend playing with your kids. Going out and bonding with nature, exercising—writing your story. And you spent more time than you know surfing the internet, playing on your phone, and watching mindless drivel last week.
The heaviness sets in. Guilt. Panic. Because we’re addicted, aren’t we? We can’t live without technology! The thought of quiet—the idea of nothing to help you turn off your mind—nothing to entertain the children—is unnerving. Intimidating. Like trying to quit a drug.
I read this quote the other day:
“Technology is what man uses to supplant the desire for wonder.” (Ravi Zacharias)
It’s inside of you, inside of me. Inside of all of us. A desire for wonder. We know that we are part of a greater story. That we were not created to spend our days, our months, our years working so hard to keep from losing all this stuff. The time we do have when we don’t have to work, we just want to shut down. Not think. Live someone else’s adventure inside of a movie or a great television series.
Film can be inspiring, don’t get me wrong! And, obviously, I recommend a good book . . . but these things should only be inspirations for us to go on and live our own adventure. And we need to, in turn, inspire our children and our friends to do the same.
How do we break the addiction? How do we free ourselves from the tyranny of mass media? Will it take a crises? Tragedy? To wake us up and get us to look around?
There’s a verse in Ephesians that says,
“’Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.’
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
There’s another translation for this verse that says, “redeem” the time. I love that picture. To redeem something or someone is to literally buy them back. As in, they are presently owned by something or someone else. Paul the Apostle is admonishing us to go militant on this! Our time is being held captive in many ways, and we have the authority to redeem it!
Paul and I have done thirty-day fasts from television and movies. You would be surprised how effective that can be to help you break free from the addiction. We spent months with a blanket thrown over our television, so we wouldn’t be as inclined to collapse on the couch and turn into zombies every evening. You’d be amazed at how your mind and spirit can come up with other things to do together. Now, we don’t have a television in our living room or our bedroom. We have a room upstairs set aside for movie nights. It’s funny how we rarely “get around to it.” Too much life happening downstairs, I suppose
Are you struggling to find time to do the things you really love? The things that make you come alive? Ask God to show you what is controlling your time right now. Maybe you can’t quit your job, but I’m willing to bet there are other time-suckers at work that you can quit!
Have you had experience with this? Have you had any success? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below.
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