Yesterday I watched TV. I didn’t begin my day committed to television watching. On the contrary, I packed my bag with a laptop (because I have things to do) and a couple books (because I have stuff to read). After getting acquainted with my new beautician and reading for about 30 minutes, however, reality set in. My eyes were tired, my body was even more tired, and I was not going to get anything done. I accepted that, sat quietly in the chair, and looked up at the TV screen.
The past few days have been quite long and filled with compassion, energy, and constantly asking God for more grace to get through the days. I returned from a trip to Washington DC on Sunday, only to find that my husband had to depart for a business trip to Detroit early Monday morning. He passed the baton to me, and I have assumed responsibilities of all things parenting, housing, scheduling, church, community, and you get the picture… This does not take into consideration that I already had a pretty full schedule for the week, as I am following up on action items from last week’s trip and preparing for next week’s trip. This is a new season for me concerning ministry and for him concerning his work.
Additionally, this year I have recommitted to maintaining my fitness. This recommitment has included a gym membership where I can attend classes. I attended my first body pump class on Monday where I completed over 800 repetitions in my old military t-shirt. I did not leave half way through as the instructor recommended to the newbies at the beginning of class. I like to finish what I start, and the pride of my t-shirt would not let me quit. Clearly, I over did it. I began Tuesday’s cardio with a sore body, and the class led by a crazy trainer—who I am convinced was a professional volleyball player—almost took me out for the count. Yesterday was my day of much needed rest! So I groaned from a few body aches, and sat still in the braider’s chair as I watched television.
The African braiding experience took about seven hours. I didn’t think I was going to make it through, but it’s actually a small time commitment when considering the reality that I won’t have to think or worry about my hair for the next 2-3 months. Since it was not my braiding shop and I did not own the television, I didn’t get possession of the remote control. Together, my beautician and I watched a morning talk show, the Family Feud, and court shows.
The first couple hours were painful to get through. I was reminded of all the reasons I stopped watching TV several years ago. It can totally be a waste of time. There is a lot of content with no substance. I thought to myself, “How can people watch this every day?” At the end of it all, my day of television watching made me walk away with the conclusion that people love to: 1.) shop, 2.) laugh out loud, 3.) make fast money, and 4.) to be right. I know this is only a small snapshot—a look on the surface.
I reflected on this surface look throughout the day, specifically thinking about wisdom from the Proverbs I am reading with my daughter, and the Book of Job which is being discussed in my church community group. Weekly, I am contemplating the wisdom of God verses the wisdom of humans, and what is actually good, right, and true in the world. Is money, laughter, and control all that is needed for this life?
Let’s be clear, the Bible is not against any of these things.
The writer of Ecclesiastes lets us know:
“A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes life merry, but money is the answer for everything (Ecc 10:19).”
There is no doubt about it, we need money in part to shop for our basic needs.
The writer of Proverbs takes note:
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Prov. 17:22).”
The joy of laughter is good for the soul, and we can all use more of it in our lives.
The ideas of being right, judgmental, exerting our will over another, and the games of power and control are trickier, and can be quite dangerous. This contemplation is a matter of wisdom that provides a framework to consider the other matters as well.
I watched the television screen yesterday where the disappointment hung in the balance for family members who did not win, and there was clearly someone to blame. I watched family members sue each other and destroy their relationships for nominal (and some not so nominal) amounts of money. I watched liars and cheaters defend their cause with gusto. Each wanted their own way, but in each situation, there was someone who was not laughing, someone who was not happy, and someone who was going to eventually be out of money. This is the way and consequence of the world’s wisdom.
The wisdom of God, however, reminds us of who really is in charge and his desire for our earthly relationships. The Word says of the Lord:
‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Is. 55:8-11 NIV).
We need the Word of God to measure the ways of the world against. This is why we are beckoned to spend more time with God, studying and seeking understanding of His Word, and dwelling with his people, so we know how to live and respond rightly in the world.
I encourage you today to spend time with God.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:2)
Have you considered your TV/internet watching time? How do these investments shape your ways of thinking?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2015
14 thoughts on “Coffee Talk: The One Day I Watched TV”
So without my internet I wouldn’t be reading your blog. And would not have read Rom 12:2 which is vital for me today.
Thanks Sandy! 🙂 I love using this resource and medium to glorify God. It is certainly not all bad. I actually find the internet an invaluable resource for ministry and learning. May the blessing of God be upon you today. – Natasha
I know what you mean about those court shows. People might feel bad about what happens in real courtrooms if they don’t win, but at least we don’t have a producer running around behind the scenes pumping up the drama for people to act out on camera.
Thanks for the reminder about filling our minds with God’s word. Good job filling your body with those aches and pains too; they’ll pay off as you keep at it.
And about that 2-3 month hair style. Do you think I could pull that off?
I wouldn’t recommend the hair thing for you, Tim. Maybe a hat! 🙂
I could always go for this look at work, Natasha:
Sounds like the TV will be turned off for awhile. May God bless you with strength, peace, and rest in him today. Proud of your commitment to honor him in all things.
Love you friend and see you really soon!
Too funny, Tim!
We don’t even have a television. Many years ago, after my husband and I had been married for a year, I realized that I was addicted to soap operas. It wasn’t good for our marriage. After trying every other option (unplugging it, taking a volunteer job during “my” show’s time period, moving it to another room), I told my husband that we needed to get rid of it. He agreed. That was August 2001. Eventually the decision paid off; the first year was really, really hard. Now I’m not sure how anyone finds time to watch television, or where we’d put one in our living room.
Our daughters have grown up without television, though they watch some at my parents’ house. (Jeopardy, or a video or two, maybe once a week.) The only rough part is that they often don’t know what their peers are discussing. This was more of an issue when my older daughter was in 4th grade or so; her current set of friends don’t talk about it much.
As far as the internet goes, obviously, we still use it! My older daughter has to do research for school assignments on here, but we try (key word: try) to keep their web use to a minimum. I use it to read the news, follow blogs, and learn from people who are different than me. I live in a conservative area of the BIble Belt, and it’s hard not to be sucked into a Christian bubble. (An upper middle class, white American Christian bubble, at that.) So I try to learn how other people think and what ideas are out there. That’s my goal, at least.
I ditched Facebook and Twitter several years ago; they did harm to my mental health, and that outweighed any good that they did. It was a bit like the television giveaway: initially very difficult, but beneficial in the long run.
Thank you for sharing what you learned, bringing it together with Scripture, and letting us read it. I’m glad I read your blog and “know” you!
I completely understand the FB and Twitter decision, Laura. I’ve considered it too. But one thing I want you to know is that even though you’re not on those places I see a lot of people linking on them to your blog. You write great stuff that is well worth sharing. (Much like another blogger I could mention whose initials are Natasha Sistrunk.)
Oh, that’s cool. I never know if my posts get linked on FB and T, simply because I’m not on there! I appreciate any links and anyone who gets anything of meaning from my posts. 🙂
Hi Laura, Thanks for sharing. We own two televisions, both in common spaces in our house, but we have not had cable for years. My daughter is allowed to watch Hulu or Netflix on the weekends (which allows her, for the most part, to skip commercials-which can also be a problem). We also canned the soap operas several years back. I know some of this is a matter of personal and spiritual growth. For me, it is more a consideration of having discernment about how best to use the time God has allotted me. Good on you for using the internet to expand your horizons! Blessings to you and your family.
What a word and reminder! Thanks so much, Tasha, for your honesty and faithfulness to the things of God.