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