Friday, January 10, 2014

Fasting for Lent

Lent is coming, it starts March 3rd for Protestants I believe and that's good.  Our family has decided to fast from TV.  We are already cutting back now to get the girls used to the idea of not using TV as entertainment, but it's coming and it's been coming for a while.

I should explain something - I grew up poor.  Not a little poor, I mean really poor - free lunch poor, wearing hand-me-downs from other girls in church  because we didn't have the money to purchase new clothing poor.  We couldn't afford to go to the skating rink on Friday nights or to the movies a lot with friends.  I started babysitting in seventh grade to make money to join the youth group on trips or to go on their different functions.  I also used that babysitting money to purchase new contact lenses (it didn't really work out very well, I discovered I HATE putting foreign objects in my eyes).  Through it all, we had one consistent form of entertainment - besides the school or public library - TV.  It may not seem like a big deal, but if you can't afford to go hang out at the same places most of the kids in your school can hang out because you lack the financial means you have to find a source of entertainment.  We found cable tv.  From this sparked a love of all things movie, tv, vcr/dvd related. 

For years I would wait to do my school work until after my favorite shows came on - it definitely hurt my college grades.  It also hurt my physical health because sitting for hours on end isn't good for you physically or emotionally. 

June 2013 I realized that July was coming and I usually try to fast then to spend time in prayer for Human Trafficking.  This year, however, I chose to fast from social media to just focus on my spiritual growth.  My husband and mom didn't think I would make it 31 days, but I did and I realized some things. 

1. By shutting off the noise from the computer and unintentionally the tv (it just sort of happened in conjunction) I had the privilege of growing in Christ.  I found myself spending my days in quiet mediation.   Another by product?  I didn't feel the need to talk as much either. 

2.  While I like having Facebook to stay in touch with friends I had lost contact with after high school and college and Twitter to keep me accountable in my daily Bible reading, I didn't really miss social media or TV as much as I thought I would. 

3.  The study that showed that TV keeps your brain active?  It's spot on, at least for me.  In shutting off the computer and the TV, I slept better.

4.  I became more physically active and I liked it. 

5. What is on TV is not what I want my girls learning.  Especially as they grow older.  I don't want the girls bombarded with images that encourage sex before marriage, and other things that we know are not in line with God's word. 

6.  There is nothing new on TV these days.  All of the concepts have already really been done, they just keep recycling them over and over and trying to package them differently. 

7.  I feel called to cut the cord to TV for the girls and our family.

Our family currently does one year subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.  I spoke to Chris and at first he was like "NO!"  He enjoys unwinding at night with a little comedy, but within a few days he agreed to give up TV for Lent as a family.   

My hope and my prayer is that at the end we are able to just walk away and use our DVD's as family night entertainment if we decide to have movie night.  I would love to see our family become the family that only watches a movie occasionally and it's more Christ-centered.  This is easier to achieve since there are awesome churches and Christian artists coming out with new movies.  PureFlix has been very instrumental in bringing more wholesome, Christ centered and family oriented movies to the Christian household and of course, Sherwood Baptist Church came up with Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous and more to come I hope. 

What will you give up for Lent?  Is it going to be something tough to give up? If you don't have to struggle to give it up, doesn't that defeat the purpose of fasting?  So if you had to give something up that would hurt and thus encourage you to lean on Christ, what would it be? 

I hope you all have a good rest of the week.
In Christ,