The year was 1999. 9/11 was still a long way off; most had not yet heard of George W. Bush, and the digital revolution was still in its relative infancy. Regardless, I struggled mightily with a television addiction, that day I introduced our "Big TV Turnoff." Now, I wasn't completely successful, a decade ago...nor 100% faithful in my handful of attempts since...but years later, I'm preparing to make an attempt at television abstinence once again. Not just as an anniversary gimmick, or publicity stunt, but for a lot of the same reasons I took my first fast from the "boob tube" so long ago.
Why? Well, I continue to struggle with finding time to read my Bible. I still prioritize watching TV over exercising, doing chores, playing with my daughter, dating my wife, preparing my Sunday School lesson—all the other challenges I was facing as a 36-year-old youngster, back then. The sexual, language, and violence content on TV are even worse, but they're not the main reason I’m taking another month's vacation from the tube.
This time, the motivating concern is a problem with contentment. As I wring my hands over Fox News in the morning...or linger too long over promos on the E! channel at night, or simply switch the thing on whenever it seems there might actually be 5 seconds of silence in my home...I’m realizing that my TV is making me believe I’m not wealthy enough, or thin enough, or young enough to appreciate the exceeding and abundant blessings in my life! No...largely because of my TV fixation, I’m feeling sorry for myself, a lot of the time. Not just sorry, but desperate! Without hope. Just where my enemy wants me: on the ropes, and too tired or depressed to change. And I know I'm not alone.
Now, again: I realize that television is not THE exclusive, or even primary, source of evil in our culture! I'm not blaming my personal shortcomings on what Fred Allen referred to as the "idiot box!" I'm only acknowledging anew that I frequently--no, make that usually--elevate watching TV over praising and serving my Lord, and reading His Word. How crazy is that?
So, once again, this Monday (2/2), I'll pull the plug on my habit for at least a month. Care to join me? Can you offer encouragement, or your own "TV Turnoff" success story? Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org! I'd enjoy hearing from you!