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Lent Update: No TV…ever? March 31, 2011

Posted by mjhoward in Spiritual Formation, TV.
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I’ve been without TV for 3 weeks now.  I’ve discovered that when TV is not an option, I just don’t miss it.  Even when Ted is away on business trips, when I would usually turn on the TV just to have another voice in the house, I find comfort in the silence of reading a book.

This discovery has caused me to have a serious conversation with Ted about giving up TV all together.  Ted really only watches TV when a Cowboy game is on, but I, in my pre-Lenten life, would come home, turn on the tube and not really do much of anything else.  With no TV, the world has opened up to me.  That conversation forced me to ask this question of myself:  is watching TV preventing me from doing something useful, purposeful, and for the glory of God?  I’m afraid to say, that the answer has been yes.

My world really has changed for the better without TV.  Because I don’t watch TV, I have time to blog.  I am no longer a consumer but a creator.  Because I don’t watch TV, I pray more often.  I have the time to think of others and what I should be doing for them.  Because I don’t watch TV, I’ve finished 6 books!  Because I don’t watch TV, I don’t look at the TiVo and see what shows “must” be watched, like an entertainment to-do list.  Because I don’t watch TV, I didn’t renew my subscription to Entertainment Weekly magazine.  Because I don’t watch TV, Ted and I are able to talk for hours on end.

Yes, there are some downsides to not watching TV: I won’t talk or even know about the latest catchphrases (“I want to go to there” will date my last TV viewing); I won’t have an easy conversation starter (I suppose I’ll have to talk about something more real — eeks!); I’ll miss some really interesting shows and good writing (If a new version of Lost ever emerges or when Downton Abbey returns to PBS); I’ll really miss watching my version of sports (So You Think You Can Dance); and I really want to know what happens to Angela and Hodgins on Bones!

But are these parts of watching TV worth it?

6 weeks of no TV is easy, but can I really go a lifetime?  I don’t know, nor do I know if I really want to cut myself off completely.  Maybe I’ll know when Easter rolls around.

Have you ever given up something for Lent that you considered giving up forever?

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Comments»

1. Tiffany Williams - March 31, 2011

I gave up chocolate for lent. I did it because I was challenged to give up SOMETHING that I derive pleasure from, and I thought it’d be easy. And it usually is. But every once in a while, I’ll get a really strong craving that will send me reaching for the Thin Mints in my cupboard (nice timing, Girl Scouts of America). Still, overcoming that craving has made me feel stronger and closer to God and more willing to give up the things I think I need. Next lent I’ll try something bigger and even bigger the next.

2. Lauren Bailey - March 31, 2011

I remember telling Joel in college that I’d rather have a household without TV. He just looked at me weird. I’m sure he was questioning that moment if I was really “the one.” We’ve met in the middle by not having a TV in our living room and I love it.

3. List #2: TV shows I would miss « small ways - April 1, 2011

[…] my last post, I contemplated giving up watching TV long term.  I mentioned some shows that I would miss, but I […]

4. txstr8 - April 2, 2011

I gave up make up one year for lent and since then I’ve never worn it as much as I used to. Did you know that you are supposed to fast from your fast? You aren’t supposed to fast on Sundays so Lent is actually 40 days plus Sundays. It took me a couple years to figure this out. I actually think it’s harder to do when you get to indulge once a week. It’s easier for me to just completely turn something off, but when I’m allowed to do my given up thing on Sundays it keeps the rest of the week challenging.

mjhoward - April 2, 2011

I never knew that about Lent! I do think it would be much more difficult for me to indulge on Sundays. I’m already afraid of what will happen after Lent. Will I watch less? Will I go back to being the same? I still need to decide what I’m going to do. And on a lighter note: it would be hard for me to give up make up for Lent because I never wear any!


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