And so it begins.
Giving up TV for Lent has become the standard by which all my other Lenten practices are compared. The first year I tried it, I had a gentle yet spiritually transforming experience. This year, I want to do it again. I don’t know what God has in mind for me in the next six weeks. But I know why I want to do this.
The Rules: When I am home alone, I will not watch TV six days a week. This will also include DVDs and any form of online video (Netflix, etc.). One day a week, to be decided upon each week as my schedule allows, I will be free to watch whatever I want. When I’m on the treadmill at the gym, I am free to watch Netflix on my phone or whatever. And any sick days or snow days are total exceptions.
Why give up something for Lent? Everyone who does it certainly has their own reasons. My purpose is simple: I want to give up something that I don’t really need but isn’t inherently bad, and watch to see how God fills that space.
Why TV? It’s not too important or unimportant. It’s something I use to deal with stress and tiredness and boredom, but not something I can’t get through the day without. It’s something I enjoy, but I don’t have a deep passion for. And most importantly, it fills up more space in my life than its value deserves. TV sucks away my time without my awareness. It prevents me from feeling (and dealing with) loneliness or boredom. Its absence would leave a nice large space for God to fill.
Why allow TV one day a week? I don’t have a spiritual answer. The truth is, the first year I did this, I ended up continuing to leave the TV off several days a week for many months after Lent was over. I felt like it taught me how to put TV back in a space in my life that matched its value to me, rather than overtaking my life and my home without me realizing it. I’m afraid if I go completely TV-free, I will want to do nothing but watch TV when Easter comes.
Why make exceptions for running on the treadmill or sick days or snow days? Because whatever gets me on the treadmill is worth its weight ten times over! And if I’m sick enough to stay home, I’m already as miserable as I need to be, and anything that helps pass the time until I feel better is good. I’m not sure I will make an exception for snow days…but we probably won’t have any more anyway!
How was day 1? Why, thank you for asking! 😉 It was lovely, but not life-changing. The TV and blu-ray player are unplugged until Saturday. As you might expect, I went a little overboard the last few days, knowing this was coming, and my housework has been neglected. So day one was mostly about dishes and laundry!