Don and I have a nightly ritual of eating dinner while watching TV. We sometimes pause the show (yay DVRs!) and talk, it's like our down time at the end of the day.
A few weeks ago, I felt the Lord nudging me to stop watching a particular show, or shows like it. Don and I both like suspense and "who dun it" shows, and trying to figure out who did the crime. All the crimes involve murder, or some other type of violence. And many include sexual overtones. Not exactly uplifting content, but hey, solving the mystery is fun.
At the Lord's first nudge, I said to myself, "OK, yes, too much - we'll only watch one episode per night, I agree that 2 or 3 in a row is too much." So we've mostly been doing that, and after one episode I'll come upstairs and catch up on things in my office.
For the past week or so I've had disturbed sleep, and a barrage of negative thoughts during the night. During the day, my mind is spacey as I try to keep up with and remember all the things I need to do. Short term memory is just about gone, along with my peace.
Last night we watched 2 episodes again - a 2-parter. After tossing and turning for a few hours, I was wide awake at 2:30AM. In came the barrage of condemning thoughts. I prayed and asked God for sleep, commanded darkness to go...as I said to myself, "Why should He answer that prayer, I haven't obeyed what He told me to do."
I know this, but too often forget: If I want darkness to go and stay away, I can't open the door to it through disobedience.
When God asked me to stop watching, I compromised and cut back instead of stopping. Partial obedience is disobedience. There is no middle ground. I know this, too.
God is so gracious and merciful. I prayed, cried, asked for forgiveness, knowing I don't deserve it but that God delights to give it when we repent. I'm thankful God graciously allowed consequences, I'm so grateful for His discipline! And I'm grateful for His forgiveness and cleansing.
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. (1 John 1:9, AMP)
I let that truth sink in, and chose to believe it. I got up, went into my prayer closet to pray and give thanks, and am now writing this at 4AM.
Back to the blog title, garbage in, garbage out. I'm not trying to condemn TV watching, or down time at the end of the day. Each person has to listen to and obey what God speaks to them personally. It's the principle I'm after - what you take in will affect what comes out of you.
For me, too much TV watching - and regularly watching shows with murder and sex in them - sucks the life out of me. The images and content stay with me, garbage in. Then I get easily irritated, my thought life goes rampantly negative, I lose sleep, and I run out of time for what's important, garbage out.
Why is this so important? Because we live in a world full of angry, negative, and hurting people who desperately need hope. As followers of Jesus, we can offer them that hope...but not if we talk and act just like them.
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. (Romans 12:1-2 AMP)
What are you taking in that is dragging you down? Ask God to help you make some changes. He longs to have sweet time with you and pour hope into you that you can then offer to those in your corner of the world.
We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19 AMP)