Thursday, 4 April 2013

What My Lenten Sacrifice is Teaching Me - Part 2

As I was praying about what I wanted to fast from for Lent I came across this question, which at the time seemed very large, but now that I have finished Lent it certainly resonates.

"When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different?"

I'm not sure I had given much thought to that before. The fact that my Lenten sacrifice might change me. I'm quite pleased to say that it has. It wasn't easy though, as change often isn't.

Chris and I gave up television. Not just television, but essentially everything that happens on the television. That means my poor husband also gave up video games. What a trooper! We lented in the traditional fast & feast method, in that we fasted from TV Monday through Saturday, and then "feasted" on Sunday. This is because every Sunday is a day when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ - albeit a small scale in comparison to Easter Sunday. If you were to count the days in between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday you would find it to be 47 days (not 40) hence not fasting on Sundays.

I didn't think this would be as hard as it was. I didn't think we watched that much TV. We PVR a handful of sitcoms because we are rarely home when they are actually on, and later in the evenings after we turn off the computer and toss our phones aside (more on that later) we often watch the food network as we settle in for the night. I certainly didn't expect to miss the food network.

Boy oh boy was I wrong. I missed the food network. I missed the sitcoms. Mostly I just missed being able to turn my attention to something that required zero effort on my part. See, Chris and I have a rule about the internet and our phones - at 9 pm everything but the tv is turned off. It isn't so much a rule about technology as much as a rule that we want to do something together each evening. If I am on one end of the couch on the laptop and Chris is on the other end on his phone we might as well be in different rooms as far as I'm concerned. If we decide to watch a show together (let's say something we've PVR'd) and then he pulls out his phone, I feel like the togetherness of that activity has been sliced in half. I'll admit that this rule was one implemented because of my feelings about it, but my sweet husband has happily obliged because he knows it makes me feel loved and cared for.

So back to no TV... that meant that come 9 pm our options were to read a book or play a board game. That got old real fast. Just so happens that once 9 pm rolls around I am tired and don't feel like reading. Especially because it is my only option. I want to read because I want to, not because I have nothing else to do!

So I started getting pretty grumpy about TV. Don't even talk to me on Saturdays, because by 7 pm after an entire day of not being able to watch TV I'm pretty much looking at the clock every 10 minutes wondering what the heck I'm suppose to do for another 5 hours. We started looking for excuses to leave the house and filled up our social calendars as much as possible on the weekends. This is all fine and good, and a great by product of Lent. Engaging more in relationships? Awesome! But I couldn't get past the questions that God kept asking me each time I felt grumpy about TV.

Where are you finding your joy? Where are you finding your rest?

On rest:
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
-Matthew 11:28-30

And joy:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" 
-Romans 15:13

and Nehemiah 8:10 says
"The joy of the Lord is your strength"

If I feel void of joy because I am not feeling entertained enough, we've got a problem. If I come home after a long day and all I want to do is turn my brain off and watch some mindless television ... well the fruit of these choices will be evident in my life. I want to find full satisfaction in spending quiet time with the One who gives me perfect rest. Not the food network.

... and yes, now I expect all your jokes about the fruit of my choices when I choose to watch the food network. Go ahead. Get them out of your system.

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