Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TV (10/04/18)
TITLE: Hungry For What?
By Linda Lawrence
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When God’s Spirit jolted me and made me aware of the temptation of wanting something more than what He had given me, I knew I needed to walk away from my soap opera. But, when 3 o’clock rolled around that conviction seemed rather silly to me. Maybe my conscience was overly sensitive. I didn’t want to be legalistic. God hadn’t really spoken to me . . . had He? Just in case it had been God, I asked Him to keep me from turning on the television if He truly didn’t want me to watch General Hospital. I reached for the knob and God didn’t stop me. Turning the knob, the TV burst into life — at least I thought it was life.
I sighed with relief. It appeared I didn’t need to give up General Hospital after all. I settled in to eagerly enjoy that day’s episode. But during the commercial break, my heart started pounding. What was that about? However, the pounding stopped when the program resumed. Whew. Wait, what is going on? My heart pounded again during the next break. Surely that pounding wasn’t God knocking . . . was it?
The next day I had no trouble turning on the TV at 3 o’clock. My heart didn’t even pound during the commercials. So I had been right about having a super sensitive conscience. I didn’t need to give up something that I wanted after all.
Then suddenly, my heart was pounding with the certain knowledge that I could dull my conscience, to the point of it being useless — if I continued to ignore it! I wouldn’t know the difference between good and evil. I’m not saying General Hospital was evil, but the eating of its fleshly fruit would definitely have ruined my appetite for the fruit God had in mind for me. That realization shook me so hard it broke the soap opera addiction.
I never watched General Hospital again.
However, fifty years later, when my husband died, I found myself spending hours in front of the TV. With no more knobs to turn, the remote allowed me to even skip over the commercials so I wasn’t as vulnerable to noticing my heart pound. However, numb with sitting too long, I paced and pondered what I was doing! This was ridiculous! Why did I mindlessly try to satisfy a nameless hunger with a TV diet? Why did I keep watching when I was bored? Just turn it off, I told myself. But I didn’t.
Why this struggle with the TV again? I thought that battle had been won. I wasn’t watching soap operas or anything that I couldn’t have watched with a clear conscience with the Lord sitting beside me, but I wasted too much time on empty entertainment that was not life-giving.
The monthly cable fee kept coming to mind. That money could be more wisely used to buy food for hungry children. Yet I continued to fail to control my TV consumption. The Lord did not stop me from picking up the remote. Finally, disgusted with my lack of self-control, I picked up the phone and made the call that cut the cable subscription.
Instead of that automatic monthly payment going towards entertaining myself, it now goes to Giving Children Hope, a non-profit that fills backpacks each week with food for children whose families live in motels and fill themselves with TV fare to help them forget their empty stomachs.
I don’t miss the TV. There are still plenty of entertaining diversions available. What I would miss is the sense of the Lord’s Spirit drawing me to tune into Him. Quiet empty restlessness nudges me towards opening His Word, or going on a ‘walk and talk’ with Him. Loud pounding in my heart halts me in my tracks and draws my attention to His heart. These I would miss - for my faithful, patient, attentive Lord has become the center of my world.
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