I casually commented to a colleague at work the other day that my husband and I had 'given up watching TV for a month, by accident'. This drew a staggering amount of questions with every query from 'what on earth do you DO all evening?', 'do you miss it?' to simply: 'why?!'.. I was prompted to write this blog post because although I don't often blog about my personal life, giving up watching TV has been a really surprising experience and I want to share that with you.
First off, truthfully this was accidental on my part, but not my husband's! He came back from a short trip overseas and was so full of the Holy Spirit, and bubbling over with ideas and inspiration - he suddenly announced he was going to fast Internet and TV for a week or two whilst he processed everything that he had learned and been inspired by, on the trip.
Okay, I'm going to admit - my first thought was.. 'but "Better Call Saul" is on tonight and that's our favorite!!'... but I could see the fire of determination in his eyes and really didn't want to quench it. Before I knew it, our regular little habit of blessing the couch with our undivided presence from pretty much 8pm - 11pm, was a thing of the past. Just like that.
We are now nearly 3 months on and I am so excited about the surprising impact this has had on our lives. Full disclosure: we've watched three movies on rainy days (one as a couple, one with our son and one as a family) and I've watched about 3 episodes of Joyce Meyer's daily program but that's IT!
As I was cleaning my wooden blinds (I know, the chore above all chores) this evening I was reflecting on how our home life has been so different since we fell into this fast.. and neither of us are in a rush to go back.
Here are 3 of the biggest changes I've seen happen in our lives since we gave up watching TV;
1. We gained an 8th day in the week!!!!!!
This is MASSIVE. Suddenly we had at least 3 'extra' hours every evening to fill and I'm instantly convicted every time I even think of using the word 'busy' in it.. because now I've just given myself the gift of 21 extra hours a week! 21 hours!!!! THAT'S ALMOST AN EXTRA DAY A WEEK! Think of everything you can do with 24 extra hours a week?! Here are just some of the things I've been done, or I'm doing with all these oodles of spare hours...
Seriously, the list is ridiculously endless - and the best thing of all, we haven't missed the TV one bit. So, no more moaning about not having time to do all those things you wish you had time for.. give up that telebox and free up some serious time slots!
These are only the things that I've been finding to do so far with my "extra day a week..", don't even get me started on my husband....
2. Our marriage got stronger x100!!!
The absolute best thing of all is how much we've talked in the past month. Like never before. We are sharing our hearts, deepest desires, flitting worries and concerns, dreams, even jokes...
Our 8th day adventure has strengthened our marriage in ways that nothing else could. We are more relaxed because we know we've got space each day to catch-up and share what's going on fully, rather than sound-bites here and there. The things we talk about has expanded too; instead of talking about chores, the kids, how much we've spent that month and whether we think the roof is leaking again... we now have head space to talk about the deeper things of life without rush. This coincides with me beginning a new qualification in coaching so I've been cheekily testing out some of my new questioning techniques on hubby - to great effect!
We've also both noticed much less 'strife'. It's as if we're just living in a slightly slower gear in some ways and the general, rumbling stress levels of day-to-day life have gone down a notch or two. Not that we don't have our 'moments'. Only yesterday, we had a bit of a miscommunication and ended up at different restaurants - both of us adamant we agreed on THIS ONE. But our usual M.O. when there has been an annoyance is to be frosty for a while until we both get over ourselves.. but now we're making up so much faster and I'm absolutely sure that's down to talking more - overall - there's little room for any resentment to build up. I know for sure he's on my side - and he knows that I'm on his. So minor squabbles soon dissipate.
Suddenly someone you've know for what feels like a lifetime seems new. This extra time to relax and talk has brought us closer together in every way.... but enough said about that!
3. Our ministry got STRONGER!!!!
When we look back over the past couple of months especially, we can see the fruit of having this extra time, better communication and headspace to help others in a way that felt 'around the edges' before we gave TV the big heave-ho.
Not only do we consult more with one another, which always strengthens your individual ministry activities, but it has helped spark ideas which we wouldn't have had just mulling things over on our own.
We have both put our time to good use.. whether spending time reading and studying the Bible, reading other books and inspirational stuff or just plain day-dreaming. This time of fasting TV has coincided with a Missions Week in our local church and it was fantastic to have the energy and creativity to get involved. With She31, God has been showing me news ways to connect more women and given me a notebook full of ideas on how to take this website to the next stage.
I've been hugely blessed with the opportunity to preach a couple of times lately and I'm growing stronger in my passion for sharing God's Word and seeing people 'get it' and know that God is for them and with them in everything they do. Not having hours slumped in front of the box has given me creative space to think and read more - I believe, making my ministry output better. I want to give God, and His people, my very best... and making sure that I honour Him with my time is just one part of that.
I don't know how long our 'fast' will last - possibly for a long time.. with special exceptions made for favourite shows or rain-day movies. One thing is for sure - life has changed for the better with this one simple change. If you've been thinking about giving up TV for a while - GO FOR IT....
Share below: have you ever fasted TV, or even the Internet! How did you get on? What differences did it make to your lifestyle?
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