Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why I don't watch TV

Nearly 2 years ago, I did something that has been the source of confusion, perplexity and even irritation to many of the people around me.

I cancelled my cable subscription.

I didn't do it for financial reasons.

I didn't replace it with rabbit ears.

And, except during Hurricane Season, I never watch the one fuzzy channel I can catch without antennas and cables.

I simply stopped watching TV all-together.

Still, nearly 2 years later, I have conversations that go pretty much like this:

"Did you see that commercial about the [insert newest, funniest advertising bit here]?"

"No. [smile] I don't watch TV."

[crickets chirping...confused look on friend's face] "What?"

It is just a given that people watch is an almost equal given that people watch TV every day. Even among my church-going friends, I am a bit of an odd-ball in this respect. They monitor what they watch and that is fine for them. But, for me, the content of what is currently on television was not the reason I ended my relationship with my television. I did it simply because the Lord said "Stop watching TV." Oh, I fought it and disobeyed for a month...but finally submitted and haven't looked back since.

The timing of it was at exactly one month before the Lord led me to begin walking in repentence regarding gluttony. When I turned that corner, the TV got turned off, too. It was not coincidence.

Since saying "buh-bye" to TV, I have noticed changes in my life and habits that I do not believe could have been effectively enacted any other way, such as:

I hardly ever snack at home.
I have gotten into the habit of having one or two purposeful snacks throughout the day to keep my metabolism going, but at home...not so much. Before, I'd come home and watch TV and eat until bedtime. In fact, anytime the TV was on...I was going to wind up eating something. They went together. Now that the TV isn't on, the snacks aren't necessary.

I think about sex a whole lot less.
What I watched wouldn't have made it to anyone's list of the most risque shows on TV. I didn't have pay channels and stayed away from Soap Opera-type shows or anything that was known for it sexual content. But no matter what show you watch today...even kids shows on Nic and Disney...there are going to be romantic story-lines. In Prime time, there will be kissing and every step leading up to "the moment"...and most minds will pick up where the scene cuts off. At least, mine did. Since turning off the "boob" tube (forgive the pun) my struggle in this area has decreased by at least 99.7%.

I am more prayerful.
Where my mind was filled with the latest plot points, spoilers, catchy commercial jingles, fantasies of me as my favorite character or worries about my ability to program my VCR properly, it is now filled with something closer to the unceasing prayer Paul speaks of in 1 Thessalonians 5.

I think about others more.
See explanation above.

I actually have time to do things call friends, read, study the word more, write, clean and wash during the week, bake for the office, have friends over...all sorts of things.

inally, I find I am a much calmer, emotionally balanced, disciplined person.

Do I blame TV entirely for what was before? Of course not, just like I don't give the lack of TV credit for the peace and discipline that have come to my life. That was God's work, totally. But He used the removal of television from my daily life to acomplish this work and He used it mightily.

I know, to most, even after reading my explanation and all of the things that have come from this one act of obedience, you will still put me firmly in the "odd ball" category. That's ok. But I would like to extend this challenge to you:

Turn off your TV for one week and invite the Lord to show you the place it has in your life.

Prior to turning off the TV for good, I had no thoughts of doing it. I didn't see a need for it. I didn't see the effects it was having on my life. I am so glad I obeyed. I don't believe I would have been successful and would not have seen the obedience in all these other things were it not for them being preceeded by obedience in regards to TV. So, turn off you set for one week and see what the Lord shows you. It will likely be a revelation. It was for me.


  1. Great exhortation. I love it when John Piper says the same in his sermons. "Please...Turn off your T.V. It will not commend you to Christ."

    Excellent! Another odd-ball redeeming the time. Maybe its not odd after all.

  2. Excellent!

    I haven't watched tv since 1999 when I gave my life over to the Lord.

    I don't miss it, and when I catch a glimpse, I remember why I don't watch it.

    I have the same conversations as you "have you seen that commercial?"

    "No, I don't watch tv"

    Makes that conversaton shorter for sure!

    I was talking to my friend that I share a home with about how her kids are actually growing up not being dependant on tv. I think that is cool.

    We do watch movies ( and our favorite are buying the DVD box collections of wholesome family shows like "Little House on the Prairie", "The Waltons" and "The Brady Bunch". It's a lot of fun too!

  3.'s good to know I am not the only odd-ball out there!

    Susan: I have nieces and nephews and worry so much about what they are absorbing through the near constant background of TV. When they are with me, I am very careful about the movies we watch together...but at home it is a different story. I have already seen effects in them. I just pray, daily, that the Lord would be their shield and insulate them from all of that.

    Michael: I hadn't yet heard Piper talk about TV...but I had assumed he wasn't a big fan of it. And, I love the idea of redeeming the time via cutting off the TV. That's great!

    Thanks, both of you, for the encouragement!