I stopped TV & social media for a week: discover how I drew closer to God because of it.
My whole life the TV was in the background. I never realised that it was always there but certainly did if it wasn’t. We, as a family, grew up with it in the house as a normality -- as it is in most homes nowadays. However, as I’m drawing closer to God, I’m noticing how my time is valuable and precious. And if there’s anything the TV knows how to do is steal your time.
So I decided that for one week I would refrain from any TV watching, social media, YouTube, Netflix, everything. The only thing I allowed myself was watching/listening to sermons. I’m not saying I was addicted beforehand, I had done this little fast before, but never for longer than 2/3 days. Plus, this time, my intentions were to draw closer to God and not just to ‘take a break’. It was intentional for my relationship with Him.
If there’s anything the TV knows how to do is steal your time.
The way the week started and ended were like two different worlds. I‘ll be honest, the first two days were the worst, it was so quiet, my meals felt so lonely all of a sudden (because I would normally watch a video or something whilst eating), my house felt so silent, and my evenings certainly ended a lot earlier because I felt bored.
Then, my mind began to rumble with thoughts, a blowing gust of ideas and doubts and worries and fears. Let’s just say the enemy took the opportunity to come at me this week. But praise God, I decided to stick with It. Even on the days that felt more distant from God, or when prayer times felt a little drier. I continued pursuing and seeking God because I knew this was all for the purpose of re-cleansing my mind and focusing my spirit on Him.
The day the fast had finally ended, I found that the quiet was my longing: I felt such peace in the silence that now, anything that goes on for too long irritates me. Not only that but I woke up on the last day with my mind so clear; I was finally given a prophetic dream from the Lord, which hadn’t happened all week (and they’re very common for me), my heart was ready to burst with the joy of the Lord and my mouth ready to sing out in praise and holy tongues.
And don’t misunderstand, I wasn’t joyous because it was over, but because the Lord opened my spiritual eyes to see what had happened this whole week. The heavens were celebrating a victory with me. A victory of putting God above pleasure. Putting Jesus above my own desires and wants. Above self, greed and excuses. It was like a father beaming with pride that His daughter put Him first.
When your heart decides to put Jesus above your other pleasures and desires, that’s when powerful things happen!
I’m not saying to go home and throw away your TV forever because only then will the heavenly blessings fall. What I’m saying is that when your heart decides to put Jesus above your other pleasures and desires, that’s when powerful things happen! And for you, it may not be the TV. Maybe it’s socialising, maybe it’s going out, maybe it’s listening to a certain type of music or drinking, eating— literally anything that you feel brings you a little bit too much pleasure, that it‘s on the verge of taking Jesus’ place in your heart. Or maybe it even already has.
What I’ve learnt:
1. The TV distracts me.
Not only in the obvious sense of time but distracts me from my own feelings. I realised I felt a certain way for a while but I hadn’t noticed before. A way that suggested I had been bottling it up for quite some time. Distraction is one of the devil's most dangerous weapons, because you always think it's harmless.
And now, I had the opportunity to deal with and understand those emotions. I feel like I’ve been cleaned up -- like I can be myself without driving my own self crazy. The ability to sit in the silence and turn my mind off without the help of a movie or a TV series or YouTube video is a big deal for me.
2. Jesus can refine me out of nothing more than obedience on my part.
There is a song called ‘Refiner’ by Maverick City music that the Lord put in my head the minute I woke up on Monday morning to start the TV fast. And guess what song I woke up with when I ended the week on Friday? That’s right. Refiner. It was a prayer that I had made to the Lord a few days before through the same song (in case you‘re unfamiliar with it, its words speak of the desire to have Jesus come and refine us and put us through the fire). It is a powerful but risky prayer. But I decided to pray it and open myself up to the refinement He had planned for me. I simply listened and watched what He did in me.
Now, I see how I’ve been cleansed and renewed. It was beautiful to watch Jesus complete His plan of refinement out of nothing more than obedience on my part.
3. I can wilfully walk into places of refinement.
That brings me unto the next thing: I discovered that I have the power to wilfully walk into places of refinement. We don’t always need to wait for the Lord to bring forth that situation. Sometimes I feel we wait upon Jesus to come and bring forth a really difficult situation to renew and cleanse us. And yes, those seasons are certainly used by God.
But now I understand that I don’t need to wait to have an argument for my patience to grow, or to wait until the fire burns out in my spirit so I can seek God more. We can choose to sacrifice things that instantly open up the door to further near us into the perfect image of Christ.
4. We are afraid of making sacrifices.
I learnt the real meaning of sacrifice. Sacrifice always scared me a little. For the longest time, I would pray so passionately for God to increase my spiritual gifts and encounters in the supernatural. But I ignored -- knowing full well -- that sacrifice would be involved. Then, when it finally occurred to me what I was asking for, I stopped. We are afraid that making sacrifices for Jesus means changing our lifestyles because we love being comfortable.
That certainly was me. Likely still is, I’m a work in progress! But I’m closer to understanding the beauty of sacrifice now. I see how the victory at the other end of the tunnel brings such joy that that change — although starting in a difficult place — helps you become the sacrifice. And the old way of living no longer interests you because what you receive is such a treasure. So the more you give up, the easier it will be to build the kind of lifestyle where sacrifice is a joyful, daily choice.
I am realistic and understand I can‘t hide my eyes forever from all types of screens in the world from now on. And that’s not my intention. I can certainly appreciate the real art behind films and videos, and how God can use that creativity also. But it’s all about balance and remembering where our priorities lie.
I feel I was humbled this week. The Lord always uses you most beautifully after you’ve been humbled. And that’s especially true for sharing convicting words from the Lord or spiritual warnings that were revealed to you. Because that’s when it’s all about Jesus. No judgement, no wrong motives: just holiness and the desire to become more like Him.
The Lord always uses you most beautifully after you’ve been humbled.
So pray about it today! Is there something sitting on your heart to sacrifice? Start slow. Jesus is with you, and victory is waiting.