In the depth of winter, binge watching TV is so tempting. When it is cold, wet and dark outside, you want to stay in and forget, and so watching a wee programme feels so comforting. And somehow you just keep going…..
Confession- I have been watching ‘New Amsterdam’, a hospital drama which has great characters and storylines. There are insights into what leadership looks like, as well as many complex pastoral situations. It can be quite mesmerising.
However, I am very conscious of the downside of it all too. Firstly, we need to have a certain discernment about what we watch. If we are feeling a little fragile, then watching something disturbing can keep us apart at night. Some of the darker series can be addictive but unsettling too, and have a really negative impact.
The other thing is that by watching too much TV, we actually are in danger of not living in the real world, but instead living through the lives of the characters we watch. They become our family, and we get so embroiled in what happens to them, that we feel as if we know them, and that they have become real to us.
There are times when binge watching something is helpful, in the holidays, or when we are looking for a distraction from illness or grief. These series can be a welcome distraction, and help pass the time. Some series are so well written, they are modern masterpieces, and tell a story so well.
However, I know I need to be careful. I need to learn to know when to turn the TV off, and be courageous to live in the real world. It is not as safe as being an observer, but it is what we are called to do, when we are ready.
In Psalm 90, verse 12 it says ‘ Teach us to count the number of our days, so that we may gain a wisdom of the heart.’ We only live a finite life on this earth, although an eternal one with God. We need times to relax and do very little. Yet we are called to use our time wisely, and to be purposeful. I don’t think I want some one doing a eulogy at my funeral saying that she was good at watching TV! I think I need a bit more variety somehow.
Gracious God, I thank you for the precious gift of life, to wake up each morning, to live in your love, and to show that love to others. Lord Jesus, sometimes I need to rest, to find restoration, even to watch TV, just to unwind. However help me to have healthy boundaries in my life, so that I can live life in all its fullness. Holy spirit, please may my rest bring renewal and inspiration, so I can live more purposefully for You, and to love and to bless others. Help me I pray, in Jesus’ name Amen.