Today I start a one-month media fast to seek the Lord and find my next steps. I feel him calling me to prayer, beckoning me away from my couch and my TV. I sense him awakening in me old dreams. I can’t shake the inkling he wants to give me a greater life.
So I start this fast to pray and think—to rid myself of the barrage of distractions. Today I begin to listen to God through this no-media journey.
No TV. No movies. No Facebook. No Fiction.
I have a deep desire to start a blog and hone my writing skills, but it’s so much easier to sit on the couch. TV promises me a way to unwind and relax, to kick back and not think.
I’ll save you the lament about my mind going soft. But what I call “mommy brain” might more aptly be (insert Stephen King quote about TV being media tit)
Most days I long to escape into a two-hour movie or a novel instead of letting sitting before God and letting him teach me deeper truths through his word. Why am I so stubborn?
I know Jesus. I understand the truth, and I desperately want to do his will.
But sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I don’t want to pick up my shield of faith. Some days I don’t want to fight. Some days, I want the Promised Land without the battle. Most days, I don’t want to wield a sword or march. I just want to finish my bag of Doritos.
Even though the Israelites owned the promise of God, God left them the dirty work of driving out the Canaanites.
The lazy side of me hates this paradox of kingdom life. True faith usually requires that proverbial leap. God has promised it—but yet he calls us to activate our faith.
Take Jericho for instance. God had given the Israelites the city. Yet God required them to march that seventh time and shout before the walls started crumbling.
I like the faith part, but I can live without the work. Just as God called the Israelite to participate, he’s calling us to work with him.
But wasn’t the payoff good? The Bible says the Israelites lived in homes they didn’t build and ate from fields they didn’t plant. What a beautiful picture of new-covenant grace.
For the Israelites this grace followed their grit.
God has made us new creatures in Christ—but he left us with the need to daily transform our lives by renewing our minds with truth from his word.
I still lose the battle to my flesh and the devil more days than I want to admit. That’s another reason I’m beginning this media fast. I see how I’ve let cynicism crack open the door to my heart and slowly sneak in. I realize it when I mutter four-letter words and am tempted to slip them onto the page.
It’s trite to say, but the garbage I’ve been taking in through TV, movies, meaningless “chick lit” surprises me in its potency to corrupt my thinking, and therefore, my life.
Garbage in = Garbage out. I hope this cliché proves my point.
The amount of time I spend consuming trash cripples my dreams. My writing life suffers the neglect leaving an ache of what could be.
How many years have I wasted?
I sit and allow this grief to wash over me, hoping the anguish purges me from my other disease, fear. Old-fashioned, they’re-all-going-to-laugh-at-me fear.
I’m afraid to give myself to my passion for writing. What if I’m just another hack?
Worse yet is the fear I will write, but soullessly because I’ve divorced myself from real life choosing entertainment instead. Would I rather watch life unfold in a movie or live vicariously in a good book than flesh out an adventurous story myself?
Good writing embodies more than ideas strung together in interesting words on a page. Good writing emanates not only from the heart but from the gut. The process is more visceral than cognitive. I can feel the words, taste them, birth them. My best writing is like this. It comes from the soul.
It requires living and not just thinking. Visceral writing demands gumption and courage and cannot live where self-doubt and fear of failure remain.
What if Joshua and Israel’s forces would have given in to self-doubt and trepidation? Would they have survived on the east side of the Jordan? Maybe so but what a waste of potential and promise.
God wanted more for them like he wants more for us.