Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 318247

Shown: posts 1 to 7 of 7. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Lenten Sacrifices...

Posted by Dena on February 27, 2004, at 13:31:23

Usually for Lent, we give up meat on Fridays, & desserts except for on Sundayas (feast days). All that's fine and good, and traditional, but it struck me that really, all the food sacrifices do for me is to make me feel proud of my will power (as well as grumpy when I'd really like a cookie). And my children just look forlorn after dinner. Not much spiritual growth here.

This year, I've finally given in to my husband's decade-long plea that we give up the TV for Lent (& perhaps after - that's his true desire). I've fought this for years now. I'm not sure why... I hate what most of the shows "teach" my children, i.e., sexual immorality, dating, disrespect for authority, cheating, name-calling, disregard for life, crude language, violence, etc (& this is all from just the "safe" family hour programming & child-focused channels! We don't allow them to watch the adult programs). Even the cartoons are destructive! Every one I've checked out (& that's a LOT) present the parents as complete idiots & the children as smart alecks. In other words, children rule & parents are to be discounted. Exactly the oppositve messages that I'm teaching my children: sexual purity, courtship, respect for authority, honesty, kindness, respect for life, edifying language, peace, etc. And that God has given them parents to lovingly teach them that authority is to protect them. Not to squelch them.

I despise what I've allowed the television to do to my children. Their creativity has been stunted - they're used to sitting mindlessly in front of a hypnotizing box. They don't enjoy the fresh air & exercise that their bodies need. They've become lazy. They fight with each other - they've learned the "me first" syndrome, rather than putting others before themselves. They don't know how to entertain themselves - they get bored without the barrage of stimulation that the TV has blasted at them. They don't know the simple pleasure of getting lost in a book. It's so sad. And I take full responsibility for allowing this to happen to them.

So, why have I been so reluctant to take this away from my children? Because I have to sacrifice it for myself as well. Otherwise, they'll just see it as hypocritical. I look forward to getting all 7 of them in bed at night, straightening up the living room & settling in for a self-indulgent hour or two of private escapism. I've justified it for years because, after all, I'm not watching the "Spice" channel, or spending thousands of dollars watching the QVC network! I'm just watching the decorating shows, the talk shows & sometimes even the religious shows.

But...I've begun to realize that I seem to always need things going on around me... activity, tasks, chores, errands, music, radio, television... things that get me caught up in them, keep me busy, keep me distracted... from what?

It's like I'm trying to keep myself from hearing the still, small voice of God.

Because if I don't hear Him, clearly, then I have an excuse as to why I don't obey Him. If I don't hear Him, I'm not responsible to do what He asks of me ... & there's always that fear that He'll ask me to do things I dont' want to do, things that are hard, uncomfortable, inconvenient, painful, etc.

And, bottom line, I want my life to be easy, comfortable, convenient, pleasant. I want my life to be mine, so that I have the last say, so that I get to call the shots, so that I get to be in charge of me.

And, I hear Him calling me away from my own grip on my life. I hear Him asking me to trust Him, to let go of my own agenda, to discover what He had in mind for me when He made me.

I've made my comfort, my convenience, my preferences into idols. Spiritually speaking, I've put these idols onto the altar of my life, & I spend a great deal of time & attention on them, polishing them, admiring them, protecting them from getting knocked down. I've even been known to attack those who threaten to displace my idols. But for all of my careful tending of my idols, they don't bring me the peace, the joy, the security for which I long.

And I feel God calling me, asking me to remove my idols from the place where He rightfully belongs - on the altar of my life, which is my heart.

I know that turning off the TV for 40 days isn't going to fix me. But it's just one small way that I can perhaps quiet myself enough to hear the One who alone can do for me what I can't do for myself.

Shalom, Dena

 

Re: Lenten Sacrifices...

Posted by holymama on March 3, 2004, at 10:06:54

In reply to Lenten Sacrifices..., posted by Dena on February 27, 2004, at 13:31:23

Good post Dena.

There is obviously a lot of thought and searching out into your questioning.

I felt that I had to respond to this post because I relate to your situation a lot. I agree with everything you are saying and I feel very strongly about it. I am one of those people with a "Turn off TV, Turn on Life" and "Television is Drugs" bumperstickers on my car. I also have a TV that is used selectively (no cable, just movies), but very often overused with my 3 kids, like half of the day in the winter. I also want to assure you that I do not judge you and your situation because I know how much mothers need a babysitter, and how much kids love TV. (DId you say 7 kids??? !!! WOW!)

I just wanted to remind you of something. Life can be very good without TV. I have been in both places -- my husband and I never had a TV before kids, until my parents bought us one because they assured us we needed one. We planned to raise our children without one, but of course we have given in. We go through long periods (often in the summer) with the TV put away in the summer. And having no cable means that we watch far less than we normally would, since we don't like to rent movies often (though the kids have a stack of their own at home). And then we go through periods like this winter of disguistingly long hours of movie watching. I would say that all of your suspicions about what they are learning is correct. My kids' behavior is black and white when they are/are not watching TV. WHile they are watching it, they are lazy, disrepectful to me, whiney, uncreative, they fight a lot, etc...Amazingly, after putting the TV in the closet (literally), and after a week or so of difficult adjustment time (be prepared for that if you do it), they become so much more content and aggreeable. My house is transformed into creative kids who play by themselves, get along better, leave me alone more, play outside... And the effects on me are equally as amazing. I READ. THat is the one thing I love to do but can't find the time for if I am watching the TV at night. I look forward to it after an inintial period of wondering what to do and feeling bored. I suddenly have time to do more things!!!You obviously are a spiritual person; what about reading and meditating on something spiritual that will enrich your life? I have been reading the Bible in the bath after I get the kids to bed, and I look forward to it -- it is my favorite, most treasured time of the day, and since I've been doing it, I have been growing and feeling so good. Of course, it's not an easy transition to make; I'm no idiot. The hardest part is turning that TV off to begin with. I hope you try it for Lent. I love hearing from conscious people who are aware and who want to live well. I read somewhere that the opposite of faith is hypocrisy. I'm probably misquoting that since it doesn't make sense to me, but anyway, the hypocrisy in living a life you know is wrong, or hurtful to yourself and your children is something we should all work on. I'm not judging, since I am right now trying to make changes in my own life about things I am hypocritical about. We all need to reevaluate our lives and try to live honestly and well. Making those changes is serving God in the way He wants us to. Good luck to you, and please keep me updated!!

Autumn

 

Re: Lenten Sacrifices... holymama

Posted by Dena on March 3, 2004, at 11:12:16

In reply to Re: Lenten Sacrifices..., posted by holymama on March 3, 2004, at 10:06:54

Thank you Autumn!

Is that your real name? You don't have to tell me, of course, since keeping anonymity in places like this can be a good idea. But I love your name, nonetheless. I'm an October baby, so it resonates with me.

Yes, we gave up the TV for Lent. And I know that we won't be going back to the garbage shows once Lent is over, if we even take back the TV at all.

My kids are surviving. We let the little ones watch some "Veggie Tales" on Sunday, being a feast day. They enjoyed it, but then wanted to go outside. Thankfully, we've been enjoying some lovely mild weather here lately.

I feel the withdrawal every evening after they're in bed, but I've been catching up on reading. Still, it's "mindless" magazine reading, but at least it's not the TV. I'm looking forward to the finishing of our year-long remodeling job of our bathroom, which will have a 6 foot antique clawfoot tub for me to soak in - hurrah! The idea of reading in there each night is such a lovely thought - thanks for the idea!

I appreciate your encouragement about this. I know it's right, but it's still hard to imagine not having the TV at all for the rest of my life. I guess I need to take it one step at a time, & allow God to lead me in the way He wants me to go (gosh, that sounds profound! Didn't someone else once say that?).

Shalom, Dena

 

Re: Lenten Sacrifices...

Posted by holymama on March 3, 2004, at 18:19:50

In reply to Re: Lenten Sacrifices... holymama, posted by Dena on March 3, 2004, at 11:12:16

Whoo hoo! You did try giving it up for Lent. I'm so excited about that. It always takes me a while to get used to doing something else once I put my TV away, it's probably harder for me than my children, but eventually I appreciate it so, so much. I realize what a complete waste of time it really was. :) Taking it one day at a time is a good idea. You really will appreciate it if you stick to it long enough.

My real name is Autumn, yes. Autumn Dawn, actually, born in early September before the Autumn, but in the Northern part of the country where the trees were changing, so I am the 'Dawn of the Autumn'. My three children have interesting names also, but I guess posting them would not feel right. !

A 6 foot clawfoot tub sounds absolutely amazing, and I am a bit jealous, and I am sure you will be in heaven doing your reading or meditating there. I sleep so well after a long bath.

I do not celebrate Lent, but am intensly studying and meditating on the Bible, and have been thinking about making sacrifices for the love of God. I am a big drinker, unfortuanately, and for a very long time have been drinking every night, not just a little wine, but vodka or scotch. What a waste of time, and after meditating on some scripture, realized that it was such a hard thing to consider giving up, it was almost like I loved IT more than God. It was getting in my way of being good, of being drawn to good, of loving the good (I guess 'the good' being my way of thinking about God). I really agonized about this since I am taking my Biblical stuff really seriously these days, and decided to give up hard alcohol. Period. No more. Ever. Wow, that is such a big thing for me, but it still leaves me some room to enjoy alcohol: wine and beer. I still have a little wine every night, but it's not something I go crazy with, and I'd have a really hard time getting drunk on it. Cheaper too! So that's my little story of sacrifice for God. I feel so much better about myself after doing that. I hope it sticks. :)

Love, Autumn

 

Re: Lenten Sacrifices... holymama

Posted by Dena on March 6, 2004, at 16:48:50

In reply to Re: Lenten Sacrifices..., posted by holymama on March 3, 2004, at 18:19:50

Dear Autumn Dawn (looooove your name!);

I figured I'd better hurry up and respond to your post, since I expect to be blocked any moment now.

You wrote:

"I am a big drinker, unfortuanately, and for a very long time have been drinking every night, not just a little wine, but vodka or scotch. What a waste of time, and after meditating on some scripture, realized that it was such a hard thing to consider giving up, it was almost like I loved IT more than God. It was getting in my way of being good, of being drawn to good, of loving the good (I guess 'the good' being my way of thinking about God). I really agonized about this since I am taking my Biblical stuff really seriously these days, and decided to give up hard alcohol. Period. No more. Ever"

Isn't it funny how the things we use for comfort become "idols" in our lives? It seems that God means it when He describes Himself as a "jealous" God. He really wants to have first place in our lives, & won't settle for anything else. He wants to be our source of comfort, of joy, of security, of identity, of reality, of purpose & meaning, of peace... and when we put ________ in His place (even when we don't know we're doing it!), we push Him out of first place. It can be so darn subtle too.

I applaud your awareness of having done this with alcohol (been there, done that); I've felt the seductive allure of that liquid security blanket. I always used to have the fantasy of getting really buzzed (not totally out of control, just to break down my defenses) & then show up (anonymously, of course) at a church, to see if I could really lose myself in worship! I never did it, & now I no longer drink. But it's no coincidence that in Acts, people thought that the ones who were experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit were drunk! I've seen and heard those who are "intoxicated" with the Spirit of God - they lose their inhibitions, & just swoon with love for God. I feel so jealous when I see others experiencing that... but I'm still dealing with an over-active sense of control. Someday, I'd love to be swept off my feet by God!

Keep reading your Bible, keep seeking, keep knocking, keep asking. He'll answer.

Shalom, Dena

If I get blocked & you ever want to email me, it's: brehmites@aol.com

 

Re: Lenten Sacrifices...

Posted by holymama on March 7, 2004, at 14:04:36

In reply to Re: Lenten Sacrifices... holymama, posted by Dena on March 6, 2004, at 16:48:50

Hi Dena,

Thank you for that really insightful message. I love what you said:

Isn't it funny how the things we use for comfort become "idols" in our lives? It seems that God means it when He describes Himself as a "jealous" God. He really wants to have first place in our lives, & won't settle for anything else. He wants to be our source of comfort, of joy, of security, of identity, of reality, of purpose & meaning, of peace... and when we put ________ in His place (even when we don't know we're doing it!), we push Him out of first place. It can be so darn subtle too.

I hadn't thought about drinking as being an idol I was worshipping, but it's really true, and what you said has given me a new way to look at things. Once again, I am blown away by this Bible thing. Christianity and the wisdom in the Bible has given me a new language to describe my deepest feelings, and a really accurate and truthful way for me. I had written off Christianity for a long time during college and young adulthood, and now that I've discovered it again (actually, for the first time...as a child growing up in a protestant church, I never 'got' it.), it is blowing my mind. I can take one scripture and meditate on it for a few days...and find amazing truths in it. It's the same with every scripture. That Jesus guy really knew what he was talking about!! :)

As for your jealosy over those who become intoxicated with God, well I am one of them. I don't know if you have read any of my other posts on this board, but in the recent past I have been diagnosed as bipolar, studied the Bible with a Jehovah's Witness, had a very manic episode where I became very religious and 'high' on God -- feeling like I was so close to HIm, to enlightenment, or whatever it might be. I am now straightening myself out with meds, but I am constantly going a little manic still, every month I do it and I need to readjust my meds, and every time this happens, I get high on God. I am still studying with my Witness friend, and I love it; she takes my experiences with God very seriously, where other people are scared of it, scared of my illness, want me to 'come back down'. I promised my husband I would find another church with him to raise our children in, right now we are attending a Quaker meetinghouse, and it might be where we will end up. But he has given me permission to continue my spiritual quest outside of the Quaker church as well...I just feel too passionate and zalous about God right now to contain it in a silent Quaker meeting once a week. :)

Sorry you are worried about being blocked...I don't know the reason exactly, but I see that it is a problem on this site, and I say problem, because I think most people here seem to agree it's not in the best interests of keeping an open dialogue. There is a point at which sensitivity to hurting others becomes overbearing and oppressive. Thank you for the e-mail address. I may use it sometime!

Love, Autumn

 

Re: Lenten Sacrifices... holymama

Posted by Dena on March 7, 2004, at 16:36:38

In reply to Re: Lenten Sacrifices..., posted by holymama on March 7, 2004, at 14:04:36

Dear Autumn Dawn -

I'm thrilled to hear that you're "getting it" about what Jesus said about life, both now and later. If we seek, ask and knock, He's always faithful to answer us where we are.

Regarding your study with your friend from the Jehovah's Witnesses, you might want to do a search into the differences between orthodox Christianity (not necessarily Eastern Orthodox; I'm using the term to mean that which is embraced by all Christians) and Jehovah's Witnesses. I don't want to go into more detail on this board, but I'd be happy to share some of what I've discovered via email. I believe strongly in knowing as much as you can about any organization that you want to embrace, especially organizations that deal with something as important as the soul. Then you'll have a fully-informed decision to make.

I hope you and your family will find a place to worship that feeds all of you - ask the Lord to show you where that is. And remember, He wants to use you to feed others there too; He has a place for you that will feel the most like home (on this side of heaven, that is).

Shalom, Dena


This is the end of the thread.


Show another thread

URL of post in thread:


Psycho-Babble Faith | Extras | FAQ


[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, bob@dr-bob.org

Script revised: February 4, 2008
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/cgi-bin/pb/mget.pl
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.