Today’s “Pruning” post is from Amanda Moore Jones. Amanda traveled with me to Guatemala on the Compassion Bloggers trip in September. We had an immediate connection over authentic Tex-Mex and J.D.’s Chippery cookies, and a forever connection after stepping out of our comfort zones together. Amanda has a gentle spirit but at first encounter you will realize that she fiercely fights for her beliefs, and her loved ones. So honored to have her share her heart here.
Find Amanda’s blog here.
And her twitter here.
We have a TV in our house that we jokingly call “The Precious.” When we moved into our home two-and-a-half years ago, I was really excited about getting a desk for my new home office, upgrading to a king-size bed, and finally having legit dining table.
My husband could not have cared less about all of that. The one thing he wanted was a high definition TV. As soon as the dust settled from the movers dropping off our boxes, we jumped in the car and drove straight to Costco to get our new TV.
Curtis had big dreams for watching March Madness and his beloved Duke Blue Devils on the new flat-screen. And we couldn’t wait to watch our Thursday night comedies nestled on the couch in its shadow. We had always loved watching TV together and this would be the ultimate!
When Hurricane Ike loomed in the Gulf of Mexico and our city was expected to take a direct hit, I got my husband to board up our large living room windows by saying, “But what about The Precious?” Thankfully, the worst thing that happened to our property was that our neighbor’s roof and tree shed shingles and leaves into our yard. The Precious was spared!
It’s been two years since Hurricane Ike hit Houston. There aren’t many traces of it left around these parts, but there are some major signs that Hurricane God’s-Pruning-Shears just blew through. And this time The Precious wasn’t spared.
We have known for a while that our love for The Precious was keeping us from the fullness of Christ. It sucked a lot of time that could have been better spent, but more importantly, the things we loved to watch on it were quenching the Holy Spirit in us. And it seemed to get worse with every episode. We countered feelings of conviction with denial, excuses, and constantly saying “I swear I will never watch this show again” and not following through. God was trying to take us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) while we fed ourselves shows that displayed ever-increasing wickedness (Romans 6:19).
About a month ago I had one of the most fulfilling days of my life. I’d gone to a prayer gathering that night and afterward had been given some very encouraging news. I was so excited about what God was doing in my life. When I got home, I flipped to my favorite show on the DVR. Within three minutes I was faced with the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen on TV. I turned it off immediately. I’m done! I am no longer supporting this show, I thought. The same thing had happened the week before and I was just so bummed. As strongly as I felt in that moment, it only took about three minutes to talk myself back out of it. I watched the rest of the show and went to bed.
Maybe you can guess how I felt the next day. Defeated? Yes. Sick? Yes. Sad that I had quenched the Holy Spirit after such an incredible day of fellowship with Him? Definitely. The Lord has delivered me from much worse bondage than this battle with the TV. We have worked hard on some things. Was I really going to continue letting something as meaningless as entertainment limit His work in my life?
That day He gave me the grace to say no. No, I will not exchange intimacy with Christ for my favorite TV shows. I told my husband I thought we should get rid of the TV and, holy cow, he agreed! Ten minutes later he was on the phone with our cable company canceling everything. For whatever reason, in our home we can’t just plug in the TV and get the basic channels either. TV was gone.
There were some things we didn’t think through at the time – like March Madness. I still don’t know what we’ll do when Duke plays. I guess that’s what friends are for. Also, I’m a mom and I know there are times when I’ll need to pop in a DVD for the kids. For that reason, The Precious is still in our living room. But its power over our life and our walk with God is broken.
Please do not hear me saying that I think everyone needs to ditch their TV. It’s because we are weak, weak people that we had to go to this extreme. Stronger people can make better decisions in the moment. Maybe we will get to that place and be able to watch TV in our home again one day. God knows if that will ever happen.
We have been incredibly blessed during this pruning season. After the kids go to bed – get this – my husband and I actually talk! It’s not just chit chat and family management conversations, but meaningful discussions. I’m also on my third book in a month, which is saying a lot for me. I finally braved my first visit to the library with my preschooler and my toddler and we’ve been back many times since then. My son is learning how to read and I’m fully engaged with him in it. Spiritually, we are no longer trapped in the ugly cycle of laughing at something one night and then having to confess it to God the next day. The freedom is so refreshing.
Honestly, there are days and nights when it’s hard and we miss being able to just veg in front of the TV. But it’s actually been much less of a sacrifice than I thought. The fruit that resulted from the pruning tastes good. Very good. And I’m thankful.
Have you pruned any distractions like The Precious? Did you find the pruning lead to more fruitfulness?