Pruned, Amanda Jones

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?

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Nicole Unice

    Amanda, we also just cancelled our cable! Stephen King called TV the "one-eyed demon"…and that's what it had started feeling like in our home. I'm so proud of my hubs for agreeing to it, and it has made a difference in our lives. Now the internet is another matter….but baby steps, right?
    My recent post Honesty- Part Two

  • Courtney

    This post really resonates with me in a big way! I unplugged my TV for the month of October because I felt like a lot of the things I was watching were leading me (and my thoughts) in a very unchrist-like direction. Now we're well into November and I'm not missing it a bit! Well, I'll confess to turning it on for the sumo tournament the past few days (I live in Japan), but it goes right back off after the last match. It's been incredibly freeing! I never realized just how much free time I really have. Now, I spend more time cooking dinner from scratch with fresh ingredients (something I enjoy but "never had time for"), reading, and investing in my family and friends. I'm also sleeping better now that my brain has time to wind down instead of being overstimulated with flashy shows and advertisements right up until bedtime.

    I'm a perfectionist so I'm constantly looking for areas in my life that could use some pruning. Recently, I've also been working on not using my computer at home on weeknights, since I already spend a lot of time on the computer at work and since I'm very rarely doing anything productive (or maybe I should say fulfilling?) on it at night anyway. That's been much more of a challenge than the TV, but I'm working on it! Thanks for the great post. It helps me feel like I'm not alone in my struggle to prune where I need to!

  • The Precious – such a perfect name for television LOL I have an ancient tv and when we moved last year, I lost the new DTV box so I have been without shows. Unless I go to a friend' house or get online to watch them. It's really helped me to pay attention to what I'm watching and it makes it a lot easier to say "no". I still have some work to do – eventually I'd like to store the tv away and only pull it out for family movie nights…I'm not quite there yet LOL I love watching movies – but it has made me see that I can live without the television and there are a lot of other, healthier, activities to be done instead.
    My recent post Lazy Days

  • Amanda, So impressed that you gave up your TV. I used to watch a lot more TV than I do now but still the thought of giving it up completely makes me just a wee bit uncomfortable 😉 Maybe I will start with one show? Thank you for sharing your story here. I have loved getting to know you this year.

  • bennettaj

    Amanda, I've really taken stock on what I'm watching too. And for me, it's really a time issue. I could be doing so much more than just sitting there. But, I know there is a quality issue too.
    My issue is with how much money is wrapped up in our 2 flat-screens. Not sure if I could convince hubby to let his "prized possession" go though.
    Thanks for being brave and blazing a trail for those of us being led down the same path
    My recent post Radical Chapter 9

  • Oh my gosh…I can soooo totally related to this. Except for me my “Precious” is my computer. I work on it, I blog on it, and so naturally I also goof off on it. If I just got on there and did what I needed to do, read the blogs I need to read, and got off I’d be good. But then there’s that whole Facebook thing that has become such consumer of my time. Ugh. Maybe I need a Facebook break. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • We did the same thing with the cable…cut it and found out how much we've let the TV suck away the hours of our day. It's been a very good and necessary pruning.
    My recent post I hate being sick

  • Brooke

    My husband and I decided to get rid of our TV four months ago and it was the best decision we have ever made. It is amazing to see what the Lord has done in our lives by simply creating more “white space” in our day to day. We will never go back.

  • I was going to post a comment on Justin's post yesterday about how I think we need to get a better handle on our dependence on "The Precious" but I didn't.

    I know this is something we need to do…having said that it's amazing how difficult it really is. I've literally been minutes away from getting on the phone to cancel but something inside me keeps pulling me away from the phone, and I'm pretty sure it's not the Spirit!
    My recent post Be Back Soon!

  • amanda.
    thanks for being wild for things of Jesus.
    i am inspired by you friend.

    My recent post will you be a guinea pig

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  • We recently got rid our satellite package too. It has been great to be free from living by the TV's schedule |(which sadly we were).

    Thanks for sharing from your experiences!
    My recent post The Grace of God- Review and Giveaway

  • Kendra Grubinski

    We gave up our TV when we moved overseas (not totally by choice – the tv, not the move 🙂 ) but when we moved back we decided that we would have a TV, but it would be in the basement. We have to make a conscious effort to watch something, actually plan for it. We don't have cable… but we have to keep the computer/phone usage in check. There will always be SOMETHING trying to draw us away from Him… Proud of you and this BIG step you've taken! Thanks for sharing!
    My recent post Cutting Corners

  • Darla Baerg

    This is the best writing from Amanda that I have ever read. Not just because of the depth of what she is sharing but also because it's absolutely eloquent. Very powerful words!

  • Beth

    When Zak was laid off, we got rid of the cable (that was the first thing that went-as he was driving home with his box of stuff, I was calling the cable company) and I can honestly say that I'm not sure we will ever subscribe to cable again. It's almost been two years and there hasn't been one time that I've thought, "man, I wish I had all of those useless channels to flip through" 🙂 I love the idea of turning it off completely. Right now we have a strict rule that if an adult in the house is watching TV, they must also be doing something else (tying a quilt, blogging, editing photos, etc). Love that you are doing this, it really can be such a time sucker and there are so many AWFUL shows on TV. Definitely drives the Spirit of the Lord away from our homes when we allow things like that into our home.

  • I can definitely relate to your experience with "the Precious." Honestly, my husband still enjoys his sports, but we are getting closer to that point each day.

    Several years ago, we had a TV in the living room and one in our bedroom. We lost both remotes the same day. I looked everywhere but they were just gone. For 6 weeks, I couldn't find them and I really felt God was sending me a clear message here. I watched very little TV during that time and got a LOT of reading done. Then, after 6 weeks, both remotes turned up on the same day AGAIN in very obvious places that we should have seen when we looked for them before.

    This really affected how we viewed, but now I am finding myself getting addicted to the thing again. Maybe I need to try something radical, like a TV fast.

  • I loved reading this post and it really hit home for me as I, too, have been convicted about t.v. lately. (Although I’m wondering if God isn’t working on a whole bunch of Christians all over the place on this issue.)

    I have given up my favorite show (which I suspect might be the one you gave up, too, Amanda) because it was SO out of line with the Bible. I felt it was trying to desensitiz the world regarding certain subjects. I thought it would be hard to give up but it hasn’t been. The great thing is I feel the satisfaction of doing something that pleased God!

  • Sara McNutt

    So good, thank you. And I love that there was absolutely no condemnation, but an exhortation to pursue righteousness.

  • We did the same thing two months ago. We cut our cable cords. We still keep up with a few shows via Hulu, but we gave up a whole lot of viewing–especially the mindless "there's nothing on but I'm going to keep watching something dumb for three hours" business. It's been really wonderful, and I don't think we'll ever go back. We're expecting our first child, and last night we were eating dinner at a restaurant that was playing Nickelodeon in the back….and the only thing I could think (and say to my husband) was that I am so glad our kids won't be exposed to advertising in this way at an early age.
    My recent post My first big baby purchase!

  • Terrie

    Great post Amanda. God hasn't asked me to get rid of the TV but He did have a season of pruning what I saw on the one eyed monster. We lived in Japan for many years and were "deprived" of the endless variety of TV shows. I grew up watching what I thought was the greatest southern show in the world, "Designing Women." After returning from Japan, I discovered that Designing Women came on everyday at 10AM. I was so excited at thought of seeing some great southern women strutting their stuff. First time I watched the show after returning from Japan, God had a field day with me. As I am watching, He began to ask me questions as how does this show glorify Him? Would you know this one episode was about sex outside of marriage. I began to try to explain to God that I was sure this was as bad as it got. Not all the shows are as bad as this one was. (Like anyone can argue with God and He does know what is on TV.) The next day show was worse. Since that day, which was about 12 years ago, I am very conscientious of what I watch on TV.

  • We just moved and in our purging we sold our two TVs in a garage sale. We had two huge monstrosities for TVs and our intent is to buy a flat screen. Well, here we are a month later with no TV. And we are finding we love it! We have 3 children, 12,10 & 7 years old. They will mention that they miss a TV occasionally but most of the time they are outside playing. Granted, we live in AZ and we just came out of 100 degree temps so outside is a new thing for them. I highly, HIGHLY recommend locking your TVs up at least for a month. Just give it a try. It is so awesome!!!

  • "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."
    I totally know what you're saying!
    Thanks for this story!
    (Also, I got a kick out of how you called it "The Precious." haha)
    My recent post Annex For the Win

  • "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." Oh, this is so true.

    I didn't grow up watching lots of tv. We never had cable. My parents took every video and muted out the curse words (if there were any) before allowing us to watch them. We changed the channel when a beer commercial came on, for goodness sakes! The time now spent in front of the tv is sad. A lot of times, it's just Food Network or HGTV, but it's still time that could be spent with my daughter or in the Word.

    Thanks for sharing, Amanda.
    My recent post Its beginning to smell a lot like Thanksgiving

  • It's funny . . . . every time we go on vacation I end up not doing/seeing/using something. I realize it's not the big deal I thought it was and it's easier to give it up once I get home. God is so sweet to send me on "trial runs." LOL
    My recent post Royal Wedding Memories

  • thegypsymama

    I had no idea, Amanda! We ditched ours a few years ago and I agree – it's liberating not to have a TV schedule driving one's agenda in the evenings. Don't get me wrong, though, Hulu is a nice lifeline. But we've also found we just aren't disciplined enough to have it and then not have it on.

    Love hearing your thoughts on this one – and I've called the mammoth TV that my in-laws have "The Idol" for years 🙂 Bet it could get together with your Precious and live happily ever after 🙂

    My recent post In case you’re wondering where I’ve been

  • So on your page. Did the same thing just over two months ago and started my blog the same day! I definitely relate to the different kind of freedom I have, and I'm loving that I'm relating more to real live people than fictional characters. God prefers it, too, I think. Thanks for sharing your walk so that other folks faced with similar stories can be encouraged. God's so cool like that.
    My recent post thankful thursday 2

  • Ernestine S. Bonicelli

    Oh how refreshing!  I love honesty in believers.  I have a long standing love affair with the TV.  When my marriage was in trouble, I felt lonely and it was then I think that I let it get a hold on my life that I never dreamed would get so strong.  I am now 78 years old and it still has the hold.  I love the Lord, I love His word, I love music that honors Him and I have no books but Christian books.  But the TV is my downfall.  It is a stronghold that I have not been able to trust God to destroy.  I am sure it is interfering with my faith walk in ways I don’t even realize.  There are areas of my life where I simply do not have victory through faith in Him and this may be the reason.  I would appreciate any prayers to agree with mine that I will be delivered from this.  I also have an addiction to this computer, not quite as strong but way too strong.  I want God and His word to be my only addictions!!!!!  By the way, Amanda, your precious mother has blessed my life in so many ways, I could never express them all – I love her to pieces and thank God for her, she is His gift to us!!!!!