Unplug Yourself

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Many, many moons ago, I was addicted to television. Cartoons in the afternoon. Followed by Wonder Woman, Kung Fu, and Benson. The evening news was typically my final flag to turn off the television set and finally start my homework.

In the summers, my addiction to television grew even worse. I was forbidden to go outside, and due to the sweltering heat and no swimming pool in sight or friends to hang out with, I was often content to stay indoors. Unfortunately, that often entailed more television. I’d start off my mornings eating my cereal while watching the game shows: $25,000 Pyramid, Family Feud, the Price is Right. And then followed my soap operas:   Young and the Restless, All My Children, Days of Our Lives, and General Hospital. Finally in the afternoon, somewhere between the cartoons and Wonder Woman, I became nauseated on my television overload and would finally pick up a book to read. By evening, under my parents’ watchful eyes, I was finally able to get out of our house and enjoy some fresh air outside. Only to follow that up with some good ole primetime tv! (Yuck! Now I think I’m gonna throw up!)

Television. In the 80s and early 90s, that usually meant, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the Fox network.

Ahhh, the good old days. When life was truly simple.

Now we not only have television, we have Cable television. We have Premium channels. Movie channels.

Thank God that I am no longer an addict! But then yesterday, I read JMathis’s blog:

Time-killer. Brain-killer. Relationship-killer. Dream-killer. This is what I know about television.

Yet, I ingest this poison nightly.

I have all these dreams that I want to fulfill in my life—dreams which require much prayer, thought, planning, diligence and hard work. Yet, after a long day of work and going through the nightly motions of making dinner and putting my daughter to bed, I am too “exhausted” to even dream my dreams. Slowly, these dreams fade to black as the drone of the TV replaces them one-by-one and piece-by-piece, until they are no more and bear no more significance to my life.

Ouch!  As I read JMathis’s blog yesterday, I realized while I no longer had the luxury of watching television hours on end like I did as a child, I probably still watched it more than I should even now. As I read her blog, I began to feel convicted. I knew I was still guilty of watching television when I should be working on my book…or writing my blog…or spending quiet time with God.  But I wasn’t that bad…was I?

After all, I only watched it an hour or two in the evening when I was unwinding…or on the weekend when I was bored. Or when I was tired. Or when I felt stressed. Or even when there was nothing good to watch. Oh, no, I am still an addict!

But now it’s not just television. How many times have any of you logged onto Facebook—just for a minute or two, you promise yourself—just to check your status, and somehow magically two or three hours have flown by without you realizing it?! And if that isn’t enough, we also have email, Google-ing, Yahoo-ing, shopping, browsing, surfing, twittering, texting, etc. And we can choose to do it on our iPad, our Blackberry, our iPhone, or other mobile gadget. The amount of other things vying for our attention can feel overwhelming.

Time-killers. Brain-killers. Relationship-killers. Dream-killers.

All of them. Is it any surprise that all the things that are supposed to make our lives easier are actually only making them more complicated and busier?

What to do? We can’t just unplug our devices now can we…….or can’t we?

I haven’t read it yet, but I recently heard about a book written by a woman who did just that, albeit, she did have to bribe her three teenagers to get them to participate in the experiment. But in the her book, The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale, the author recounts that while it was initially challenging to pull the plug to all of their technologies, in the end, they reconnected as a family and re-discovered many of the simpler pleasures of life like reading, playing musical instruments, and spending time together as a family.

While most of us would be hard-pressed to give up watching television or surfing or texting for several months or weeks, maybe we, too, can resolve to unplug ourselves for one day a week. Or for one evening.

Maybe after I finish my blog, I’ll quickly surf the Internet for the best deal on the book I just mentioned, and then I’ll turn off my computer, my Blackberry, and the TV and actually read a book the old fashioned way…oh, but wait…that means I’ll have to update my status on Facebook first…you know, just so my friends won’t be wondering where I am…

One step at a time, right?!  LOL!

Worshipping at the Altar of Television

By JMathis

femmefuelThe television. Time-killer. Brain-killer. Relationship-killer. Dream-killer. This is what I know about television.

Yet, I ingest this poison nightly.

I have all these dreams that I want to fulfill in my life—dreams which require much prayer, thought, planning, diligence and hard work. Yet, after a long day of work and going through the nightly motions of making dinner and putting my daughter to bed, I am too “exhausted” to even dream my dreams. Slowly, these dreams fade to black as the drone of the TV replaces them one-by-one and piece-by-piece, until they are no more and bear no more significance to my life.

How many times has this scene played out in your home?


More than you care to admit?

My husband and I are guilty-as-charged, as there are nights when we huddle in front of the television without saying a word to one another. So depleted and choked by the worries of the day, we forget to even speak to each other, as we give into the comforting glow of the television set—the television set that appears to give so much, and demand so little in return.

Time-killer. Brain-killer. Relationship-killer. Dream-killer.

Sometimes I worry that all this television watching will play out like scenes from one of my favorite movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Without giving the premise of the movie away, the film takes us through the relationship of a couple—once vibrant in their love for each other, they soon become estranged as their differences become magnified in the boredom of their day-to-day relationship. Here are scene notes from what a typical day was like in their relationship:

Joel and Clementine sit and eat dinner in front of the TV.

It’s hard to make out what they’re watching. They sit on opposite ends of the couch. They look bored. The scene quickly degenerates. The room fades.

Joel looks over at the faded Clementine across the couch. She stares straight ahead at the TV.

Joel watches TV. Clementine walks by in her underwear, looks at the TV. She slips into a skirt.

The scene starts to fade. Clementine puts on her shoes and heads out the door.

Time-killer. Brain-killer. Relationship-killer. Dream-killer.

Sometimes I find tremendous irony in watching the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), where Oprah is telling me in earnest to be in hot pursuit of my dreams, while I just, well…sit there. And, then sit there some more. It is abundantly clear to everyone else but me, that I am in hot pursuit of absolutely nothing when I watch Oprah “challenging” and “prodding” me to “live my best life”.

Even though I might convince myself that her words are somehow inspiring and propelling me to live life to its fullest, why then can’t I get off of the couch? Who am I kidding? Is this a sign of a highly-successful person?

Since when is it acceptable to watch other people (like Oprah) live out their dreams on television, while you lean back and forget about your own hopes and plans for the future? The notion seems so ludicrous if you were explaining it to a young child, and yet we adults have no problem succumbing to it night after weary night.

Time-killer. Brain-killer. Relationship-killer. Dream-killer.

Now, I am not going to act like some rabid, self-righteous, hypocritical zealot claiming that television is evil. However, as I glaringly point the finger towards myself, I am going to challenge you today to examine your mind’s consumption of what is offered by the boob tube.

Apart from the spiritual and physical ramifications of wasting your life in front of the television, have you ever examined its role in how it interrupts your thoughts, your day-to-day to do list, your plans to start and grow a business or a ministry, or even your ability to relate to others—particularly your significant other?

Are the seconds, minutes, hours and weekends somehow dissipating as you find yourself worshipping at the altar of your television?

After all, your new job will not fall into your lap while you lie on the couch.

Your soulmate will not find you while you lie on the couch.

You will not get your body back while you lie on the couch.

Your marital problems will not magically disappear while you lie on the couch.

More importantly, you will not find out God’s purpose for your life while you lie on the couch…and watch TV.

Did God put you on this earth simply just to lie in front of a TV all night? Isn’t there more to our lives than watching Rachel Berry fulfill her dreams of Broadway on Glee? Than seeing which housewife mauled another housewife on The Real Housewives of God-Knows-What-City?

Rather than feel guilty, let’s chip away at this altar one-by-one and piece-by-piece, until it is no more and bears no more significance to our lives.

In this 31 Day Mind-Body-Spirit Challenge, will you fast with me some parts of our daily television viewing?

Maybe we can take time to call a friend instead?

Read the book or the magazine that has been collecting dust on the shelf?

Do simple stretching exercises?

Spend time in the Word?

Surround ourselves in the stillness of God’s presence?

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3: 17.

Take time today to really free yourself from this Time-killer. This Brain-killer. This Relationship-killer. This Dream-killer.

I’ll do it with you.

Let’s turn Oprah off and go live our best lives yet.

Top 10 Reasons on Why You Should “Get Busy” with Your Spouse!

Go to fullsize imageBy Bindu Adai-Mathew

I think as we read AbbyA’s and JMathis’ posts, we women all had to nod our heads in agreement. We’ve all been there, in one form or another. After all, which woman who is knee-deep in baby poo, with a ton of dishes in the sink, and a growing pile of laundry is actually in the mood for anything besides some help from their spouse and some shut-eye?!

Like all things in marriage, differences are inevitable. Excuses are understandable, and they’re often legitimate…but be careful, or that two-week dry-spell can quickly mushroom into three weeks…four weeks…

As we close out this month’s topic on boys and as a lead-in to our weekend countdown (and even more to put a smile on your face as we do), I have comprised a list of Top 10 reasons a’la David Letterman style to encourage you on why you should start gettin’ busy with your spouse…

10.  Because it’s one of God’s commandments.

9. Because studies have shown that it’s known to improve your overall health and add years to your life. (Of course, if you get busy with someone other than your wife, it’s been known to reduce your life span a’la vengeful wife!)

8. Because it’s cheaper than a night out on the town!

7. Because it would make your husband happy….very, very happy. (And all the men said…AMEN!)

6. Because it’s the most fun you can have in 10 minutes or less!

5.  Because you gotta eventually get some use out of all that lingerie you got at your bridal shower!

4. Because let’s face it…you could use the exercise!

3. Because for men, it has less side-effects than a sleeping pill, and for women, it’s an easy way to get your hubby to konk out so you can control the remote!

2. Did I mention it would make your husband happy? Really, really, happy!

And the # 1 reason you should do the horizontal tango with your spouse is because…drum roll, please…

1.  What else you gonna do? Desperate Housewives is in re-runs…

That’s all folks! So get out and get busy! (And that only goes for you married folks! You single folks can…um…watch those reruns again! 😉