Why I Gave Up Television

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:20 NIV

The obvious conclusion is that I just didn’t like watching it, but that is wrong. Actually, I found it mesmerizing. But it wasn’t the programming, it was the opportunity to set in one spot, think about nothing and feel no pressure to do anything else that had me coming back night after night. After all, television watching after work in our culture is perfectly acceptable.

I had just come out of a long hard season. I was a single woman and it was a season when I was working full time, completing a Master’s degree, caring for a couple of young nephews and then moving into end of life care for my mother. I was exhausted. There were so many things that had been put on hold for so long I really had forgotten how to live a life that involved social activities, interacting with others just for the pleasure of spending time together and having a clean home to live in. So, I came home from work, picking up take out on the way home many days, and just sat in front of the television until time to go to bed. I can’t even tell you what I watched, because the program I was tuned into was not the point.

Then, one morning as I was reading my Bible to begin my day and Philippians 4:8 jumped off the page and into my heart.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (NLT)

I was watching pretty mundane television and it was the 90’s. Television was not nearly as edgy as it is today. Still, there was not much I could classify as honorable, lovely or admirable. Then, I realized I was just burning up precious hours of my life on things that did not matter. Basically, throwing those hours away! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that all downtime and relaxation is a waste of time. But I do think we burn a lot of hours where we aren’t really doing anything except letting time pass by.

I realized I was just burning up precious hours of my life on things that did not matter. Click To Tweet

So, I turned off the television and I’ve never really turned it back on. I had cable TV and I cancelled it. My little 12 inch black and white TV stayed with me because I had the occasional need to view a video. When I began hosting a ladies small group in my home, I purchased a slightly larger color television. But I never did hook that television up to anything other than the video player. In our home now my husband has a large television in the “man cave” where he watches sports and the weather while reading a book. Occasionally, he invites me to watch a movie with him and I do. We have a television in our living room used by our small group that connects to a video player and the internet because our church subscribes to a service which streams Bible studies. But in between those studies, I rarely turn it on.

And you know what? I have never really missed it! There was no content that was as interesting as the book I read. No content as interesting as the conversation with friends and family, no time as well spent as that learning to cook or working on my writing or studies. I’ve learned a lot of new things and spent time sharing those skills with others. I’ve made a lot of new friends and met and married my husband. All things I would never have done if I had allowed myself to keep mindlessly setting in front of that little black and white box every evening after work.

Periodically, I’m prompted to take a look at my life and how my time is spent.  I want to focus on things that are excellent and worthy of praise. I want to spend my allotted days wisely. For example, just last week, I deleted all the games off my phone. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that watching television or playing a game on your phone while you wait in some waiting room is wrong, but I am suggesting that you look at how you spend your time.  Are you focused on things that are excellent and worthy of praise? Are you investing the days you have been given wisely and in a manner you can proudly look back over your life and feel good about how you have chosen to spend them?

I want to focus on things that are excellent and worthy of praise. I want to spend my allotted days wisely. Click To Tweet

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:20 NIV


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12 responses to “Why I Gave Up Television”

  1. It is good to read how your life improved as you turned off the TV. I am working on balance in my life and relationships are so important. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    1. Thank you Carol. Yes, balance is easier when there are fewer balls in the air.

  2. Loretta, welcome to #ThoughtProvokingThursday! I am beginning to see how our lives seem to parallel one another in many ways. I do have a TV and cable these days, but I went without it for quite an extended season, and i am pretty much using the Food Network as background noise these days. Bruce watches a documentary from time to time, and we enjoy basketball. That’s about it. I find that “unplugging” really helps to clear up the clutter in my thinking.

    1. Yes, it does seem we have s lot in common. Clearly God is at work here!

  3. Loretta, thanks for this article. I know there are a few things in my life that I need to give up in order to get more things done!

    1. Yolande it seems challenging when you think of giving something up but the payoff can be rewarding. My guess is, you won’t regret it!

  4. I don’t feel like my television viewing is mindless, but I am sure there are other areas of my life that could use decluttering! Great perspective!

    1. And that’s the point. What is a wise use of my time, and what could be replaced with something you will value more.

  5. We have given up cable tv twice in our 26 years. When the children were little and just last year. We get the news from Youtube. We have not missed tv at all.

    1. Amazing how little you miss it isn’t it! I commend you for giving it up with small children. That was a quality investment I’m sure!

  6. Thank you for this post, Loretta. We do have our TV and we do watch it regularly, however we are careful with what we watch and the reason behind it. We got rid of cable a long time ago since we could never find anything good to watch – even now it is hard! We have RightNow Media hooked up and we enjoy that. Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

    1. Right now is the subscription our church has. An excellent resource.

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