I was laying in bed the other morning, my alarm had gone off and I was enjoying the 9 minutes of “snooze” before I really had to get up and get moving. I started off, as I do most mornings, thanking the Lord for the day, my family, etc., when my mind quickly wandered to the episode of Nashville we had been watching the night before. (Yes, I know we are years behind this bandwagon, but it’s still just as good!) After a few minutes, the Lord totally convicted me and started speaking to me about my own series of Living Content.
How much time do we spend thinking about the latest show we’re watching, obsessing over what’s going to happen in between episodes of This is Us or Game of Thrones, instead of being content to live in the present?
Our culture has become so obsessed with shows and these alternate realities because of the ease of streaming. At the end of a long day we’re able to sit down on the couch, turn on the TV and in a moment be transported into another world. The problem is that often that world doesn’t turn off when the TV does. We think about our shows as we’re falling asleep, we try to figure out what’s going to happen next, while we avoid our work at the office the next day, or we compare our lives with the lives of our favorite characters, we carry our steaming with us wherever we go.
We spend so much time comparing our lives with our favorite characters, the heroes, the villains, dreaming our lives were as cool, or as exciting, as the show. Or sometimes we look at the reality of our marriage and we find ourselves dreaming our husband was as loving and understanding as characters like Jack, from This is Us.
For years we’ve compared our lives, our marriages and our friendships to those in the movies, but we only got to go to the movies once in awhile. Now we can steam these more appealing realities, right into our living room every night!
But in all this streaming obsession, where’s our time for the Lord? When do we stop dreaming and obsessing and take time in the present for the Lord’s presence?
When the voices from the outside are loud and always around, it’s hard to hear the quiet voice of truth.
Our reality is not what’s on our screens, it’s the voice of truth coming from the Lord! If you continually compare yourself with what you see on the screen you’ll never find fullness and satisfaction in life. And if you don’t spend time in His presence, you’ll never find your true identity because it is only in HIM we are made whole.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:18-20 (NLT)
It is only through God that we are made complete, that we will find life. We will never find ourselves by comparing ourselves to our favorite characters. Our marriages will never get better because we long for what a TV couple has. Our friendships will never get stronger because we see what someone did on our favorite show – none of those things are reality. None of those characters are real, none of those relationships are real, NONE of it is real.
The only reality we have is the life the Lord gave us. He’s excited about your life, He’s been dreaming about it since before He planted you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). Believe it or not, your life is greater than any show, any series you can stream and the Lord is excited as He watches it unfold.
But I feel a great sense of sadness from the Lord. Sadness because we have sold ourselves short. Sadness because we have reduced our greatness by comparing and obsessing over the lie that our reality will never be as great as the shows we can stream.
But what we have is so much greater. The life the Lord has planned for us is greater than any show ever written. Instead of spending our time comparing, we should spend our time stirring up faith and belief.
Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for.” Hebrews 11:1 (tPt)
But how do we do that? The only way to discover the greatness of the life the Lord gave you, is to draw near to Him, instead of all those other distractions.
Move your heart closer and closer to God, and He will come even closer to you. But make sure you cleanse your life, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting.” James 4:8 (tPt)
Evaluate how much time you’re spending with the Lord vs. all the other things you’re thinking about, or streaming. Matthew 6:21 says, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” I know this particular passage is talking about money but I believe it can apply to so many other things as well. The truth is anything you’re valuing or treasuring more than the Lord will result in disappointment. If your heart is desiring a life like you see on the screen, your “treasure” will only lead you to a lack of fulfillment.
It’s only when we align our heart with God’s heart that our treasures will lead us to a life worth living.
Let everyone, everywhere shine with praise to Yahweh! Let it all out! Go ahead and praise Him! For He has conquered us with His great love and His kindness has melted our hearts. His faithfulness lasts forever and He will never fail you.” Psalm 117:1-2a (tPt)
This should be the prayer of our hearts every day of our lives, so I’m placing it at the end of each of the posts in this series –
God, empty out of my heart everything that is false – every lie, and every crooked thing. And give me neither undue poverty nor undue wealth – but rather, feed my soul with the measure of prosperity that pleases you. May my satisfaction be found in you.” Proverbs 30:8-9a (tPt)