reality tv

The One Where You Tell Me What to Watch Next

The One Where You Tell Me What to Watch Next

I'll tell you what I've watched, what I've loved, what I've hated, and you tell me what I should watch next... deal?

No TV? Happy me.

Erica Boden wrote an awesome blog for Rethink and sent it to me a few weeks back before she left for a month at camp where she would love on students at beautiful Saranac. Her words were what inspired by New June challenges, and I'm so thankful for friends and writers like her who propel me forward and push me toward the fullness of life Jesus offers. Read her blog on Rethink here. My thoughts on the same topic are below, kind of like a part two to Erica's. Feel free to share your own experiences with us in the comments!

I'm a huge fan of Netflix. I get sucked into shows like it's my job to watch them, cruising through episode after episode with only a second to breathe in between. I get emotionally attached to characters, like Brooke Davis is really my best friend and it matters if I think she or Peyton should end up with Lucas. (ps-- Erica, props to you for also referencing OTH!) I get stressed out every time Jack Baeur gets chased by a cop or a terrorist, my heart racing and my palms sweating like it's really me they're after. I cried when Lexie and Mark died in the plane crash and when Cristina left the hospital and the show for good.

I get pulled in to these plot lines like I'm part of the story. I spend my evenings staring at a screen watching fictitious lives play out in front of me, my real life wasting away all around my preoccupied self. I even found myself thinking about the characters while I was at work, wondering what would happen to them in the next episode, planning my day around how many episodes I could squeeze in.

When I decided to make challenges for myself for the month of June after being inspired by Erica's post, I knew I had to do something about this. I knew I had to cut out all Netflix and TV from my life like she challenged herself to do as well. I knew it was going to be hard. It's such a mindless, effortless thing to watch shows like I did. Come home from work, relax, watch a show. It made sense.

Here I am now, 12 days in to my New June challenge, and I haven't watched even one second of a show. Let me just tell you-- it has made a remarkable difference.

Maybe you aren't a big Netflix-er, and I applaud you if that's the case, and I realize you probably think I'm ridiculous (and rightfully so). I think other people get what I'm talking about. Maybe you've been binge watching OITNB this past week, maybe you watched the newest season of House of Cards in a day or two... I get it. I really do.

Here's what I've learned in these past 12 days: The plot line of my own life is infinitely better, richer and fuller than the plot line of any show I could watch. Granted, it may not be as suspenseful, dramatic or riveting, but it's real, and it's going to keep playing onward whether I dive in or tune out. I've sought out face-to-face time with friends and strangers more, and I've left every time feeling fulfilled, deeply satisfied and challenged to grow. I've never felt that way after an episode of Gossip Girl or Friday Night Lights. By shutting out the noise and disconnecting from the shows, I've had time to listen to the thoughts in my own head, to pray more meaningfully, to think and process and internalize things in my life in a clearer way. It takes more effort to come home from work and pick up a book and engage in things that will take brainpower, but those are the things that make me feel alive and make my life feel purposeful. When I'm not filling my head with other characters and story lines, I have time to devote to my friends and relationships. I have time to write letters to the friends giving their summers to serve students at camps around the country, I have time to make fun cards to send to this month's new pen pal, I have time to journal and let my words flow and my heart rest.

I needed to break up with Netflix. I needed the time apart. I'm not even sure I'll keep my subscription going after this month. I'm realizing my time is better spent when I'm not glued to a screen. I'm realizing I have an overflow of time for good things, time for people, time for projects and new ideas and adventures. I'm realizing I'm happier and more free without TV, and I'm realizing I like my life that way.

#TheBachelorWedding and Jesus on TV

Okay, yes, I'm a little bit obsessed with The Bachelor. Call it a guilty pleasure or whatever, it's just a good old train wreck of drama and romance that I love to watch. Last night, past Bachelor Sean and his fiancée Catherine got married with an elaborate and televised wedding ceremony, and yep, I loved it. Not the extravagance of the flowers or her gown or Chris Harrison's classic host commentary...I loved that they talked about Jesus.

They are celebrities with an insane amount of public attention and scrutiny, and everything they say or do (and even things they never said or did) are broadcast to the entire world. And they talked about Jesus. Boldly. Unashamedly.

Sean and Catherine waited until marriage to have sex and become one, and they talked about it a lot. Boldly. Unashamedly. They didn't skirt around it or try to hide it or make excuses for it. They made it known that it was part of their faith, that they were excited for their wedding night (as they should be!), and that they had been waiting to live together and truly be together until they were married. Mad props to them.

In the light of all the drama with other celebrities getting into trouble with the law and causing scandals and rebelling in all sorts of ways, it was so refreshing to see two people use their fame to make the name of God known.

Sean's father officiated their wedding, and it was all about their faith and their love. The name of Jesus was proclaimed, it wasn't hidden, and it was beautiful. Bold. Unashamed.

ABC didn't hide their conversations about how they waited to have sex, they didn't avoid broadcasting the name of Jesus, and they didn't show any of it negatively. Mad props to them, too. So often, Christianity is shown negatively on television, and last night had none of that. Every Christian girl I know was swooning and probably crying and mostly just loving everything about their wedding. It was just so good, people. Yeah, it was a TV wedding, yes it was the couple from that dramatic reality show, but it was the real deal.

It was a sweet, romantic, beautiful wedding. It was everything a wedding should be about: the couple's love, the Father's love, and unity both together and in Him as the new Mr. and Mrs. begin their new life together as a married couple seeking to bring glory to His name. It was just so good.

Sean and Catherine, thank you. For being bold, for being solid, for being real, and for being a light for Christ in the world through your fame. I give you props. You're using the fame God has given you to glorify Him and be real about it. And that rocks.'re really cute together and I can't wait for you to have adorable little babies someday.