I woke a little late this morning – rare that I would sleep in, but solid sleep wasn’t my friend last night.
I woke, grabbed my coffee and headed to my writing desk. Most mornings I start my day with some time in prayer and time in the Word, I might write a bit, and then I attend to email, and social media – generally checking up on what’s going on in the lives of friends and family.
This morning when I opened my Insta account, there was a message from a friend. This message contained a link to a video that was recorded recently from Jackie Hill Perry (“JHP”). I love JHP and her teaching style. She’s just so real. And she doesn’t tend to tell you what to think, or how to think, she takes you into the Word and then encourages you to pray through the words and take it to God and see where it lands in your heart and in your life.
So, when I saw the video this morning, I quick looked at the length. It was about 30 minutes long and my first thought was “ugh, I don’t have 30 minutes to spare today, it’s a busy day at work…”
This is not my typical reaction to watching talks from people I generally love to listen to.
I decided I would compromise and just listen to the first few minutes. Turns out my spirit was resistant because it knew what I was about to encounter.
The title of Jackie’s message was, “Beyonce’ and the Necessity of Wisdom.”
As we get rolling, she begins by confessing that if you are in her inner circle, the one thing you know for sure is her love for Beyonce. One of the first CDs she was ever given (I think) was a Destiny’s Child album. She was eight. She grew up listening to her music. Jackie is an artistic person and loves Beyonce for the art of her music as well. She can mark memories by the songs she has listened to throughout her life, like many of us can. Beyonce has left her mark on JHP’s life.
Which is why it was so difficult for her to take an inventory of what she was actually being fed through the words and videos of the music she so loves.
Jackie begins to share that through Beyonce’s music, she literally embodies idols. Now, I am not a Beyonce fan or listener, but from what I gather, when performing she will literally dress to represent the idol at the center of the song. I wish I could be more specific, I would have to listen a few more time to the video (which you can find here) to word this correctly, but hopefully you get the jist.
After spending a little time describing the problem, JHP takes us into 1 Corinthians 10 to see what the Word says about the slippery slope of being double-minded when it comes to idols.
You cannot drink the cup of the lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”1 Corinthians 10:21 (NIV)
Ouch. I knew right then a) why my spirit was resistant to hearing what I was about to hear, and b) what God was asking me to look at in my own life.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been tapped on the shoulder in regards to my own “stuff” in this area.
A few months ago I was co-teaching a class at church with my friend, Robyn. Robyn shared with the class how she had been watching a particular TV show and how she and her husband looked forward to sitting down and seeing what happened next, but each week the show seemed to be getting a little darker, more foul language, more violence, more heaviness overall. And finally, she came to a point where she had to ask herself, “is this good for me?”
Right around that time I had begun asking myself a similar question about my life of true crime TV. Is this something that is good for me?
I have always been drawn to true crime. It’s not the act of the crime that interests me, it’s the investigative part that fascinates me. I am all-in when I start watching a show or listening to a podcast. I’m listening for the facts, for the clues that might bring the answers as to why something happened in the first place. Forensic psychology interests me, and the practice of law – well, I’ve clearly dedicated my professional life to it.
I almost feel like I skim over the incident, the brutality of what is at the core of the show — the crime itself — to get to the “good parts”. And when I have asked myself recently if this is where I should be spending my time and my focus, I have literally said to myself, “but the brutality is not my focus. I’ve been around this so long it hardly affects me. I just need it to get to the facts of the matter.” But is that accurate? Am I really unscathed by what my eyes are seeing and my mind is processing?
And if I’ve grown numb to those things, isn’t that a pretty loud statement in and of itself?
Jackie goes on to share that she was ultimately led to remove all the Beyonce albums from her iphone. And that it pained her to do so. I literally felt those words. Something turned in the pit of my stomach when I listened to her speak. It’s not Beyonce, or even the songs themselves, but the attachment she has to it, the history, the comfort, the pattern she has in listening to these things that is difficult to walk away from.
True crime is my evening “escape.” When I’m done with a long day and I nestle up in the couch with my hot tea and blanket I flip on the TV and there it is. My old comfortable friend.
Today, especially today, I’ve had to ask myself the hard questions. Is this beneficial to me? Is this a constructive use of my time? Is this what God would have me feast on?
“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive.1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)
When I shared these thoughts with Frank, he was surprised. He asked what I would do when I’m tired at the end of the day?
“I don’t know. I guess if I’m that tired, I should put myself to bed. And if I’m not, maybe I use that time to read a good book, or write a letter, or write that book God has laid on my heart all these years that I never seem to have enough time to sit down and write…”
At the end of her video, JHP does not tell us to take what she says as Gospel truth. Instead, she encourages us to read the Word ourselves, and pray on it to see what God has for us in relation to His Word.
I think I am finally ready to face the obvious. It might be time to try some new things. To fill my eyes, my mind, and my heart with things that are more uplifting. I will pray – but I will not pray to know if this is the right decision. I know ending my true crime romance is the right thing at the right time. What I will pray for is that God show me where to put my newfound time and attention. And I will pray that I am obedient in what he reveals.
I am thankful for good friends in my life, who God uses to help me dig deeper, to show me where I might make a change or listen to what he is calling me to. My friend didn’t know I was struggling with this particular area of my life. She was simply passing along something that gave her food for thought in her own life. I am thankful she did.
If you have read this far, I ask that you say a prayer for me. Long-standing habits are hard to break. I don’t anticipate this one will be remedied quickly and easily. But I know with God all things are possible. Amen.
4 Replies to “Convicted…”
Wow. There are things that I should probably not do – but giving stuff up is so hard. It’s a sacrifice. It takes will power. Finding something equally as enticing is very hard to do. I commend you for trying. I am just not at the point to try. I feel like God has given me “nudges”. The fist step is realization.
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Agreed, and I didn’t post that to shame anyone. He’s been nudging me on this topic over the past year and today was Him saying, okay, let’s try being more direct! BOOM. LOL…so for me, it’s time. Time to at least lay it at His feet and try. Love you friend.
I have recently begun to prune my TV watching. Like you, I’ve had favorites but … and here come the questions… Beneficial? Constructive? Worthy of sharing? Continued prayers to stay the course!
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Nice to know I’m not alone! Thanks friend, and prayers for you to stay the course as well.