When I promised obedience to Christ on Good Friday this year I didn't know what all that would entail. But, it didn't take long for me to see that my spirit could easily be quenched by Hollywood films. When I first made the promise I drenched myself in Spiritual things, always watching preaching sermons and Christian films and listening to Christian music or comedy. As it happens, when the spiritual high begins to subside, it's easy to let some old ways slip back in. I began to notice that when I tried to watch a secular film, especially one with bad words or inappropriate scenes, I would feel very burdened or convicted to keep those things out of my life long-term.
I think it's important to note at this point that I'm an avid movie-watcher. When I watch a movie, I don't just watch it...I become the character that most closely relates to me. I put myself in the story. I love the idea behind films that lets you live a life through someone else and experience their experiences without having to actually experience them. This is probably why films of comedy are not my thing. When I watch a movie I like to feel like its real or could be real (fantasy) in another world. It's an escape out of my own life.
So, for a couple weeks now I've felt heavily burdened to close my Netflix account. I had already turned off the streaming because it was a distraction while trying to do homework. But, I still kept the cheapest DVD plan which was two a month. I would usually only watch one a month and sometimes not even that because we didn't have a great TV area and our DVD player didn't work half the time or I couldn't find the remote. Because I physically didn't really watch the shows anyway I didn't know why I was being burdened to turn off the account. But, really, deep down I knew why. It was because I was holding on to the queue. I had a very long list of movies in my queue that I wanted to watch someday. Each one really intrigued me and there was something about knowing that I wouldn't lose the story if I kept the queue that made me feel attached to it. I began to recognize that God wanted me to give up on the stories. It wasn't that I couldn't watch movies; but why was I holding so hard to these secular stories?
I am an Amazon Prime member so every once in a while I'll get on there and pick a movie to watch. Treat myself, kind of thing, if I get my homework done in a timely manner. So, last night I saw a film featuring Tom Hanks. I felt safe choosing this film because he always makes great films. And though I watched the whole thing, I found myself cringing when bad words were spoken and convicted when the Lord's name was used in vain. The movie ended and I just knew that I couldn't watch these films anymore. It wasn't good for my spirit and if Christ was sitting here with me, physically, I would not choose to watch it. So, this morning I finally broke down and canceled my Netflix DVD plan. I was surprised at how much this meant to me. I even shed a tear. ha ha Because this wasn't an action I was taking because it was taking up too much time or money. On the surface it would seem like Netflix wasn't affecting me at all. But, it was the stories I was missing out on that made me feel emotional. It's like a bunch of cliff-hangers that I was ignoring.
When the deed was done and the account was officially canceled it was like the Spirit living inside of me was rejoicing. I had a similar feeling of a spiritual high that I got when I had made other more dramatic changes to my life. It made me feel good that I was choosing Christ over these stories that really don't mean anything at all. It was like Jesus was saying, "Thank you. I can rest easy, now." And I just felt at peace.
This is encouraging for me. Every day my vows of obedience are on my mind and I try to look for ways I can prove my obedience. But, many days go by and nothing really comes up that I feel I can make a significant point of obedience towards. Some days the enemy makes me feel like my vows are all for naught because on the day to day, nothing is changing. But, my heart IS changing! The changing of one's heart is often slow and unnoticeable. (A concept I learned from a great sermon preached last Sunday. Here is the link if you want to view the sermon on wayward hearts: https://livestream.com/accounts/9449933/events/3245460/videos/156710903 )
Last night I cried. It's a sobbing I've become familiar with since I started my vows. It's an uncontrollable sobbing due to an overwhelming sense of inability to accomplish tasks of Motherhood. Raising my kids alone seems to have been the root cause of my loneliness, trying to find a partner on my own and giving in to my vises before. Since I promised God I would not seek a partner anymore, I find myself feeling extremely overwhelmed with the outcome of my children. When I realize how much of an example I am to my kids, how ignorant I am at raising kids and seeing traits in them that I don't like, I begin to get very anxious and overwhelmed. I begin to think this job is not meant for me; but selfishly I won't give my kids to anyone else to raise because I also need them in my life. Because trust me, I've considered many options that I felt would be better than what I could offer them. And I cry out to God because He truly is the only One I have with the power to help.
Whenever I get to feeling this way, God has not let me down. I first experienced these feelings on Mother's Day. It swells within me anytime I notice something in my kids that I don't know how to handle like a personality trait I'm failing to refine in them. But, each time it happens I cry to God and give it to Him and tell Him how much I need His help with these kids. Faithfully, He has always led me to a victory after such a prayer. This morning it was this Netflix thing. Silly or small as it seems, God wanted to show me how good it is to be obedient. It makes me feel like He will truly be here for me and the girls. And it encourages me to always be watchful of moments when I can prove my obedience once more. And to also not forget that sometimes it's the smallest of things.