After ten years of living in this house, our family room is tired and boring. It just isn't "me" and no one in our family really feels comfortable in it. There's eclectic, and then there's HodgePodge Lodge. Ours would be the latter.
The main thing I want the room to do is invite people in to sit a spell, read, and talk. So what's the problem? Well, for a decade I've thought the problem is the placement of the TV. It sits in an old armoire with a broken door squarely in the center of the focal wall. The room is 11.5 by 16- ish: difficult dimensions meant I was pretty stuck with "a" sofa wall, "a" TV wall, and a wall that's half-taken up by a sliding glass door. (Our favorite part of the room is the view outside, so at least the sofa has faced out that way.) What to do to change it? How to make it more comfortable, more of a conversation and reading room? How to add seating in a rather small space?
It was actually Stephen, our 17-year old son, who gave me the "eureka!" I needed. Being an avid reader and calming presence, he simply asked, "Why not do away with the TV on this level?" The question came literally within days of my asking the Lord to give me (and our family) more of a passion for Him and His people and to show me the idols that were standing in the way. Well, when you look at our family room, the focal point is the TV.
I never used to be a TV person. When I was little we didn't get a TV till I was five, and it was about a 16 inch black and white. We were allowed only one hour a day after homework was finished--and everyone had to agree what to watch in that one hour. Our TV was never on during the day, nor during dinner, and always got turned off (at the dial!) when we had company. It was never on just to be on. Of course I grew up before VCRs or DVDs, so we didn't pop movies in. My parents have never liked noise, not even "background noise" so watching TV was purposeful--usually World News with Peter Jennings, and "The Waltons" or "Little House on the Prairie." The absence of TV encouraged creativity, reading, game playing, conversation, and quietude. Our home was peacefully void of idle noise.
But 22 years of marriage to a man who grew up in just the opposite environment has altered my viewing habits. I don't blame him; I was the one who drifted toward TV. Now I watch too much. Namely HGTV and Food Network, but entirely too often. I can become a news junkie if I start watching. I like drama and trauma shows, history and mystery channels, game shows and comedy. TV plays a much bigger role than I want to think about. How can I grow in godly passion when the world is being pumped into my mind through TV so often? How much of an unconscious habit is TV watching, like grazing? Just exactly what is "must see" TV? What is "engaging television" really engaging?
These questions are not difficult to answer; the answers are difficult to come to terms with. To realize that when you walk into our home, you can't immediately tell how important Christ is to us. Not that we need to hang crosses or Jesus pictures up (Paul wouldn't allow it anyway), but I was thinking that, except for the Bibles and Christian books around here, a casual observer would not readily identify the Person we worship. The thing that's front and center is a thing. A thing! An idol that I've unfortunately become too comfortable with. And now that's starting to change. God is rocking my worship centers--food and leisure. I know I will appreciate the changes eventually, but I am having a hard time saying, "Will I really be fine without a TV in front of my favorite chair? How much will I miss plopping down after dinner with a book and a TV show?
We have a big TV in the basement and a smaller one in Ben's room upstairs. It's not as if we are completely eradicating TV. I am not anti-TV. I don't think than non-TV watchers are necessarily holier or more spiritual (though some might like to give that impression) , nor are their leisure pursuits less idolatrous. (I mean, if I gave up 70% of my TV watching and God decided to take away my books, I would immediately request the Rapture!)
I am just feeling that God is in hot pursuit of MY heart and He has pinpointed, gently but firmly, the things I need less of, in order to experience more of Him. He wants to do a makeover on me that will, I hope, be reflected in our family room makeover.
How about you? Is God rocking any of your worship centers? How so?