I haven’t written a blog for some time. About a week or so actually. I realized this on Thursday and ever since I’ve been trying to figure out why. It’s not like I’m busy with anything. I mean, yeah, I just got a job and have been working between 10 and 15 hours a week, but that doesn’t take up my entire week. More often than not, I’m either reading, playing poker, or pretending I got drafted to the NFL.
It dawned on me, though, when I laid down in bed last night. I stretched out my legs, fluffed my fluff-less pillow, and wondered if there was anything I was supposed to do before I hopped in bed. I felt as though something was missing from my day, something that was supposed to be there, but wasn’t. It wasn’t until I opened my eyes after laying in bed for twenty minutes and glanced at my red Bible that I realized what it was: prayer.
Two years ago I had the regular habit of praying before I went to bed. I’d turn off my computer, my speakers, my lights, and even my cell phone and just lay out on my floor. I’d sit there in the silence for a few moments and gathered my thoughts before I started talking with God, kind of like thinking through the things you want to say before you call that pretty girl from school. Except with God, you don’t have nervously pace around your room. You just talk to Him. You can’t really say the wrong thing to God because no matter what, He’s not going to stop liking you. No matter what, He’s not going to stop hanging out with you.
But you can stop hanging out with Him.
I think this is why I haven’t been writing very much; I haven’t been hanging out with God very much. I watch TV, watch a movie, read half a chapter of a book because it’s summer and I’m lazy, and then hop in my bed. If I do actually pray, it’s while I’m laying down, which usually ends with me falling asleep mid-thought. Suffice it to say, I don’t give Him the time He deserves.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m a guy or if it’s because of some other reason, but whenever I’m faced with a problem, I try to fix it. My mind races through all the options and usually settles for the quickest fix. And in this particular case, there is a simple solution (just pray more), but I feel that the point isn’t really to fix the problem of not praying on a consistent basis; the point is to walk and commune with God, however that happens. Perhaps it’s prayer one or two nights in a row, worship the next, and fellowship the night after that. Or something else entirely, I don’t know. Our goal, as I’ve realized today, shouldn’t be to find a simple solution to all our problems and have everything be okay; our goal should be to connect with God.
To those who know my preference in TV shows, this might come as a complete shocker. I’m still shocked by it even though I did it two nights ago: I deleted all of my collection of “How I Met Your Mother” seasons and “The Big Bang Theory” seasons. Why? Not because they were influencing me in a sinful way, but I deleted them because they were simply derailing my heart and soul from reality. It wasn’t the content of the shows that did it or the fact that they are TV shows; it was because I was watching them so much that I’d sit in front of my computer for hours. After these ridiculously long sessions, I’d get up, eat a PB & J, drink a beer, and then watch some more. Seeking God didn’t just take the back seat; it was stored in the trailer.
I don’t mean to imply that TV shows are evil and you shouldn’t watch them; that’s totally not my point. Jesus says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell,” (Matthew 5:29). No, Ted, Marshall, Barney, Robin, and Lilly weren’t all causing me to sin – neither were Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj, or Penny. The TV shows themselves weren’t causing me to stumble; they were causing me to disconnect with God, which would oftentimes lead to sinning of some kind. Being disconnected from God makes it incredibly hard not to sin.
Back in my junior year, two years ago, when I was praying nearly every night, I didn’t have a vast collection of TV shows on my computer. And I certainly didn’t have any favorite shows that I’d watch religiously on the house’s TV. My distractions were much fewer and my time with God was much more frequent. But merely uprooting a stumbling block will not make everything better; it won’t automatically connect my heart and soul with God. I have to seek Him out on my own. But having casted aside a great amount of distractions, I think I’ve enabled myself to seek God with greater efficiency.
As I embark on what I hope to be my final year of college (fingers crossed), I find this year will be the most critical year of all. Since I recently acquired a job and have to take 15 credits for the fall term, I won’t have much free time. This means that I’ll have to discipline myself to take care of all my responsibilities and keep a job at the same time. But I believe that if I start right now, tonight, by seeking God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength, I’ll make things much easier on myself in the long run.