I love that when I think back on my childhood, I don’t automatically think of mindless hours of tv and video games. Don’t get me wrong. We watched tv. A lot. But when I think about some of my fondest memories as a child, I think about us sitting around my Mom while she read the Little House on the Prairie books. I think about running around outside, playing pioneers with my sisters (complete with costumes- thank you very much.) I remember my Dad taking us through a bible study, that as awkward and silly as it was, helped set my spirit up to understand, if only in part, who God made me to be. I remember us girls putting on plays for my parents, and us having tickle fights where my Dad would pull out the ‘iron claw’ and make us laugh until we couldn’t breathe.
Its these simple memories that I hold dear to my heart. We didn’t have the money when I was growing up for lots of vacations, the newest clothes, being involved in activities, or buying cool gadgets. But I doubt I’d remember many of those things even if we did. Even though our lives were far from perfect, it was times that we spend together that made us who we were as a family. Not the things we had.
When I see all the things kids have access to today, it makes me feel overwhelmed and fearful. Not just because of the dangerous and unseemly things available, but the consumerism and materialistic culture that is imbedded in every part of our lives. Our culture is a raging, instant gratification machine. Media tells us that in order to have a happy life, you must own certain things, look a certain way, and be with certain people.
What scares me most about it is how all of this has exemplified itself in my own life. I spend most of my nights watching tv. I check my phone more times in a day then I feel comfortable admitting. I spend more time on pinterest and instragram looking at a cameras view of beauty then experiencing it first hand for myself. I’ve fallen into the trap, along with everyone else, of paying someone else to making art out of life that I should be making myself.
Now that I’m just 4 months shy of having a brand new person to look after, my whole mindset has shifted. I don't want my child to grow up with this instant gratification culture as its guide. I don't want it to fall prey to the lie that having and doing all the right things makes you a fulfilled person. I dont want my example to be one of selfishness and greed.
Its easy to get into the ‘overhaul my entire life’ mode, and try to change everything about myself in a matter of a day. But I realize that in reality, there’s no way I can change overnight. To be honest, its not likely I’d see any huge and lasting improvements in my life before the baby comes anyways. The fact is this culture is ingrained in almost every aspect of my life.
But I don’t want my child growing up in a home that, consciously or not, promotes this world’s idea of happiness. I want my child to look back on life and have its fondest memories be ones of sustenance, with God and family at the heart, just like mine are of my own childhood.
So what am I to do? Throw out my tv and shun all worldly things has a threat to the wellbeing of my family? No. I think the one thing I can do is stop trying to control everything and make it better in my own power. The fear that grips my heart can be just as toxic as any other worldly influence. I have to allow the Holy Spirit to quiet my restless heart and give me peace. Only he has the power to transform and heal the corruption in my heart. And he’s the only one who can protect this new child from what the world will undoubtedly throw at it.
I think this is the time to really start asking God to show me and my husband what we can do to set our home up as a haven away from cultural influences. I don’t know exactly what that means yet. But I know God will show us as our family grows into what He wants it to be. Maybe that will mean throwing out the tv. Or maybe it will be as simple as putting away our cell phones and being intentional about spending quality time with each other. Either way, I’m ready to do what it takes to set up an environment that pursues the good, noble, lovely, and ultimately godly things in life.