Are you trying to be some kind of monk?
This was the question my good friend who had just realized the impact my year long fast from films would have on my life.
I laughed. “No, I just want to use my time well,” I replied. This was about three months into my decision to read more and watch less. If you want to read more about my decision, here’s the blog post about it.
So, Justin, what’s it been like not watching movies and reading more books the last six months?
Honestly, it’s been great. The first three months of this fast, I spent a lot of time absorbing different books such as, Spurgeon’s Sorrows, Family on Mission, and some light reading like Hugh Howey’s Silo series. I was also able to press into some studying I needed to do to finish my C&MA accreditation. I’m thankful to be able to take several free courses offered through Gordon Conwell’s Dimensions of the Faith program.
Additionally, I finished my first semester of Mandarin study with an A- average. That’s something I’m certain I would have never been able to do without this push to practice better self-control.
So, Justin, did you miss out on much?
Honestly? Probably not. I missed a few movie nights with friends, but we made up for them with board game nights. I had no idea what people were talking about when discussing the latest Avengers flick, but I was able to listen to what my friends thought (a practice I could definitely get better at!).
I think the one area of my life where this decision has effected me the most is with my family. I come from a family that really loves to share their favorite movies together and that is something I have definitely missed. My daughter is at that age where she sees new movies advertised on the city bus and they catch her eye and she gets really excited. I get really excited because she’s really excited, but she knows I can’t watch them with her. We don’t let this stop us from having fun though. Anyone that’s been to our house the past six months knows that our family game nights have only increased. (How many games of Skipbo is too much?)
However, the real value I’ve found through my decision is my capacity to do good work and how great it is to do the work that God’s placed in my path.
Let me explain: I’ve always been able to do a lot of work. Over the years this work has taken many forms such as competitive video games, writing and recording music with different bands, and even freelance work to boost my portfolio. Most of this work was in pursuit of my own desires. Most of this work left me really, really, tired.
Abstaining from movies has been an effort for me towards putting off my own desires. It’s taught me better self-control and as I choose Christ’s desires more and more I experience a rich goodness in the work that He has me do. Whether studying Mandarin or making a caramel macchiato for an Aroma customer. His work doesn’t leave me tired, but mine does.
And that is exactly the kind of lesson I would give up movies time and time again to learn.