I recently had a (hopefully) life-changing experience.
A week or so ago, I picked up a new show called Poldark. This is going to sound dumb, but you have to understand that I ADORED this show. I’ve been so so sick of watching cheesy, romance films. I wanted to watch or read something more substantial, but I was having a hard time finding something. Poldark was definitely more substantial, not too overly and unnecessarily dramatic, and I fell in love with some of the characters and their development. It was also fairly clean which is impossible to find anymore. I was watching it until midnight every night, and I just kept getting more and more sucked in. I thought about it all day, and I couldn’t wait until I got to watch it every night.
Anyway, a few days after I started watching it, I felt this small prompting that I needed to stop watching it. My mind immediately revolted against it, and I tried to pretend that I hadn’t felt the prompting. The prompting came again, and I was trying really hard to pretend that it wasn’t a prompting. I wasn’t sure that it was a prompting, and I really didn’t want to give it up.
I don’t know how, but I got the courage to talk to Heavenly Father about it. I was doing a lot of good things. I keep a regular journal for Evelyn, Danger, and myself. I practice the piano. I pray a lot. I read my own scriptures, read them with Conner, and I even read them to Evelyn. My house is clean. I exercise every day. I go on a date every week with Conner. I make goals and keep accountability charts. I cook dinner and regularly spend time with good friends.
I wanted to keep this show, and I felt like I kind of earned it. I also reasoned that it was fairly uplifting as characters grew and developed, and the main characters have some pretty good morals. There was nothing wrong with me keeping my show. I only watched it when the kids were asleep.
But I told Heavenly Father I would do it if He really REALLY wanted me to. I also told Him that I was going to need a ton of help avoiding it because I knew as soon as all my stuff was done that night, it was going to be extremely difficult to not find a reason to sit down on the couch and turn it on. There would be very few reasons for me to keep it off.
Later on in my study, I listened to a conference talk and President Nelson taught me that, “…the Holy Ghost will prompt you about what is no longer needful, what is no longer worthy of your time and energy. As (I) shift (my) focus away from worldly distractions, some things that seem important to (me) now will recede in priority. You will need to say no to some things, even though they may seem harmless.”
Once again, my heart broke a little when Heavenly Father told me that I couldn’t watch my show. Wasn’t I already doing a ton of good things? Why couldn’t I have this one little thing for myself? I just wanted to relax my mind in the evening after I finished up everything during my day. I wanted to have this show to be excited over. But I decided to listen.
It has surprisingly changed my life.
I can’t remember what happened that night or how I kept myself away from the TV, but I did. I have kept myself away from the TV ever since that prompting and that day.
As I said before, it changed my life.
I have felt so much happier in my small moments of life instead of waiting to feel happy at night during my show. For the first time in a while, I really and truly heard my kids laugh and I basked in every second of it. I had so much dang fun with them instead of waiting for them to go to sleep so I could watch Poldark. I enjoyed the quiet of my house, and I felt a lot of peace. I felt happy even while I was doing the dishes. I laughed my head off this morning teasing and cleaning the garage with Conner instead of worrying about getting everything done so I could watch Poldark when the kids were napping. I can’t tell you how many times Conner picked me up while we cleaned the garage together. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to be present with him during that moment instead of wishing I could watch my show. It was more romantic than the show, and the happiness lasted a lot longer than the happiness I experienced during my show. It stayed with me the entire day and didn’t make me feel tired at the end of it. I didn’t feel “blah” when it was over. I also didn’t eat a crap ton of food while I was hanging out with Conner either. BONUS.
I have started reading Poldark, and so I still get some of my little fun, delicious moments, but it no longer consumes me. Just like President Nelson said, things that seemed important to me receded in importance.
I. Feel. So. Much. Better.
I have knelt down more than once to tell my Heavenly Father thank you for removing it from my life.
The point of this is not to tell you to stop watching TV, but there are a lot of principles I’ve learned. Some people don’t need that prompting like I did, but maybe Heavenly Father is asking you to get rid of something that seems important to you.
I learned that sacrifices made for Heavenly Father don’t become sacrifices in the end.
I learned that doing what it takes to be present with my family makes my life feel a million times more fulfilling. I want to keep this feeling. I want to enjoy my home and my kids, and I want to feel how much my husband loves me.
I learned that I didn’t have to be obedient on my own. I can tell you that when I first received that prompting, I was not ready to listen. In fact, there are two other specific shows that I became completely engrossed in until they were over. The Spirit had asked me then to give them up, but I chose not to. I survived. I had fun with the shows. I binge watched them until they were over. I did not have the courage to accept it as a prompting and follow through. This time, I still didn’t feel the strength to follow through even though I had finally acknowledged it as a prompting. So what did I do? Not only have I prayed for promptings, but I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me follow through on it. I didn’t even do that part on my own, but I still got the blessings. Just as He commanded Nephi to build a ship and then quite literally showed Nephi how to build it, He commanded me to give up a show and then handed over the strength I needed to do it. And then He blessed me for it.
It was a pretty dope experience. I’m really grateful for how my eyes have been opened. I’m grateful for more fulfilling family time. I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned as my mind has been given freedom to think about more important things. I’m grateful I can still read the book and have my “guilty pleasure” without surrendering all my thoughts and feelings to it. I’m grateful that He helped me be obedient.