So many friends watch “This is Us”. It’s a show about an american family with lots of modern day issues.
I watched most of the episodes this past fall. I wanted to know what all the excitement was about. I enjoyed the way they showed how events from our childhood can affect our adult lives.
But then the story line went to places I choose not to go, themes I choose not to watch. Just not worth my emotional energy.
Yes, life is hard. And yes, there is true joy in the midst of real life. The show attempts to demonstrate this.
But real Joy found is found in Jesus, not in the many things the characters of the show attempt to use to find peace and joy. Real Joy is in trusting God and doing life with the real people He puts in our paths, not getting emotionally intertwined and invested with the lives of fictitious characters of a television show.
We sometimes need tears to cleanse us. We need emotional outlets. I’ve been known to listen to particular music I know will soothe my soul and may bring tears when I’m all bottled up inside. But I don’t want a weekly wrenching of my heart, a constant emotional rollercoaster brought on by a television show. I don’t need that emotional strain.
We need real joy, real healing for our wounded souls.
But a TV show about fictitious people, even one that mimics issues in real life, isn’t going to heal our wounded souls nor is it going to teach us Truth or give us real Hope.
Some things I have in my real life…In my real life I have faced….
Parents’ ugly, bitter divorce when I was a preteen. Step parent who now needs help as she grows older. Memories of love from my daddy and hate, anger, and abuse from my mom. The joy of knowing she accepted Christ just before her death.
Death of all four parents: heart disease, alcoholism, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer. All with in a few years. The joy and hardship of caring for them in their last days and watching them die. The peace of knowing they have eternal life in Christ.
People I love with addiction issues. The struggles, tears as they make poor choices. The joy and hope when they get clean and make beautiful choices.
Watching my adult children work to find life partners and make career choices. Joy when they find amazing people to do life with and when they find jobs they love!
Sadness of watching infertility drag on. The thrill of a new grandchild!
Family members with eating disorders and mental health issues. Pain, knowing I can’t fix it. Hope, knowing I can pray to the One who can.
Death of our 20 year old son to a drunk driving wreck. Peace knowing he is alive, living eternally with God and that I will join him there one day.
Financial pressures, job pressures, etc. Serenity, knowing God provides for His children. And a bit a angst knowing that provision is in His timing and doesn’t always look as I’d like it to look.
Church filled with flawed humans, me included. All the messy, ugly, beautiful things that happen when real humans do life together, without a staff of writers and editors to direct them but with the Holy Spirit teaching us all we need to know and leading us in all righteousness …if we are willing.
Friends who are transgender, gay, straight, happy, depressed, or who have mixed marriages, happy marriages, failed marriages, adopted kids, kids in rebellion, kids with autism, infertility issues, etc. plus military families and issues that come from deployment, TDY, reassignments. Confusion and fear that I’m loving them all wrong. Hope, knowing that God is love, The Holy Spirit is in me and leads me, relief when I remember that it’s not up to me to fix my friends but to simply love them and comfort them with the same comfort I have received from the Father. And knowing that they love me, that we are loving each other in our flawed, beautiful ways.
A husband with a business to run, keeping people (heads of families) employed. Peace knowing it’s all God’s anyway.
My own insecurities and health issues as we get older. Hope and serenity knowing my life is in His hands and He’s known my every moment since before one of them came to be.
Being married to a real human man with real human issues, wants, and needs…and loving every bit of him! Well, I could do without some of the very human parts, but loving him nonetheless.
Not enough time to play, ride my bike, see my grandkids, or hang glide. Joy in each moment I do get to spend in these past times.
None of these issues are ever fixed or resolved in one hour with commercial breaks. None of these issues will be made better by drinking in conventional wisdom or wisdom from movies or TV shows.
I have no writers giving me the humorous or exact words to say on cue or editors fixing my bloopers. But I do have the Holy Spirit living in me, leading me, convicting me of sin, and teaching me. May I learn to listen to Him more pliably. May I be more and more obedient. May I keep my eyes on things above daily.
The answer to our problems, the answer to relationship issues is not in isolation, watching a show about fictitious people with fictitious families and fictitious problems, but by having real relationships with those real, flawed people God puts in outer lives. Taking time to be with other humans. Working out our salvation with fear and trembling as God works in us to will and act according to His good purpose! God gives wisdom. God heals. God keeps our tears in a bottle.
My real life has enough in it to emotionally drain me if I do not turn to My Father. I know; I’ve tried it without Him. Life was wretched when I did it my way, without turning to God for wisdom.
TV and movies are not wrong. Entertainment is not all evil. But not all shows or movies are beneficial nor will they heal our wounded souls.
When I do watch movies or TV, I choose to watch shows that uplift, not that tear apart my emotions. This is getting harder and harder with the shows available today. So I rarely watch network television shows.
No condemnation or judgement for those who do watch such shows. I simply choose not to right now. Not in my stage of live.
Just my thoughts.
Read more about Kathleen and her journey at her website www.kathleenbduncan.com.
If you have lost a loved one and need healing, check out God’s Healing in Grief, published by Precept.org.