Friday, May 13, 2011

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program...

My life is not unlike television.

Sometimes there’s nothing on, sometimes there’s really good shows to watch, and sometimes every channel has nothing but junk.

This past year has been a bit like prime time TV. The programming has been great! Sure, there’s the odd annoying commercial break. Yes, there are weeks of re-runs and election coverage. Every now and then there’s a crummy episode of what was anticipated to be a good show.

Mostly, though, prime time rocks.

Do you remember those coloured bars that used to come up on the screen? They were usually accompanies by this horrible, constant beeeeeeeeeeeep. I called those blips. (Whatever happened to them, anyway? Not that I miss the blips. Just curious.)
Blips were the bane of any avid television watcher’s existence. Blips were unpredictable. Blips were not a minor interruption to your regularly scheduled programming (like commercials), but a major interruption. Blips were a source of intense frustration.

The worst part about blips was that you never knew how long they would last. If you were lucky, within a few moments a voice would speak out at you from the coloured bar screen, “This is a test. This is only a test.” The test would quickly run its course and you’d be back into your show in no time. But if you weren’t lucky, that blip would linger for hours. (And wasn’t it always on the BEST channel where all the good shows ran?!)

Today, our family’s prime time show has been interrupted. Not with a commercial advertising ‘small issues at school to deal with.’ Not with an infomercial going on and on about ‘financial frustrations.’ Not even with a couple weeks worth of re-runs, where ‘overtime at work, scrapping kids, and cranky Mom’ take over the airwaves.

We have a blip.

Like I said, the tough thing about blips is how unpredictable they are. It could be a test. Oh how I pray it’s just one of those “This is a test. This is only a test.” moments! But what if it’s not? What if my prime time programming is cut-off? What if all the good viewing just disappears indefinitely?

Here are a few things I’m already realizing about blips, after only a few hours…

I. Blips interrupt us.

I remember the days of Friends and Seinfeld marathons. Those were some good TV watching nights. The couch would develop a permanent impression of my butt, as I relaxed into a state of doing nothing. It was so good the way it was, that the thought of changing anything would never cross my mind.

In choosing words to describe this past year, I most definitely would not choose ‘radical.’ My focus has been on keeping things the same, not changing, no interruptions to the good life. Yet my heart desires to be radical, picking my butt up off the sofa, allowing any change of direction that God directs.

II. Blips make us take our eyes off the screen.

Ever get so caught up in watching a show that you become oblivious to everything around you? It can be so easy to become absorbed in the enjoyment and the comfort, that the things that need our attention go ignored. That blip makes us look around again, to find a source of contentment that can’t be so easily cut off.

This prime time life I keep referring to, it’s pretty comfortable. There’s not a lot of self-sacrifice involved. I don’t need to look anywhere for help. The more I stare at the mind-numbing screen, the less I look up for guidance.

III. Blips break the habit.

I used to record Days of Our Lives because I was certain life would end if I missed a single episode. It was like an addiction. But as our family grew, my time for watching soaps kept getting cut short. Eventually, I realized I hadn’t watched in months. And I didn’t miss it. I didn’t need it in order to feel good and enjoy life.

Do I need all that I have right now? Would the world end if I had to give some things (or everything) up? Have I gotten in the habit of thinking my stuff matters more than my growth? I’ve been spending more time worrying about what I want than asking what He wants, what His will is.

I don’t know how long this blip on the screen of our lives will last. I do hope it’s just a brief test that will clear off in a few minutes. Of course I do. But if it’s not and it doesn’t…if this prime time station goes off the air…if everything changes…

My attention is turned back to where it ought to be – God’s direction.

My eyes are looking up to where they need to look for help – God’s guidance.

My addiction to self is being broken, so that I can find the real source of satisfaction –God’s will.

We’ve been talking a lot about how our faith walk is looking different than we want it to (different than it did two years ago). We’ve been reflecting on how to get back to that walk of radical trust. With one long, drawn-out beeeeeeeep, I feel the transformation beginning.

I don’t like this little blip, not one little bit. Yet I am already grateful for it.


  1. I agree, it is always great to get to see transformation in myself and in others.


  2. So often when I get absorbed in my life and what I am doing (sometimes good stuff) God has to send blips to get my attention and draw me back to HIS will. Yes, it's no fun but I am always grateful afterwards as well.


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