Are You Still Watching?
When my husband is out of town, I definitely fall prey to the occasional Netflix binge. After a long day at the studio, it's far too easy to come home, make dinner, and lounge in front of the TV with a staple like Gilmore Girls or Parenthood on the screen. I get lost in the comfort of these shows and their familiar characters, so much so that I often incur what I refer to as a Netflix wakeup call - "Are you still watching?" the television asks me.
For some reason I always feel like I'm being scolded when this question pops up on the TV screen. I scoot down a little further under my blanket and quickly hit the "Yes" button to continue my binge on the show. (Don't act like you haven't done it.) Yes, I have been watching this show for hours. Yes, I am going to continue this mindless activity. Yes, this is how I want to be spending my time.
We are given so many opportunities to live a better story, but we binge instead.
I'm a pretty avid reader, and travel pushes my voracity for literature into overdrive. I fly through books on planes, no pun intended, because I'm exceptionally focused without the distraction of my phone, work, television...you name it. On my most recent trip, I finished the book The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, which is about a personality type system called the Enneagram. To say I'm obsessed is an understatement, and you will probably hear a million references to the Enneagram in my coming posts. Essentially, the theory is that each of us gravitates toward one of 9 different personality types in childhood, and this number, or type, dictates the way we are wired and what motivates us.
Without getting too deep into Enneagram speak, I want to tell you about one of the types, a 9, or "The Peacemaker". The 9 has many wonderful characteristics, just like every personality type, but, "More than any other type, Nines demonstrate the tendency to run away from the paradoxes and tensions of life by attempting to transcend them or by seeking to find simple and painless solutions to their problems," so says The Enneagram Institute. If they aren't careful, Nines can fall asleep to their own life. Unfortunately, I think we all have a little bit (or a lot) of this quality in us.
We all have the potential to fall asleep to our lives and our callings.
Maybe, you're tired of the stresses that won't stop piling up. Maybe, you're trying to outrun a deadline or ultimatum that has life-altering power. Maybe you've been treating your body poorly, robbing it of sleep and proper nutrition, yet expecting it to do it's job and get you through the day without coming unhinged. When we're busy tuning out our lives, we often tune in to something mind-numbing. Just like a Netflix marathon, it's far too easy to binge on pointless things that make us feel good, but don't create any real change. It's easy to tune out when you aren't letting anything new come in.
On my latest trip, I also began reading Swipe Right: The Life-and-Death Power of Sex and Romance by Levi Lusko, and I cannot say enough good things about this author and this book. Of the plethora of quotes I've underlined already, one fits this narrative exceptionally well. Lusko says, "The calling God has on your life can be silenced by the desire to feel good in the moment." To add to that, I have to ask myself the question - What am I falling asleep to, tuning out, and not dealing with because I'm binging on something empty?
If you feel like your life is running on auto-pilot, recognize that we are all given constant opportunities to press the pause button on our bad habits and escape the complacency that tempts us at every angle. Yes, pointless things will always vie for your attention, but at some crossroads, we all have to take responsibility for our actions and turn off the TV, whether that means literally stopping a Netflix binge or railroading a bad habit in another area of your life. As Lusko also said, "Now yells louder, but later lasts longer." What do you need to say no to right now to receive a better pay off later on?
Ask yourself - are you still watching? Because your life is calling.