Around Christmas time of last year, I could feel God tapping me on the shoulder nudging me with a dare and a wild invitation: to give up Netflix for 30 days just to see what happens and how it impacts my life. It felt like less of a command and more of a playful experiment as if he was grinning from ear to ear whispering, “let’s just see.”
The thought terrified me a little bit, but he seemed so excited about it and that’s exactly why I knew that I needed to do it. So, for January, I said goodbye to Netflix and ultimately all forms of media streaming entertainment. I binged a couple late night episodes through Christmas and pressed pause for 30 days.
Now, there were a lot of lessons that came out of that month, but I want to share with you five of them. Maybe as you lean in with me, it’ll stir something in you to unplug from the noise for just a little bit. Who knows, it could just change your life too.
The silence won’t kill you, it will heal you.
I am really afraid of the silence. I am scared of that moment when everything is quiet and it’s just me by myself. One thing I really noticed through my month of pausing is that if I stopped running from the silence, and I just surrendered to it, that I’d find healing and connection. As I began to embrace the quiet and listen to it, I discovered that it actually had things to say.
My voice matters.
When I am surrounded by so much noise, it is so easy for me to lose the sense of my own voice. I am scrolling and watching and consuming and in the midst, I am forgetting what it is that I want to say. As I took 30 intentional days to unplug from entertainment, I realized that there is a voice in me that matters. It became easier to access it and easier to believe in it too.
Time is wasted spectating the real and fictional lives of other people.
One of the things I was most interested in with this experiment is whether I would be more productive taking a break from Netflix and I was! It turns out that if you’re not watching 20 episodes in a row, you can get a lot more done. And even though I am always doing other things while watching, it still slows me down. A good break in consuming is actually a good accelerator for taking action. Who knew!
Netflix isn’t self-care.
When we’re tired, I think it can be really easy to just want to chill, and turn on something to watch and completely escape. I think that’s important and we all need that from time to time. But, I really learned that Netflix isn’t self-care. That if I binge episodes of a show, I don’t walk away more full of life and hope. I just walk away. So, sometimes what I need most is not another episode, but something that actually fills me back up.
There are more answers within me than I think.
As someone who was practically raised on Google, my first instinct is to search, look it up, watch something—basically go somewhere else to find the information I don’t think I have. But in the 30 days of embracing the silence, it reminded me that there is more information and intuition in here than I think. And that if I turn within first to pray and listen, I will come out with so much more than I could by absorbing information from others first.
Sometimes we need a break. It is wisdom to know when we do. And it is kindness to give that to ourselves as a gift. I am proof that when you lean in and listen to what you need and what God might be inviting you into, you’ll always walk away with more good than you imagined possible.
So, if you need a media break, so you can embrace the silence, connect, or discover your own voice again. You can surrender.