Hi, my name is Kirsten and I am a Netflix Addict.
I am notoriously lazy when left to my own devices. I have been known to classify my bed as an idol. My deepest human desire is to stay in bed and do nothing all day.
So this Saturday when I looked outside and saw it was grey and rainy, I rolled my eyes back in glee and threw the covers over my head. The only times I left my room was to walk down the hall to the bathroom or to the kitchen.
I’m working on writing a book, so I stayed in my room under the guise of writing, research, and editing. Sure, I did a little bit of that. But really I got sucked into the Youtube vortex and binge watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Hours slipped by, the sun came out for a hot second, I had a fleeting thought about going out for a run, but then Netflix’s autoplay feature kicked in. “Oh, maybe after this episode.”
Netflix is a sometime food.
Netflix binges are like Cookie Monster’s new mantra, “a cookie is a sometime food.” They are great when you’ve been running around like a crazy person and need to rest. They can be wonderful for bringing people together for a marathon of classic sitcoms. But if your Netflix resumé is longer than your accomplishments for the week, something might need to change.
The question I need to ask myself more often is “are the hours I spend on the internet justified?” I don’t like weighing all my decisions; that doesn’t really feel like living in freedom to me. Here’s the thing though, I am horrible with time management. I hate how much energy it takes for me to schedule things and keep myself accountable. BUT, when I find that energy and take the time to make the most of my day, I feel so much lighter.
We were made to be productive. And when we are acting in our full potential, we feel better.
Who ever really feels amazing and energized after multiple days of doing absolutely nothing? Typically, you just feel like a blob. You could almost call it physics. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest. The energy it takes to keep a well balanced schedule is a ton for me, but it’s less than the massive push of energy it takes for me to go from lazy to even slightly productive.
Going Cold Turkey.
How do you change a habit? Cutting it straight out of your life and never picking it up again is one option. I know quite a few people who go through seasons of fasting Netflix, or social media. That is a great path to take, if that is the conviction you feel. But that habit will only change if you fill the gap in your time with something more beneficial.
The change comes for me when I refocus my motivation. Conviction hits me like a ton of bricks at times. I’m a fairly strong willed person. I get stuck in my ruts and it takes something pretty undeniable to get me to change. So this morning when I opened up my Bible app of choice and read, “My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, VOICE) I got the Holy Spirit slap I needed to shake me out of my bad habit.
How is being a Netflix addict, alone in my room, laboring for God? How does that grow my witness, show fruit, or give me any benefit? It straight up doesn’t. If I were laboring, growing, being productive and needing rest, sure a few episodes on Netflix could be justified. Six hours is just unnecessary and really rather gluttonous.
So as I write this, I am committing to no Netflix, no YouTube for the next month. (I feel like weeping now that I have admitted this to all of the internet. Talk about accountability.) Instead, I am going to use these valuable hours to finish my book, reach the fitness goal I set in January, spend regular time in scripture, and take out my camera more often.
What have you become addicted to? It doesn’t have to be a substance.
I recently talked to a friend who said he always feels the need to be productive–the complete opposite problem of me. His potential solution is to actually get Netflix, to relax and do nothing more often.
What is that impulse that you can’t say no to right now? Spend some time to identify what thing has more control of your life than it should right now. Make a plan to cut back. Put it on paper, or on the internet. Find some close friends to hold you accountable. Focus on the process, not the results. Are you going to accomplish your plan perfectly? Probably not. We’re human. But, the process of replacing bad habits and growing in self awareness will permeate your life, leading to more growth in the future.
Don’t give up.
My fatal flaw is giving up, letting the laziness win, saying “I can’t” and stopping. It’s easier to quit than to push through. But there is no benefit in that and giving up does not a worthy story make.
We love stories of triumph, overcoming, underdogs working hard to get that championship title. Stories of people growing into their couch are just sad. If those stories inspire us, it’s because we don’t want to end up like that.
When you’re in that place when you want to throw in the towel, push through. The work is worth it. You have the strength to get past that mental block. When you’re on mile 2 of 3, don’t start walking, tell yourself you can do it, grit your teeth, and soar through that finish line.
Most of all: remember that you are working for God, not for man. Do your best, regardless of the outcome, put in the time and effort for Him.
Keep it in prospective, too. 10 years from now, I won’t look back and regret giving up being a Netflix addict so I could be a better follower of Christ and contributing member of society. It’s time to start building things that matter and will last outside of FRIENDS trivia night. Who’s with me?