Have you ever had one of those moments where you felt the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart, but you kinda wanted to ignore it? Yeah, me too. Today I want to share with you what this tugging means and why you should guard your heart as well as your child’s heart.
Life in quarantine has been boring at times. With businesses still partially shut down and crazy winter weather we’ve been stuck inside the house a lot. So when a new show, like WandaVision came on Disney+ my husband and I were excited to have something to distract our minds.
We found ourselves looking forward to Friday night. We’d put the kids to bed, pop some popcorn and escape from the world by turning on the TV. It was fun and enjoyable…until last week.
We knew Wanda was nicknamed the Scarlet Witch, but last weeks episode took a dark turn and it did not sit well in our spirits.
As we eagerly watched a YouTube video sharing hidden Easter eggs from the latest episode we both held our breath. It just didn’t feel right.
This wasn’t the first time the Holy Spirit nudged, convicted or brought something like this to my attention. But I’ll admit my flesh wanted to resist the still small voice.
I felt like the cartoon with a little angel and devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear.
My flesh telling me “It’s okay, it’s just entertainment. It’s not like you are actually going to start practicing witchcraft. You need something fun to indulge in right now. Life is stressful. It’s okay to distract yourself with movies and shows.”
At the same time, the Holy Spirit was lovingly telling me to be careful about what my eyes saw and heart consumed. We may not always realize it, but what we take in through our minds directly impacts our hearts.
Now I’m not saying ALL television is bad and we should never watch a show again. This isn’t a howler than thou kind of post. It’s not about being “the perfect Christian woman.” But this recent experienced, showed me the value of guarding our hearts.
It also made me think about how we are raising our children to be in this world but not a part of it. How do we protect our children’s hearts from such a dark world?
Do we ban all Disney in our home? How do we handle media and kids?
These are questions my husband and I started asking each other.
Shows or movies with “magic” aren’t our first choice when it comes to things we watch. But we also know when our kids go out into the real world their friends are going to be talking about movies like Frozen or shows like WandaVision.
So how do we equip our kids to discern what is feeding their spirit versus what is harming it?
This equipping starts at home and it starts with us as parents. We need to be diligent about what we are digesting spiritually. Every so often we should ask ourselves questions like:
- How much time am I spending in God’s presence?
- What is God speaking to me right now?
- How have I been spending my “free time” lately?
- How do I feel after watching the news, a specific show or reading a certain book?
It may be helpful to ask our children these questions as well. In addition, it’s powerful when we share our own experiences of connecting to God with others.
Our kids have watched Frozen, but we sat down and watched it with them. We talked about the “magical” elements. We discussed what the Bible says about magic, power and creation and we compared God’s word to what they were seeing in the movie.
Having open discussions is one step to guarding our children’s hearts.
Why does it even matter if we protect our hearts? We read in Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
If everything flows from our hearts, then are we being diligent about what we are feeding it?
If there are things we feel uneasy about, we should bring it to God in prayer. What would happen if we asked Him if He wants us to watch, read or spend time doing XYZ?
What we decide to watch or listen to may differ from person to person. And please know I’m not saying we are bad Christians if we watch a show like WandaVision.
But it would be naive to pretend like there isn’t evil in the world. We read in 1 Peter 5:8 NIV:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
We must stay alert. Guarding our hearts and minds. And as parents we have the privilege of doing this for our children. Until they are able to discern for themselves, we are the covering for them.
The other day I was reading my STRONG devotional by Lisa Bevere and I loved what she wrote:
“As Christ-followers we are called to encourage one another. This means we add courage to each other by speaking the promises of God. The world tells us ‘Do whatever you want. You do you.’ But we are ambassadors of heaven walking the face of the earth in a time of great confusion. And rather than live for ourselves, we live for Him. The Word of the Lord should not be watered down until it blends seamlessly with the wisdom of this age.”Lisa Bevere, Strong Devotions
Wow. Her words convicted and encouraged me. It’s not always easy being “different” from the world. Why can’t we just do what we want?
God gave us free will, so technically we can do what we want, but must realize there are consequences to every decision we make.
I know I won’t always get it right, but I don’t want to miss out on any blessing God has for me because I decided to follow my fleshly desires instead of Him.
I know. This is a lot. So I want to leave you with 3 action steps you can take right now to guard your children’s hearts.
Pray. Ask for wisdom, pray for protection, give all your concerns to God. There is power in prayer and I believe when we intentionally ask God for His direction, He is diligent to show us the way.
Take an inventory of what you are consuming. I get it, sometimes we just need a break so we hand our kids an iPad or we turn on the TV. But as parents we have to be diligent about what our kids are consuming. Take a few days to take an inventory of your family’s television shows, apps, books, games, movies, etc.
Talk to your kids. As parents we aren’t always sure how to bring up difficult topics with our kids. We recently purchased Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr.: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds because our kids are starting to use the internet. We are intentional about keeping the iPad in the living room and checking in on them as they use it, but I think it’s SO valuable for kids to know the difference between good pictures and bad pictures.
Books are a great way to start hard conversations. I highly recommend having open conversations with your kids about what they are seeing and how it makes them feel.
How do you guard your heart and your children’s hearts?
What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.