Taking an “Advertising Break”: How To Refresh Your Soul and Think for Yourself Again


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Taking an advertising break

We are perpetually discontent, as a society. 

The advertisements we all see on a daily basis are… a lot! And I believe it does have an effect on us.

As a girl, I remember flipping through toy ads in the newspaper, as well as seeing commercials in between my cartoons. As a result, I would daydream about having those barbies and dream houses. I would fall asleep fantasizing about the new “life-like baby doll” I wanted to buy, or whatever else I had seen most recently advertised.

As an adult, I’m not much different. When I see shiny, beautiful, fun things, I begin to see how they fit into my life, and I begin to want them!

In recent years, I’ve made a decisions to take a bit of a break from it all.

I quit watching television about a year ago, except for an occasional Netflix show or movie (woohoo for no commercials!), and I listen to a local, ad-free Christian radio station or my own songs. I don’t get out of the house much in this season of life (with three little kids) so my exposure to billboards and other public advertisements is greatly minimized.

Not all of that was because of commercials, but that was a hugely-appreciated side-benefit.

I remember turning on HGTV one day, for a fun treat, since we had access to some Network channels for one month only. I watched a completely innocent show. My kids were in the room.

…and then the commercials came on.

It was offensive. Let’s just say a commercial came on that was pushing a MAJOR agenda, which I deeply disagree with. It was deceptive, portraying something that God says is evil and sinful as sweet and innocent. Watching these things on a screen has a way of soaking in to our hearts and our thinking!

I don’t want to be desensitized to sin, as Hollywood would absolutely have me be. I want God’s word and His Spirit to be my guide.

And I don’t want my children to be confused at such a young age either, before they have a firm grasp on scripture and the tension of God’s unfathomable love and His unfathomable holiness! (How often do we miss that second part?)

contemplative

So, yeah. This break from gross propaganda and the complete inundation of a million reasons why I should be discontent has been a refreshing for me.

I actually love that I don’t know about every latest fad or newest trend or fun possibility, because honestly… I already have enough. I don’t need to know.

Instead, I get to be content with what I have. What a notion!

I love that my kids aren’t languishing away over the hottest new toys either, because A) we could not afford new toys anyway, and B) that is not good for their little hearts.

Aside from their friends’ toys, they don’t know what they’re missing out on. I’m happy for them! Remember when I said we don’t leave the house much? Yep… I can’t even tell you the last time they were in a toy department. It’s just easier to stay home most of the time. I know that will change.

But for now, you know what? They love to play with sticks and balls, and they are currently completely enamored with some old bath toys they got years ago. They recently discovered new ways to imagine adventures for the little people who fit in the little boats. Wonderful!

Kids are amazingly resilient and imaginative. They are going to play, because it’s their nature. It’s ingrained. And sometimes it’s good to leave kids in their boredom, because this boredom becomes a motivator towards creativity and cooperation. (Other times it leads them to whine or make a wreck of the house, but you can’t win ’em all.)

Although I still read blogs and peruse Facebook, I manage this proactively. If someone is advertising to me too much, I unfollow!

So, my conclusions after a year of reduced advertising and propaganda intake?

I would say I have more peace and more contentment. I also have no desire to go back.

After all, I have the indwelling Holy Spirit, I don’t need help knowing what to think from “interested parties,” although I do value the opinion of the wise, godly people in my life.

So, if you are craving more peace and less propaganda targeting your heart and fostering discontentment or confusion about God’s truth, here are some ideas for how you can take steps in that direction!

Ideas for how to decrease your propaganda and advertising intake:

  • Watch less TV
  • Watch TV on commercial free mediums, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or DVD’s
  • Listen to your own music, such as iTunes or a CD, subscribe to a commercial free service like Spotify Premium, or choose a listener-supported Christian radio station if you have one available
  • Don’t go shopping unless you actually need something. (Be sure to distinguish your needs from your wants!)
  • “Unfollow” those who are advertising to you or whose lives are leading you long for what they have
  • Read books rather than magazines
  • Spend less time on your phone, tablet or computer
  • Get out in nature! 🙂

Why not give it a try and see how an advertising and propaganda break will do for you?

Do you notice advertising impacting your heart or that of your kids?

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Comments

  1. Rosemary says:

    I thought I was crazy that I don’t like looking at advertising. It is great to know I’m not and that I’m not alone. We decided when my husband and I started life together that a TV would not be in our homes. I didn’t want to watch it while we ate or spend hours in front of it. If a TV is on around me, I have trouble not looking at it. So, for us we are now 2 years into no TV. We do watch things online, my husband especially. But I do feel that it it freeing to not have that constant distraction. The only thing I do feel guilty about st times is that I have a tendency to be out of the loop on world events. My husband will tell me something happened and want to talk about it and I’m like, oh that’s the first time I heard about that.

    • Yes, that is something I’ve noticed too. If I don’t happen to see a news story shared on Facebook, or if my pastor doesn’t mention it or something, I probably don’t know about it. But, for me, I think that’s been okay, and even good. After all, the level of access we have to news around the world is unnatural, and it can be overwhelming for me. I feel like I have enough grief just within my immediate circles, and these are the situations I can truly impact. Although I know it’s good to know about things for purposes of prayer, so I guess it’s whatever God is calling each person to! Thanks for commenting… you’re not crazy! 🙂

  2. Lou Ann says:

    Great article. We only watch DVD’s and let all of subscriptions run out, even though they were related to my home business. There were too many add for the better and newer. We don’t even”walk the mail” or downtown. It helps a great deal and does help me be more content. I even deactivated FB. It is so freeing not trying how to spend money I don’t have on things I don’t need.

  3. Stacey says:

    Great tips! My husband and I are especially concerned with advertisements that portray the parents, mainly the father, as an incompetent joke. I did Jen Hatmaker’ s study “7,” and it made such a difference. In that study, we did a media fast, but then life happened and we slipped into tv old habits. Now my 7 year is asking to do another fast. They NEED us to protect them from this garbage.

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