A girl comes home after a long day. She sets her things down, throws her hair up and changes into comfy clothes in record time. She grabs her laptop and flips it open. The screen illuminates, showing the last website she visited: Netflix.
The familiar words appear on the screen.
“Playback Timed Out.”
Her muscle memory kicks in and she hits ‘refresh’ as the episode she fell asleep on continues, right where she left off.
And this is how she spends her evening. Maybe she eats, maybe she showers, maybe she talks to some people. But at any given moment, especially in bed getting ready to fall asleep, she is watching Netflix.
That girl? It was me.
A Real Netflix Addiction
I had a social life, I had friends, I even had a boyfriend. But when people asked what my “hobbies” were, I had to lie by deflection. I said things like, “Oh, I enjoy reading. I write sometimes. I love the outdoors.” Because I certainly couldn’t tell them, “I literally spend all of my free time watching The Office on Netflix.”
Here’s the thing: Netflix was my escape from life, from stress, from feelings and from people. I used the shows I watched on Netflix to keep fear and depression at bay. If I was watching Netflix, nothing could hurt me.
That sounds extreme—because it was extreme. But that was my reality. It wasn’t that I was lazy, without anything better to do.
It was that at the root of my incessant Netflix binge, something was terribly wrong. Something was awry in my heart, and it was causing fear and depression to hover over me like an individualized dark rain cloud. Netflix was my perpetual umbrella.
Then, something happened.
I found myself at a place where everything I held dearest was slipping through my fingers: my future, my plans, my pride, my love. For a long time I knew I needed to turn back to God and finally listen to His voice. He had been whispering into my soul, like a parent whispers too closely in a child’s ear when chastising at a dinner table (that kind of whisper that makes kids flinch from the tickle). I couldn’t ignore Him anymore.
The Real Root of Netflix Addiction
In my life, I stopped seeking God. I chased feelings and intuitions instead of prayerfully asking the Lord for guidance and peace. I listened to my own overly emotional and foolish heart over listening to the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit. In no uncertain terms, I was running.
I found what I thought I wanted, and I didn’t want to hear what God had to say, for fear it would contradict my desires.
What does Netflix have to do with all this? Because while my heart was wasting in torture and turmoil, I naively believed the longer I watched Netflix, the longer I could put off the change I knew needed to happen.
Thankfully, Jesus came to my rescue.
He opened my eyes and allowed me to see the damage I had been doing to my heart and mind by putting Him off. In that moment, I made a decision to change my attitude, my habits and my heart.
I desperately needed Jesus back in my everyday life. Nothing was right without Him being at the center of my affections, without Him being my greatest love. I chose that day to allow Him access to my rusted heart.
As a result, I gave Him the attention I once rendered to Netflix. I used that time instead to seek Him. My desire became to know Him and to grow my love for Him.
Netflix isn’t bad, but for me it became a distraction from more important things.
This Isn’t Really About Netflix
Maybe for you it’s not Netflix. Maybe it’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It could be Hulu or even traditional TV. Maybe your job is your shield, or your husband is your escape. Maybe a hobby, an addiction or a toxic relationship is causing your growing separation from God.
I challenge you to look inside your heart. Ask yourself honestly if you’re running to anything before running to God for guidance, safety, and peace. Is anything besides Jesus taking the first place in your heart?