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  • Writer's pictureJenni Lien

What Happened When I Chose God Over Netflix

Tonight I felt the Holy Spirit encourage me to “stay awhile” in his presence with no agenda other than to just be.

Christian graphic by Jenni Lien of The Yay Project

It wasn’t that long ago that I’d spend evenings zoning out to Netflix.

I mean I had a social life, house church, hobbies but on the nights I came home right after work … even if I had plans to blog or work on goals ... it was like … switch on lights, drop off keys, set up take out, switch on Netflix and just hang out all evening with the Dunphy’s, Pritchett’s and Delgado-Pritchett’s. Not sure why exactly, but I guess it was easier to escape than to face any feelings of loneliness, unworthiness, whatever negativity might have been attacking / affecting me that day.

Tonight, for maybe the first time ever, I ate in silence.

All day I’ve been looking forward to this night in because my to learn / to create list feels a mile long (in a good way!) but I still fought temptations on the way home. From the moment I tapped into the MTR (similar to a subway line), I started talking with God and he asked me some good questions like why I wanted to listen to a Christian podcast instead of talking with him? Get home and watch a sermon instead of talking with him? It wasn’t in an accusatory way or anything … just gentle prompts.

So I pondered and didn’t listen to a Christian podcast on the way home. I ate my takeout (amazingly spicy Sichuan noodles) and didn’t watch a sermon. Instead I just tried to be present and pray and understand where I was - mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

The truth is I’m genuinely happy living surrendered to God, trusting that building his kingdom and following his plan is a way better idea than anything I could come up with.

Have you ever been in a stage where you know you’re avoiding things but avoid thinking about it? Maybe you lose yourself in the gym, work, family or even serving? There have been so many times in my life where I was happier seeing tangible results (e.g. number of bylines, pounds lost, degrees gained) than seeking his will. Because then I’d have to let go and trust him. And I loved him but in retrospect maybe I loved myself more. And now, after bringing (carrying) me through a tough season, I feel I’m in unchartered territory. I’ve never truly lived my life surrendered to God before. Sometimes I’m not really sure that it looks like. But on nights like tonight I’m reminded that we can always grow and change, create new habits, learn to be more like Jesus. We can say yes to the Holy Spirit’s invitation to spend time together and serve him however he leads.

It’s usually uncomfortable to face things we’d prefer to hide away but let’s help one another open up to our Savior.

Jenni Lien of The Yay Project at The St Regis Hotel Hong Kong

We might have to lay down some things we hold tightly but better things are in store. He always, always knows best. As I was sitting and just praying the lyrics “I love you, Lord … take joy my King in what you hear, let it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear,” I saw an image of me sitting in a row boat with Jesus.

We were in the middle of an ocean and I could see glimpses of where we were going and knew, if I looked behind me, I would be able to see how far we’d come. But instead of focusing in either of those directions, He asked me to just “stay awhile,” be still and enjoy Him. We didn’t necessarily need to plan, dream or even talk … just be together. And my heart just melted.

And to think I might have chosen to spend my evening with Modern Family instead! Let’s learn to choose God first, you guys. God first. xx #theyayproject


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