On this last Father’s Day, I found myself the last kid at my parents’ house, watching “The Judge” with them on TV. If you have never seen this movie, it is fantastic, however I found myself really bothered by something. The dialogue contained very frequent usage of the “F bomb” and while that in itself is not my favorite (understatement), I was more bothered by how much it didn’t bother me to the extent it normally does. I started thinking about why that was and I determined it was because I had been regularly (ok, nearly daily) listening to the Gilmore Guys podcast, where the word is used probably a few times each episode. I remember it had bothered me at first but I liked the actual podcast enough that I had justified listening to it and that the F words weren’t that big of a deal. As I sat at on my parents’ couch watching what was otherwise a fascinating and heartbreaking storyline, I admitted to myself that I had been wrong. It was a big deal to me and it continued to eat at me, as I still listened to the podcast, not wanting to give up the fun conversation, debates and unique insight into one of my favorite television shows.
Now, I know what you might be thinking, that I’m just a naive, sheltered little Mormon girl but I think I’m on to something. I am certainly conservative but I would not call myself a prude. I can appreciate a well placed swear, a slightly inappropriate joke and have a fair knowledge of some less than ideal things of the world. But I have standards that help to keep me close to God, that are the foundation of my relationship with Him and help me to stay on the path He has laid out for my benefit.
During this time that I have become numb to something I would normally never tolerate I have noticed other habits changing. I am now having to work to get my scripture study out of a lull I fell into, I forget my prayers more often these days, and temptations I normally struggle with are stronger than usual. Coincidence? I think not. Because once we let Satan chip a piece of our armor away, we expose ourselves to more harm. A little here, a little there, so we barely notice it, until one day we wake up and we don’t even recognize the person we used to be. Now, I’m not nearly that far gone. Not even close. But I have seen myself slip juuuust in the slightest and I refuse to slip any further.
Last night I had the opportunity to hear from one of the female leaders in the Church, Sister Elaine S. Dalton. She was wonderful and insightful but one of the things that caught my attention was a little antidote about paying a lot of money for a Broadway play with her husband and getting up and leaving within the first ten minutes due to crude language. I knew it was time to repent. When the devotional was over I turned to my friend and said “I think I need to stop listening to Gilmore Guys” and she said “I was thinking the same thing for myself”. Am I sad? Yes. Will I miss it? Absolutely! It is so entertaining and I’ve really enjoyed it. But is it worth sacrificing my closeness to God? Not a chance.
Being a disciple of Christ is not easy. As Satan continues to poison mankind and evil abounds, being a Christian and being truly converted to the Gospel is going to put us in the minority. In fact, it already has. But one of the great things about following God is knowing there are blessings in store for our devotion, faithfulness and obedience. Heavenly Father often asks us to give up something good (for example, a sometimes vulgar, though otherwise entertaining podcast) for something better (the gift of the Holy Ghost with me always and more guidance and direction). We give up of our time for church attendance, prayer and scripture study. We give up money for tithing to support the Church. We give up our agency so that His Will be done. No, it’s not easy but it is what is required of us to rise to the potential we have as children of God.
I feel a little guilty to have recommended Gilmore Guys to so many friends that I know would not usually put up with that kind of language. To those people, I am so sorry. Please know it was not done with poor intent or to push your limits. I’m not even here to say it’s a bad podcast, because it isn’t! I still really like it and it makes me sad that such unnecessary language means I will no longer be listening to it. What I am saying is there’s never a bad time to evaluate your life and your relationship with God. Are you where you want to be? No matter what the answer is, there’s always something that can be done to improve that relationship just a little bit more. Maybe you will have to give up something good, but it is only so the best can fall into place. I truly believe that.