For all who have ever spiralled down the endless black hole of Korean dramas, I’m sure you can relate when I say that they are extremely addictive.
It probably doesn’t help that I like watching detective action and makjang dramas (basically a genre with ridiculously exaggerated and overly dramatised intense plots).
Their unpredictability is what makes them so exciting and keeps viewers hooked.
Last year, I followed all 3 seasons of The Penthouse, which is possibly one of the most infuriatingly addictive makjangs ever.
But watching that series was what made me realised that my K-drama enthusiasm had slowly spiralled into an obsession.
When interest became insidious obsession
I’m generally not an overthinker — the only things that I feel are worth thinking deep and hard about are mostly about faith-related issues.
But once these drama distractions crept in, they gradually started to consume my mind; my priorities got shifted and God was pushed to the back seat.
If I could put a number to it, God probably used to occupy 70 per cent of my brain space, with the remaining 30 per cent going to life’s other necessities.
But then the proportion got reversed.
I was so invested in the drama that I would literally camp in front of my laptop waiting in eager anticipation for each episode to drop.
Although I barely understood Korean, I would watch the weekly live episodes without subtitles just because I was too impatient to see how the plot unfolded.
And I would still re-watch the episodes again after the subtitles came out.
But sometime during that period, I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)
That’s when I came to realise that my interest had come to a point of idolatry.
Housekeeping my heart
My desire to know God had been displaced by an obsession with K-drama.
I wasn’t even half this excited to go to church… where was my hunger for God?
While it wasn’t wrong to consume these shows, at what point did they start to consume me instead?
So, I decided that I needed to go on a K-drama fast.
Please don’t misunderstand – there’s nothing inherently wrong with dramas. Such entertainment can help us unwind and relax.
But the act of self-denial through fasting can also train us to prioritise God in His rightful place in our lives, above unhealthy distractions.
As a spiritual discipline, fasting helps us to turn our minds away from the things of this earth and instead refocus on God.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
Feeding my soul
As I was going through this experience, I was reminded of how Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.
Deprived of life’s necessities, His flesh was weak and vulnerable, making him most susceptible to temptation. Nevertheless, Jesus conquered temptation!
Even though Jesus was hungry, He resisted Satan’s temptation to turn stones into edible bread, and instead asserted that true spiritual nourishment was found in the Word of God.
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 ESV)
To receive this true spiritual nourishment, I realised that I needed to delve deeper into the Bible and grow in my knowledge of Him too (1 Peter 2:2).
Rather than voraciously consuming shows that were never going to truly satisfy me, I fed myself with God’s Word and learnt how to desire it instead.
I eventually went back to watching K-dramas, but I was able to do that in moderation and make a conscious effort to set healthy boundaries on the time I spent on them.
Lent, a season of realignment
As we enter Lent, I will be fasting from K-dramas again just to eliminate possible distractions so that I can refocus on God.
Traditionally, this is a special time that many Christians around the world set aside as a season for fasting as we remember how Jesus did the same in the midst of temptation.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be food — you could be fasting from social media, phones or anything that takes your attention away from God.
Whether or not you observe Lent, why not take this chance to repent of any idols in your life and rededicate yourself to Him?
- How hungry are you for God?
- Is there something in your life that started off as an interest and developed into an idol?
- What are some steps you can take to reorientate your life towards Him?