Thursday, July 24, 2014

Katrina's Musings (Boredom)

This is an article on boredom by Todd Friel sent out in the Wretched Radio newsletter. I found what he said to be very helpful, so I thought I would share it here. 

Dealing with Boredom

“I’m bored,” is the child’s summer battle cry.  You did it, I did it, our kids still do it.
Undoubtedly your children have registered their boredom complaints with you many times.  How do you respond?
- When I was your age, we didn’t have half as many things to do as you do.
- Get used to it.  Life is really boring when you are an adult.
- Then go outside and play.

Most likely, regardless of your response, you had a sense that your child should not be complaining about boredom.  Why is that? Why do we get annoyed when our kids lament their lack of amusement?
Until we figure out what boredom is, we will never know how to handle it rightly.  For our children, or for ourselves.

Understanding boredom
Boredom is the feeling that we would like to be doing something other than what we are doing.   As is always the case, when we have a feeling, we should ask the question, “Where is that feeling coming from?”  Let’s ask that question about boredom.
Why do we want to be doing something other than what we are doing? There are four reasons, and the first two reasons are not good.

1.    We lack gratitude for what we are presently doing.  When we lack gratitude, we tell God that He is not providing for us in the way we think He should.  Uh oh.

2.    We desire something that we do not presently have.  When we lust for something we do not have (even an activity), then the Bible says we are coveting.  According to the tenth commandment, coveting is a big no-no.
In other words, when we are bored for those two reasons, we are sinning. 

That is great news! That means there is a solution to our problem.  God always provides a solution for our sin problem.  When it comes to boredom, the problem tends to be understanding what our problem actually is.
If we think our boredom problem is boredom itself, then we are going to try to fix our problem by getting busy, complaining, changing careers unnecessarily, booking unnecessary trips, running, buying, chasing or getting depressed.
None of those solutions ever work.  They might temporarily relieve some boredom, but activities never get to the root of our sin problem.  Until we recognize that boredom is likely a sin problem, we will not apply the right cure.

Getting to the root
What should we do when we are sinfully bored?
1.    Repent.  

2.    Believe you are forgiven.

3.    Consider God’s goodness in whatever you are doing.

The third reason
There is another reason we can get bored, and thankfully, this reason is not necessarily sinful.  Sometimes we get bored because we just don’t have enough to do.
God works.  We are made in His image.  We should work.  Maybe you are bored because your days just aren’t as active as they should be.

What should you do?
1.    Evaluate your days and spend some time thinking about how you can best serve the Lord.

2.    If you have ever complained about not having enough time for prayer or Bible reading, use your “boring time” to feed yourself.

3.    Perhaps God wants you to use slow times to be introspective.

The fourth reason
There is a fourth reason you might get bored, and this reason has more to do with the fall than it does with us.  Tedium.
Life is downright monotonous.  Get up, clean up, dress, commute, work, commute, watch TV, go to bed.  Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.  Life on this side of heaven is tedious and boring.
There are few jobs that are not monotonous.  Stay at home moms can tell you how interesting it is to do the same thing each and every day.  Whether it is by God’s design or because of the fall, even interesting activities become routine if done repetitiously.

What to do when life is tedious?
1.    It could be that you need to take a break and do something else.

2.    God created rest for a reason; sometimes we need it.

3.    God gives us fun things to do: recreation might just be the ticket.

4.    Let it remind you of Jesus and His rest.

5.    Let it make you long for heaven where we will not be bored, even if we are not busy

Before this article gets boring, let me suggest four take-aways (that sounded kinda Southern Baptisty):
1.    When you are bored, guard against sinning.  Boredom can be sinfully boring or not; make sure you don’t sin by complaining and coveting.  Complaining is an ugly way of saying, “God, I don’t think you are doing a very good job amusing me.”

2.    Rather than always replacing boredom with entertainment, perhaps you could use that time for: prayer, study, evangelism, service or watching Wretched TV.

3.    Learn the lessons of boredom for yourself and then teach your kids how not to be sinfully bored.

4.    Consider how our desire to never be bored affects many areas of our lives: worship services, quiet time, consumption of entertainment, vacations, electronic purchases, incessant texting, etc. etc.
Boredom is a subtle sin that is very easy to commit, especially in our go-go western culture.  Perhaps it has become an overlooked sin in your life.

The next time you are inclined to lament your lack of excitement, remember how you feel when you hear your child complain, “Mom, Dad! I’m bored.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for bringing boring to the light of sin that it really is.

    ReplyDelete

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