This week I enjoyed the positive slant of blogger Bunmi Laditan in her post, “Dear Kids: It’s OK to Be Bored,”
“Boredom is not a problem to be solved. It is an itch to scratch. Boredom is the dawn of ideas. Boredom is curiosity knocking gently at your mind, asking to play. Being bored is like sitting in front of a blank canvas. Boredom is infinite possibility. You are the captain of your own ship and before you lies an expanse of dark blue ocean and clear skies.”
I have never been able to figure out what people are trying to express when they say, “I’m bored.” When our children were still at home and they made such a complaint, I took it to mean that they were inviting me to entertain them. My response curtailed such complaints–“Bored people are boring people. We have plenty of radiators to wipe down . . . let me know and I will be happy to set you up!” Funny thing, our radiators never did get wiped down (my children found better things to do) and they grew into amazing adults!
But as much as I might want to wallow in the positive perspective of Laditan, I remain convicted that there is a darker side of boredom . . . a dangerous aspect that warns us not to think of boredom as merely a phase people go through. Webster’s 1913 dictionary affirms my conviction with this definition:
BORED: adj. 1. tired of the world; bored with life.
2. uninterested because of frequent exposure or indulgence. Opposite of interested.
Is it sinful to be bored? Going by Webster’s definition . . . YES . . . ABSOLUTELY!
Certainly, God did not put us on this earth to be bored. In fact, God’s plan was simple and rooted in blessing. From the beginning of Creation, God deemed all that He had made to be “good”; we can infer from Genesis 3:8, 9 that God fellowshipped with Adam and Eve in the Garden until sin entered and spoiled everything. I wonder if, at the root of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin, was boredom to blame? Had they forgotten the blessing of fellowshipping with God as they entertained doubts about God’s goodness?
What about when boredom morphs into depression as described in Jeremiah 17:5 & 6?
“This is what the Lord says:
‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.'”
(Verses 5, 6)
I must clarify here that not all depression is sin; much that happens in this world is depressing! However, when we embrace boredom as “cool”; when we become disinterested or we disengage ourselves from relating to others . . . that is a definite indication of sin. As I watch the news, I wonder if a souless-boredom is at the root of much of the senseless brutality being reported? I ache for the victims of such evil as well as for their families. Yet I also mourn for the perpetrators living in the hell of dark hatred. Many times, when I see pictures of those who have committed such horrific crimes, the words of Jesus on the Cross flood my mind, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
We live in a world where “bored” is “cool”, where the concept of God as a loving Redeemer is increasingly unknown, and where love and simple kindness are thought to be archaic. So what are Christians to do? As we press into the New Year, I offer the wisdom of the Apostle Paul who, while living in horrific, uncertain times, encouraged his friends to follow his example,
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and
straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13, 14
Powerful stuff, right? So get going!
All to His Glory!