The Blessing of Boredom
Bored defined: feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.
Spring-cleaning has officially started in our household. Starting with me and my piles of books, coupons for oil changes, and newspapers I’ll probably never read… Let’s just say, my clutter and mess is generally the biggest hurdle for our family to get through our annual “clean and clear out the house”! This time of year we ask ourselves “what is essential” and “what can we get rid of”? I finally parted with my BMX trophies from 1985 last year. It’s been a brutal year without them.
When we start to ask the “what is essential” question regarding our stuff, life gets really interesting in our household. When we ask that question for our lives, our families, our careers, our ministries, certain opportunities jump to the front of the line and others fall away quickly!
An essential thing that you and I need more of is BOREDOM. I know that sounds terrible, it’s probably something that you’re trying to avoid, but it may prove to be the greatest blessing you will ever discover! I read recently that one of the executive leaders at Twitter posed the following question: “Can you remember what it was like to be bored? It doesn’t happen anymore.” If you go to your kids soccer or karate practice, if you’re forced to wait at a red-light, if are sitting in an airport, or you’re stuck at a doctor’s office what you will find is people from every walk of life glued to some device with endless information and entertainment in their hands. In one sense, it really is amazing. I’m not asking you to throw your device away, and I’m not bashing technology.
I am proposing that you and I do something for the sake of those whom we lead (our families, our organizations, our businesses) that will involve you and I “un-glueing” ourselves from the endless stream of noise. I am proposing that some of your best thoughts, your biggest dreams, and your best chance of being in the right frame of mind and soul to hear God’s direction for the next step He has for you in your life will only come through moments of sheer boredom. Moments where you’re are radically and strategically “unoccupied”. Let me warn you – it will feel weird, strange, awkward, and quite possibly pointless at first, but it will prove to be an amazing blessing, should you have the courage to take this step.
Words cannot describe how thankful I am to have cleared so much of the clutter in our house (and there is more to go!) during our Spring-Cleaning and the same is true in life. So give yourself permission and opportunities to be bored… To go without technology… To survive a half-day, a full-day with no device, no posts, no tweets, no pinning, and no poking… Simply… UNOCCUPIED.
So try it out.
The historian Luke tells us this in his account of the life of Jesus, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). He often went “UNOCCUPIED” and modeled for us the kind of relationship with God that we would literally and joyfully let go of everything to have (Matthew 13:44-46).
So take a step this week.
Maybe it’s the first thing you do in the morning instead of picking up your device and seeing what coupons are in your inbox… Maybe it’s the last thing you do before you go to bed instead of hitting NewsFeed one more time… Maybe it’s taking a whole day away from the noise, the clutter, and in that UNOCCUPIED space discovering so much of what you’ve been missing.
The blessing of boredom.
Go find it!
Couldnt agree more!! I felt lead to fast from facebook for lent and i must that it is the best decision ive made for myself this year. God had changed me so much and my relationship with him has grown so much in the last month. I know in my heart that the only way it was possible was by getting away from my device and leaning on him. With the end of lent drawing near i find myself not wanting to get back on social media.
I had to think about this for a day, and I think I see a parallel. In being trained as a long rifleman, I had to learn a very different kind of mindset – unoccupied, yet alert.
When you’re in a hide for hours (or days), bugs crawling on you and absolutely nothing happening,m you have to learn to simply not think, and just watch, and wait. The moment may come NOW, or it may come in an hour, or it may not come at all, but there’s no room for clutter.
You can’t “wait for it”. You have to just be, until the moment for action arrives.
It’s a tough discipline, and having an extensive Zen background helped, because I already knew some meditative techniques that worked.
Is this something like what you’re describing?
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