It is difficult to find time to be bored. We now can fill our lives with so much stuff. One of the biggest culprits is our electronic devices. When I was young, I remember standing in a long line for an event with nothing to do – except talk with someone or stare at the ground. Now we are all on our phones, keeping ourselves busy.
Sadly, we have lost the art of doing nothing. In fact, we resist boredom like a child resists a nap; we don’t like the feelings boredom brings.
I’m a Type “A” personality. I thrive on keeping busy. However, if a person can’t slow down, the result is always the same – burnout!
Bill Dalke from Soul Shepherding writes, “We just can’t sustain a lifestyle of constant activity and stimulation. We need to get into regular rhythms that allow space for quiet moments alone to unplug, be still, and breathe with Jesus. It’s in this place that we discover boredom’s blessing to us: rest!”
So why do we resist boredom? Here are some reasons:
1. Boredom is uncomfortable.
We don’t like how boredom makes us feel. All our repressed emotions rise to the surface when we’ve removed all other distractions. We feel empty, insignificant, lonely, anxious, depressed, jealous, angry, resentful, etc.
2. Boredom feels unproductive.
When we’re bored, we often feel like we aren’t accomplishing anything. As a result, we may begin to judge ourselves as lazy, weak, inadequate, or a failure. (Or we may fear being judged this way by others.)
3. Boredom shows us our true self.
When we’re bored we come face-to-face with our inner selves. Stripped of all our achievements and ego, we may discover how much we dislike ourselves. This can be very painful.
Here’s the good news: If we lean into the discomfort of boredom, we may discover the other side of boredom: real rest and real fruit. With regular practice, this will break the power of busyness, hurry, and loneliness. And best of all…
- We’ll be relieved to discover that the world is not on our shoulders after all!
- We will find ourselves and we will be found by God in fresh ways.
- Joy and peace will bubble up within us and flow out of us.
- We will experience true, soul-nourishing rest.
Taken from Bill Dalke on “Boredom and Rest.”
Before You Go
Dallas Willard said that we need extended times to “Do nothing. Don’t try to make anything happen.” The Bible calls this Sabbath. Even during this Easter Season, find times to be bored. To do nothing. To rest in what God has already done for us!
3 Comments Add yours
Excellent Reality….I have been there many times…
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I know why the author uses the word boredom, but I don’t really like it. How can we call time spent with God boring? Are we bored when mediating on scriptures, nature or simply the very character of God? I am glad you included the quote from Willard
Dallas Willard said that we need extended times to “Do nothing. Don’t try to make anything happen.”
He never would have called it boredom. He did call it a spiritual discipline. Part of what I am still learning to have those margins which I had mentioned previously.
Good point. Boredom is an extreme term. I like the idea that we don’t have to be “doing” all the time.