I used to think that those who are bored are spoiled. Way too much free time and unused energy. Africans who wash clothes by hand and Latin Americans who sell trinkets on the streets cannot be bored because fighting to survive is a daily, hourly thing and when you have that much to do and no extra energy at the end of the day, you’re too exhausted to be bored. Boredom is territory for the wealthy or the unemployed.
Maybe I’m mistaken, though. Maybe boredom creeps into all of our lives.
I work. But only part time. I’m not independently wealthy. But in light of poverty around the globe, I am rich. Survival doesn’t demand all of my energy. If you count buying groceries and cooking them and making my bed and then throw in the occasional swim at the rec centre, though, daily life takes me to the brink of collapsing all the time. I can be utterly exhausted and very, very relaxed (on the days when I swim), and yet…
I. Feel. Bored.
I think living closer to my sisters and working in person instead of remotely would make life funner. I review my life and find spots that hold promise. If only_____, then I would not be bored. Life would unfold with a soundtrack that sounds epic. Or bouncy.
Right now there is no soundtrack.
Maybe you’ll think I’m silly, but I bought a new scent of dish soap yesterday. Mom always bought original Palmolive. It’s green and smells, to me, like dish soap. Deviating feels very risque. Yesterday I bought passion fruit and mandarin scented Palmolive. Each time I wash dishes, the smell is a little shock. A welcome change.
I’m trying new shampoo, too. Wearing different swimsuits to the pool. Choosing bright pink socks instead of beige ones.
Devotions have been dry. My husband suggested I vary what I do and where I do it. Good advice. I used to take my walkman, armed with worship music, on rainy, late night walks and I’d meet with God in the downpour. Or I’d hike down a ravine until I found a sheltered spot and then I’d sit and talk out loud to God. Each day was different. Lately, I pick up a dull book and fight to focus, sitting, groggily, on my bed.
Monday I drove to the beach. Climbed the lifeguard chair. Spent two hours there, reading, as seniors swam in the early morning stillness and a fisherman stood on his paddle board, whooping whenever he caught a fish. It was good. The change of scenery helped foster in me an openness to God’s voice.
Can I mention one more thing?
The local library is full of gripping, stirring, shocking stories, but it takes a lot of work to find them. I keep settling for boring books. Crass books. Cliché books. Settling for a half-hearted read is a bad idea; I need to persist in my search until a book grabs me. Then, instead of casting a half-bored, brooding eye over a pile of mediocre novels, I’ll be voraciously peeking between pages every second I can.
And now, after that rant (thanks for bearing with me) let me share with you two lessons from my geographically varied devotional sessions this week.
Every choice we make takes us closer to God or leads us a little further from Him.
Where are your choices taking you?
We cannot be passive.
Christians are not called to a passive life. We may be stuck. Bored. Frustrated. Lonely. Sad. Angry. God may seem distant and uninvolved. Still, even in those seasons where it seems like He has ignored our plans and our hopes, we have a job to do. It’s crying out to Him. We bring our distressed feelings and our thwarted lives before Him and we cry in His presence. That’s our job.
I can do that. Can you?
I know you struggle. I do too.
But I don’t want boredom and angst to win the day.
I’m going to do what I can, and I’m going to try to fix the posture of my heart.