Growing up, my mother absolutely would not allow my twin brother and I to ever, under any circumstances, say the following two words: “I’m bored!” If we said those awful words, she would respond by making us be “un-bored” and giving us a job! So when I had children I established the same family rule: you can never say “I’m bored.”
But let’s be honest, most of us have been bored sometime over the last month. With the coronavirus isolation, it might seem like minutes are hours, and hours are days. I’ve even gotten confused a time or two with what day it is. In isolation, the days seem to run together. One day is the same as the other. So, as this quarantine drags on, how do we combat boredom?
Theology of Boredom
First, let’s talk briefly about the theology of boredom (did you know there was such a thing?). To understand the problem of boredom is to realize that boredom is a great temptation. To be bored is not a sin, it’s a temptation. However, to give in to boredom, can lead to laziness and sinful attitudes and choices.
Boredom is a temptation that can lead to sin. Why? For a few reasons: (1) Because as Christians we are called to guard against slothfulness (Proverbs 19:15) and laziness (Proverbs 6:6-11). (2) Satan loves idle hands. To quote the famous phrase, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” Boredom can lead to all kinds of mischief (for example, see 1 Timothy 5:13). (3) As believers, we are called to work diligently (Colossians 3:23-24). (4) Boredom lulls us from fulfilling our God-given calling, which is to make the most of the time we have on earth, and to live wisely according to God’s will (see Ephesians 5:16 and James 4:14). (5) Finally, boredom lies to us that we cannot be content. The Bible is clear that Jesus is the one who satisfies our soul. He is the one who can bring contentment and fulfillment to our lives.
So, let me give all of us two recommendations to guard against boredom:
1. Find Jesus as the fulfillment for your soul. When you’re truly bored, read from His Word and pray. Write in a journal about the Lord. Discover that He is the one who will bring delight to your soul. Remember this: Jesus is a lot of things, but one thing He is not is boring. There is nothing boring about Jesus (read through the gospels and be reminded of how un-boring He really was). And there is nothing boring about a true relationship with Jesus. The world and its pursuits can actually be mind-numbingly boring, but God never is! He and He alone can make your heart, soul, and mind “un-bored.” So, the next time you’re bored, spend some time with Jesus, and allow Him to fill you.
2. Find something productive to do. We were created in the image of God the Creator, which means that we were created with creativity. Find something you like to do. Do that with all of your heart and give glory to God through your work (Colossians 3:23). The great opportunity of this time of isolation is that we can learn some new skills or some new knowledge. Learn. Do. Practice. Find a new hobby. Find a new interest. Do that thing you always said you would, but you just haven’t gotten around to it. Read that book you’ve been meaning to (or that you started but didn’t finish!). The point is: do something, and do it to the glory of God.
The bottom line is that we have to choose to be bored. So, during these crazy days, let’s agree to not say the words, “I’m bored!”