REFLECTIONS & ENCOURAGEMENTS: understanding and growing through the covid-19 challenge.
Bishop Peter Brain Reflection 3: Boredom does not have to be boring!
One of the books I enjoyed sharing with our children was Bored-Nothing to do! By Peter Spier. It told the story of two boys, whose enterprise was awakened by their mother telling them to find something to do. The detailed drawings revealed their imagination and inventiveness, even if it did mean the dismantling of, and requisitioning of, otherwise in current use objects.
Many are complaining, and feeling the effects of boredom, with normal activities and interactions denied them during the pandemic. Here are some things that I am seeking to employ, to keep me usefully awake, active and happy. Some may be helpful to you as well:
- I have to remember my own advice to my children to “find something to do”. If it was good for them it should be for me as well!
- Reading the Bible and praying are never boring once we get started. Satan will try to deflect and discourage us, but once we get into the Bible prayerfully He will teach us. Dr Larry Crabb’s dictum ’I’d rather be a hypocrite to my feelings than to my purposes’ proves its weight in gold as we daily quarry the treasures of Scripture (Psalm 19:7-14).
- The first part of that Psalm (19:1-6) alerts us to that other Book, the Creation all around us. Pondering and enjoying the Creation with our own eyes, can be guaranteed to drive away boredom, replacing it with wonder, awe and thankfulness.
- Active thankfulness is a sure boredom buster and habit of happiness. Not only are we commanded to be thankful as believers (1Thessalonians 5:16-18), warned of thanklessness’s seductive pull into idolatry and ungodliness of every kind (Romans 1:18-32) but are given many examples of how/when to be thankful (Ps 35:18;52:9; 107:8; 118:21; Acts 28:15; Rom 1:8, 6:17, 7:25; 1 Cor14:18, 15:57; 2 Cor 2:14, 8:16;Phil 1:3; Col1:3, 2 Tim 1:3; Philem 4;1 Thess 2:13; 1 Tim 1:12 and Rev 4:9. These passages are from D L Bock commentating on the grateful Samaritan leper of Luke 17:11-19, whose gratitude to Jesus, saw him receiving eternal life, far more than the temporal healing he requested. Thankfulness to God opens up unexpected treasures from our Father.
- Thankfulness keeps us from boredom and opens up for us a desire to serve others by driving away the noxious weeds self-pity, envy, whinging, jealousy, bitterness and greed.
- Thankfulness will keep us from seeking the pleasure our Father would give us from relationship with himself rather than the fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:25), idolatry (Col 3:5ff) and addictions like wine (Eph 5:18) and food (Phil 3:17-21). These temptations are on easy offer with more time for TV, endless movies, pornography, gambling, fantasy romantic novels, alcohol and overeating. Thankfulness to God for His promises, the well proven means of relating to Him and desire to meet with us (Rev 3:20) fill us to overflowing with His indwelling Spirit (John 7:37-39; Eph 5:18}. They can be counted upon to give us satisfaction, joy, peace and comfort in increasing measure.
- Turning off the TV and other media will express and prove our reliance upon the living God. It will also help us sleep better (lessening the pixilations on our eyes and stem the flooding of our brains pleasure centre with dopermine) enabling us to enjoy pleasures from the ordinary things of life. Fasting from a relentless overstimulation we will be much more likely to enjoy the movies we allow ourselves to watch less frequently, in that we look forward to that favourite program as we used to do as a reward for our children. Less, so often proves to be best, and more enjoyable.
Boredom may prove to be a gift from God. Emptying us so that He can fill us with His presence and fuel us for service. Blessed to be a blessing remains true (Acts 20:35, John 7:37-38, 1 Thess 3:12).
Peter Brain 6th April, 2020