On Bored

It’s amazing what a month without the noise of television will do. We’ve found we don’t miss it at all. We can watch movies here, but that’s it, and the choice is limited.

In Gary Thomas’ book, Seeking The Face Of God, he devotes an entire chapter on the topic of cultivating the quiet. Have you ever thought about the need to cultivate quietness in your heart, life and even marriage? It’s true. As humans we live each day at break neck speed. Sometimes it’s an unavoidable necessity, but many times it’s our choice.

Consider the following in examining what motivates your busyness:

The sin many of us fall into is NOT that we shake our fists at God and defy Him to His face; that is the sin of unbelievers. Our sin is that we passively rebel against God, filling our lives with so much noise and busyness that God’s voice cannot, or will not, penetrate.

If my kids are playing outside and I so much as whisper the phrase “ice cream, they can hear me from across the field. On the other hand, if they’re two feet away from me and I scream out “dinner,” it’s amazing how poor their hearing can be.

They know better than to shake their fist at me and say, “Forget you, Dad, we’re playing.” They’ve tasted the fruit of such behavior and found it wanting. So instead they try to adopt a more stealthy approach. “Oh, were you calling us, Dad? Sorry we didn’t hear you.”

It’s not open rebellion, but it serves the same purpose–by their busyness they keep their father’s voice from calling them into a new place. We do the same thing.

Fenelon wrote, “God does not cease speaking, but the noise of the creatures without, and of our passions within, deafens us, and stops our hearing. We must silence every creature, we must silence ourselves, to hear in the deep hush of the whole soul, the ineffable voice of the spouse. We must bend the ear, because it is a gentle and delicate voice, only heard by those who no longer hear anything else.

Cultivating the quiet is a painful experience when we are addicted to noise, excitement and occupation. Opening the door to spiritual quiet can also open the door to spiritual fear and loneliness. It takes a great amount of courage to face God.

According to Pascal, we’re often afraid that if we start to slow down, the truth of our deeply felt misery will assail us. We lack the courage to confront this misery, so we force ourselves to live at breakneck speed with maximum noise so we will be too numb or too busy to notice the pain.

God often uses our boredom to speak to us…

…but if we avoid boredom at all costs, what are we missing?

In the above quote from the book, Mr. Thomas quotes from two classic writers from the 17th century, Fenelon and Pascal. They lived long before the distractions of our day were ever conceived, yet even then people were tempted to busyness and noise. How much more often is this temptation being succumbed to today?

Think about a normal day in your life. How often to you check e-mails, texts and Facebook? If you’re like me it’s probably several times throughout the day. I’m just as guilty of this busyness. In fact, not having TV has been easier because we still have WiFi, which has enabled us to stay connected to the outside world.

Imagine what our lives would be like if we chose not to connect for a day, a week or even a month? Would you be bored? Most likely, but God would use the very boredom we avoid to speak to our hearts about things we need to hear.

There is so much more to share on this topic, but we want to take it slow. For now, consider this in your own life and marriage:

  • How often are you bored in your day to day life, in your marriage?
  • Do you see it as a negative and to be avoided at all costs?

Instead of avoiding it, why not ask God what He wants you to learn in the process. We believe He’ll answer such a prayer. That is if we’re quiet enough to listen.

Are you “on bored” (pun intended) with us as we explore this topic?

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4 Responses to On Bored

  1. Brian Collis says:

    fantastic. I have been reflecting a lot lately on Elijah on the mountain, when he heard the wind and fire and earthquake, but God’s voice was not in those. The still, small voice was in the silence that followed.

    A follow up post on ways to cultivate the quiet would be wonderful! It’s help we all could use, i think.

    • Debi Walter says:

      Brian,
      We are definitely parking on this topic for as long as God gives direction to do so. Your encouragement provides confirmation. Thank you! And thanks for the reference to Elijah – a powerful reminder of how God speaks to us.
      Blessings,
      Debi

  2. Sharon O says:

    I love the quiet. In the morning I get up and in the quiet turn on the computer to read blogs that encourage me for the day, and in turn I encourage the writers. It is hard work to pour yourself out on screens to unknown people. Then I head downstairs in the quiet to make coffee or check on the dog. Quiet follows me throughout the day. It is peaceful.

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