Overcoming Boredom – Part 1 - Hope 103.2

Overcoming Boredom – Part 1

When something unexpected in life turns up, grab it and do it. That’s good advice. The deeper meaning of this phrase challenges us to take hold of the ordinary responsibilities of life and make sure they get done.It’s easy for any of us to live in the never-never land of what we plan to do […]

By Chris WittsSunday 5 Aug 2018Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 4 minutes

When something unexpected in life turns up, grab it and do it. That’s good advice. The deeper meaning of this phrase challenges us to take hold of the ordinary responsibilities of life and make sure they get done.

It’s easy for any of us to live in the never-never land of what we plan to do tomorrow. So we dream about:

  • starting a diet
  • getting a new job
  • buying a new computer
  • meeting the person of our dreams
  • somehow finishing that term paper
  • painting the living room
  • learning French
  • calling on a new client
  • applying for a grant
  • going to do a course
  • any of a thousand other worthwhile ideas.

Meanwhile, there is work to be done, much of it tedious, that somehow gets left undone while we are dreaming about what we are going to do ‘someday’. Unfortunately, someday never comes for many people.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a great preacher many years ago was fond of saying, “One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories”. Better to do what you need to do, than to waste four hours dreaming about what you would like to do. When Solomon says, “Whatever your hand finds to do,” he doesn’t mean, If your hand happens to find something to do, do it, and if not, then take the day off and watch TV. No! Your hand will always find something to do. There is always work to be done. Someone has to clear the table, take out the garbage, walk the dog, pay the bills, clean the car, and vacuum the house.

And so it goes. That’s what life is—a whole bunch of duties large and small that ‘someone’ has to do. It won’t do to complain and say, I don’t feel like doing it. Your feelings don’t matter. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it! This is the Word of God. We all have work to do, we all have chores, jobs, responsibilities, assignments in life. No one gets a free ride. You can’t stay in bed forever.

Focus on Service to Others

There is a further implication here. One of the best cures for boredom is to get involved helping others. One doctor said that whenever a patient comes to him complaining of vague symptoms with no medical cause, he tells them to crawl out of yourself. It means to crawl out of the cave of self-pity and get involved in the world of hurting people.

One time on TV was a special on the life of Prince Charles. The documentary noted that Charles was devastated by the death of his great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, who was murdered by the Irish Republican Army in 1979. Lord Mountbatten was the only man who had truly been a father figure to Charles. After the death of his mentor, Charles consoled himself by recalling the advice his great-uncle had given him. “Banish your sorrow through service to others,” he told young Charles.

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That is very wise counsel. One of America’s most distinguished psychiatrists, Karl Menninger, was once asked, What should you do if you feel a nervous breakdown coming on? Everyone expected him to say, See a psychiatrist, but he replied, “Lock the door of your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.” You’ve probably heard the 200-year-old quote that says, “I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

It is very difficult to be bored when you are giving yourself to help those around you. Boredom comes when we focus on our own needs. Get outside of yourself and your problems will seem smaller and your boredom will soon disappear.

Ways to Overcome Boredom

We overcome boredom by:

a. Doing our work with passion.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Do it with all your might”. Not only are we to do whatever lies close at hand, we are to tackle our work with gusto. The Puritans talked often about the importance of earnestness. That’s an old word, one we don’t hear much nowadays, but it perfectly describes how Christians should approach life. Life is too short, too fragile, and too precious to take lightly. Whatever we do, we should do it heartily, with enthusiasm, with passion, with zeal, with 100% commitment.

But most of us don’t approach our work that way. If you want to see how many people view their work, watch an episode of The Simpsons. To Homer Simpson, work is a joke, a place where nothing really matters, and where breaking the rules is the order of the day. And it is very telling that whenever Marge wants to have a serious talk with Homer about shaping up, he responds by saying, Boring!

How different that is from the biblical view of work, which is that all work is noble if it is done for the glory of God.

(Read Overcoming Boredom – Part 2)