Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I like the story ‘Chuck’ Colson told of Larry Walters. Larry was a 33-year-old truck driver who lived in a district in Los Angeles near the main airport.
Every Saturday afternoon he would sit in a chair out in his backyard, sunning himself, drinking beer. He was bored and didn’t know what to do with himself. So he came up with a strange idea. He got some balloons, attached them to his chair, to see how high the chair would go up in the air.
Then he went and bought 45 hot-air weather balloons and inflated them with helium. His neighbours came over and helped him. He got a gun, hopped in the chair to see what would happen. He thought he might go up 100 feet above the ground. The gun was to shoot the balloons if he got too high.
He told his neighbours to ‘let go’ and up he went. He didn’t rise 100 feet—he suddenly rose 11,000 feet with a big wind gust. He was spotted by a DC-10 pilot who said he had just seen someone in a chair had just come by his window. For four hours Los Angeles International Airport diverted flights coming in because Larry Walters was hanging onto his lawn chair at 11,000 feet.
Helicopters were sent up to guide him back to the ground. The media gathered round him, “Are you going to do this again?’ “No,” he said. “Why did you do it in the first place?” and Larry said, “You can’t just sit there”. You see, he was completely bored. Life had no meaning—but ‘Lawn-chair’ Larry got more than he bargained for that day 2 July 1982.
Having Life to the Full
How often have you heard someone say, Life is boring; I’m bored with life. I’ve heard some teenagers especially say this. But what do they mean?: Are you bored with your job, or yourself? Do you find yourself a boring person? I’m sure we’ve all got bored at some stage.
Boredom is a message sent by your subconscious mind telling you what you’re now doing is not important. So we become agitated and want to change direction. But this restlessness comes from within. You need to make some changes.
A man aged 57 wrote these words:
I’m bored these past few years. I don’t have any problems and I’m in good health. It’s just that life seems so boring for some reason. The wife and I have a normal social life whatever ‘normal’ might be. People pop round to visit us from time to time and we them. I also have a couple of interests, gardening, and walking in the countryside when the weather suits. I should be counting my blessings, and I do, but I can’t help feeling there’s a monotony to my life that can’t be fixed. Some days I go to bed thinking is this all there is? On those days I’m obviously lacking some gratitude.
Study has shown that boredom has been associated with increased drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, depression and anxiety, and an increased risk of making mistakes. Mistakes at work might not be a matter of life and death for most of us, but if you are an air-traffic controller, or pilot, they most certainly can be.
So what should we do? Jesus summed up his mission to earth with these famous words: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 KJV). One man said that he used to hate getting up in the morning because he didn’t like his own life. Sin had gripped him so deeply that he didn’t care if he lived or died.
Then he met Jesus: “Now I love my life. I love my family and I love my work. I’m overwhelmed everyday. I know that Christians are supposed to look forward to heaven, but I don’t want to die yet because I’m having so much fun.” Christianity has the answer to make life worthwhile. Yet many people, including many Christians, are utterly bored with life.
One survey reports that 54% of all Americans go to work mainly to escape the boredom of life at home. And 70% of American teenagers say they are bored with school. The survey also reported that 25% of teenagers said they got drunk on the weekend because they were so bored.
(To be continued in Overcoming Boredom – Part 2)