Gary Ledbetter: Try a Little Boredom

Aren’t we restless people? It seems our restlessness has expanded with our ability to hold endless long-distance conversations — or to be distracted within a few feet from one another.

That’s what I think when I see people sitting at a nice restaurant punching their phones under romantic candlelight.

Some make a fuss about this latest technology and how it changes our brains, but I don’t think that is a new thing. We long for something more.

On the surface this “connectedness” seems like the opposite of contentment. The apostle Paul’s famous statement in Philippians 4 of contentment “in whatever circumstances I find myself” sets a high standard for satisfaction. Does that mean that Paul would have been equally happy with or without an iPhone X?

While I don’t rage against our current level of technology, I do think we’ve crossed a line of immediacy and unlimited access that’s revolutionary. What we’ve lost is down time or boredom, if you prefer.

Boredom was the bane of childhood by the middle of July each year. Parents were oppressed by whiny kids who didn’t like any of the choices available. There was “nothing to do.” The choices have exploded in number and scope but I still hear of children with nothing to do. At this stage of life I’m never bored; the mid-summer experience of childhood looks remarkably like peace from this view.

Let me recommend boredom to you. This is the time when you can hear the still, small voice in your head. It’s the time when you are convicted, encouraged and reminded by the Holy Spirit of those things you’ve learned during busier times. Quiet periods can be the times when you plan or think creatively about things you’ll need to do another time. With practice it can be a time when trivial things like viral videos no longer break in to your awareness.

My boring time is often during a road trip, driving or even waiting for a plane. My coworkers experience this by receiving several annoying calls from me as I have ideas or just-remembered commitments to address. It’s productive and reflective. The urge to reach out to someone distant can be curbed until you actually have something to say. The need to be affirmed or amused by others can be set aside for increasing periods of time, with practice.

Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press