I love the way Proverbs 14:14 reads in the Living Bible; “The backslider gets bored with himself; the godly man’s life is exciting.” This passage of Scripture presents two extremes: boredom versus living life to the fullest. In John 10:10, the apostle records Jesus making a similar statement when he said “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (NLT).
A ten-year-old boy was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Influenced by the threat of nuclear war and the reality of terrorist attacks around the world, the boy thought for a moment and then replied with just one word: “Alive.” Not only is this a great answer, but it is a mature observation for a 10-year old. However, I do not think that Jesus wanted an individual to be just content to be alive. He says “…My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
In stark contrast, boredom is “a combination of weariness, listlessness, apathy and unconcern that causes a person to feel like doing nothing.” One writer said, “Boredom is the by-product of redundancy.” Take a moment and think about your own life and how redundancy plays into the picture. You wake up, eat three meals a day, work 8 to 5, have a little family time, go to church at some point, and try to be in bed by 10 or maybe 11 each night. What a boring existence!
What about boredom in ministry you might ask; having to do the same things all the time, week-in and week-out, just going through the motions. I believe our Lord understood the cycle of boredom and the need to at times break the dreaded cycle. Following a busy season of ministry, Mark quotes Jesus sharing the following with his disciples, “… come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31-32). According to the text, Jesus and his disciples had been going and going so much that they did not even have time to stop and eat. So Jesus took the initiative and took His disciples to a deserted place, in a boat by themselves. Now, that sounds refreshing!
Over my many years of involvement in ministry, I have had the honor of holding a variety of leadership roles. One thing that I have discovered is learning to mix it up. Doing the same old things all the time will produce the same old results. It is my responsibility to stay refreshed, encouraged and passionate about my life, my family, and my ministry…and may I add, in that order.
This has been a fun article to write. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy to fall into a mundane cycle and settle for an ordinary life. Remember, being busy does not always result in productivity. In fact, most boring people will tell you they are busy. Break that cycle right now! Let me suggest 5 ways to break the cycle of boredom so that you can experience refreshment.
People who struggle with boredom are usually overloaded. The problem with being overloaded is never being able to complete tasks. Ecclesiastes 9:10 provides great advice for the overloaded; “Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom” (NLT). So let go of some of your responsibilities and complete your remaining tasks well.
Change it up
Change is very difficult for most people, particularly because it can cause hurt and is often hard to accept. Someone once said, “The easiest way to deal with change is when you are the one doing the changing.” Sometime we need to reassess and avoid the rut of doing the same old all the time.
Have Some Fun
Proverbs 17:22 in the New Living Translation reads, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” I love the quote by Charlie Chaplin that says, “A day without laughter is a wasted day.” Go ahead and have some fun. You deserve it… and you need it. It’s okay to laugh. Try it, and you will see the difference it makes.
Find a Hobby
Are you kidding? When do I have time for a hobby? The fact that you don’t have one is a pretty good sign that you need one. A hobby is about investing in yourself. In the long run, this will help you to be more productive in your work and personal growth. Try it… You may like it.
Recognize your Limitations
The hardest word for most people to use is “No.” It will spare you from being over obligated and eventual frustration because the “To-Do List” often far outweighs the list of completed tasks. It is not a sin to say no. In fact, it’s smart and will definitely save you from boredom and from being unproductive. Honestly, it’s ok to say no!
I have just shared five things that have worked for me. Try them and see which ones work for you. Stay refreshed!
Bill Terry is the National Director for Men’s Ministries and the Assistant Director for Discipleship Ministries. Bill resides in Oklahoma City with his lovely wife Rita, where they will celebrate 44 years of marriage in 2015. He is the proud head of an extended family that includes two sons Gregory and Rodney, daughters-in-law Holly and Brec, granddaughters Grace, Annie, Emily and Elena and grandson Adam Gregory.