Years ago I remember visiting a large church and experiencing an unusual sensation. The music was inspiring, the message was relevant but there was strange cloud that seemed to hang in the air. I had to fight to keep focus on what the preacher was saying. It was near the end of the service I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong.
Not long after that I went to hear a concert by a super star who was a legend in country music. The concert featured lasers that streaked across the audience and special affects like I had never seen before. Yet, I could not shake the same kind of feeling that I had experienced in church a few weeks before. Something was wrong. Toward the end of the show it hit me.
This Mega Super Star was bored.
He was going through the motions but somewhere along the way his passion for singing and performing had died. The joy of performing was now just a list of songs and another gig.
It dawned on me that perhaps the same thing had happened with the preacher. What once had been a burning desire to bring good news to the world had become a tedious job. It can happen
It happened to me. I confess there was a time in my career that if felt the onslaught of this same terrible malady….
Boredom with life.
Here is the truth. None of the following can keep the passion for living and working alive.
It is reported that Freddie Prince, a young comedian at the peak of his career, made this statement shortly before he took his own life. “I can’t hear them laughing anymore.”
The rush of applause, laughter, fame, and financial reward quickly fades and cannot fan the flames of passion that sustain us.
I can almost hear the response of homemakers and multitudes of people who every day drive to what they would call “mundane” jobs, “Man, I would give anything for a little applause, fame, a big pay check or a huge congregation.”
Why then do so many who have all those things find themselves living in boredom and despair? Why do those things cease to fan the flames of passion and keep them excited about what they do.
Perhaps because living fully alive is not about what we do. No job, no level of success can keep us on fire. It is about something bigger.
- Who we are
- Those we love
- The One that loves us
In my book Fully Alive I confess that I lost track of that truth at one time in my career and it almost cost me everything. It can happen to country music super stars, ministers, moms, executives, idiot comedians… anyone! I became bored with what I was doing because I forgot who I was doing it for.
Some of the most joyful, generous, people I have met are believers in Christ who live in third world countries. They are cannot be fooled into leaning on material things, power, or fame, because they have none of those things. Their faces radiate with joy because their hope is in……. Who they are,
those they love, and the One that loves them.
See what Compassion International is doing to bring joy to some of the children I have visited around the world.
I find when I get bored, I’m usually secluding myself from others. It shows in my writing and how I treat others, which is that gloomy cloud you talked about! It’s almost like a depression, one you have to fight on a constant basis- and the best way to do that is to GO OUT.
GO OUT with friends and intermingle with others. GO OUT somewhere new, and people watch. GO OUT and try something new. GO OUT and get active! Nothing beats ‘the boreds’ like getting those endorphins pumping! GO OUT of the box in the way you do things. GO OUT and do something for someone else, instead of yourself- and that cloud will disappear.
I’m not saying this is a cure for real depression, but it IS a cure for boredom- at least for me.
As an at-home mom (especially in the summer) I’m constantly barraged with ‘boreds’ because I have two teenagers! TV doesn’t work (okay, it does, but I’d like them to get back to school and not be sun-starved zombies, thank you very much!), so I wind up turning off everything just to make them leave the house. They always find something to do- in a good way.
And if I’m home too much, I have to make myself go outside- even if it’s just to sweep the sidewalk. It’s enough to get the blood pumping, and the mind running.
Lord knows I need to keep my brains running smoothly when I have two teens in the house!
Another point well made, Ken! And I appreciate your honesty (did I mention I love your book Fully Alive!).
I’m in the waning years of the mundane life of a stay-at-home mom and would give much to have more years, because I now realize what I will be losing–that precious time to influence and enjoy my children.
And now as I aspire to reach beyond my walls with the encouragement of Christ, I’m finding that too will become mundane and boring if my eyes don’t remain focused on the catalyst behind it: the Lord and others. If it’s all for me, I’m already doomed.
When I get discouraged or bored, I recognize that I just haven’t spent enough time alone with God. Bible Study, prayer (sometimes with fasting), listening to wonderful Christian music while I perform the mundane tasks, listening to sermons, and finally writing becomes my source of strength. At times it seems that God is answering my own questions, restoring my broken heart, strengthening me, and filling me to overflowing joy as I write the devotionals for my family, friends, and to post on my website. I am often amazed by His Grace and Mercy in this simple act of giving away myself in writing.