Boredom to Brilliance

Today I heard on a Ted Talk that boredom leads to brilliance. According to this talk, letting thoughts wonder without interruption is a pathway for neural growth and stimulation. What a novel concept.

photography of a woman sitting on the chair listening to music
Photo by Min An on

I am so engaged in my phone, email, Facebook, and Netflix, I can—and often do—escape boredom. I often feel stagnant and unable to process information into creative outlets. Is it because I haven’t let boredom and quiet filter in? God’s voice is soft and not pushy. Do I allow enough time to be alone with my thoughts to hear his soft voice?

I go through seasons where I let him in and other times when I block him. I do not block him intentionally, but rather, as habit to avoid boredom. I quickly succumb to fear of the unknown and dislike of the uncomfortable next step. Fear and uncertainty – once again, prop its ugly head into my life. This path leads to destruction: not a fast explosion, but rather a slow deterioration. So slow, I don’t notice.

As a child growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, we didn’t have the technology of today. I had hours of time to figure out my thoughts. I can remember as a child creating stories and trying to play them out. I loved playing house and building lives of people that did not exist. Today I tune out boredom and search for the temporary high, or time-suck, that will numb me. It irritates me, but there is a comfort in the numbness that I’m drawn to.

To break free, I have to step back and acknowledge that this ‘numb’ isn’t God’s plan for my life. I have breath in my lungs, and a calling that God patiently is waiting for me to honor. God wants me to live in abundance; not in neutral.

Looking to the bible I am led to the following passage:

Ecclesiastes 2:25-26 (ESV)
“For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting…This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”

Although boredom can be thought of as slothful, in reality, slothful is ignoring the work at hand. Time-suck of busyness without purpose is slothful – right? It is a striving after the wind.

This morning, I run from idea to idea, combing my mind for the next step. I fear the writing and the work, because there is uncertainty. As such, the pull of distraction is so strong. But what if I let boredom and uncertainty swell inside? What if I put myself in the uncomfortable and press forward despite the uncertain? Discomfort is a step. Can I see it as a process of uncovering the gift?

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This is a favorite passage of mine. It says so much to my spirit. It is like taking a deep breath and realizing, there is more to this life than busyness and all the demands I put on myself. God doesn’t require perfection. He desires my attention. Our creator formed us so that our neural pathways grow when we are quiet, and still enough, to let him in.

God blows my mind again and again! Boredom, the thing I desperately try to avoid, is a gift God uses to build my unique role in His kingdom.  Taking time to feel his presence is a necessary component to growing and fulfilling my purpose. This life and time here ends. Every moment counts. I need to lean into the boredom and see it as a natural step to abundance.

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