Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part IV

4-11-13 path 2My propensity for boredom exists as a built-in barometer for many areas of my life, including my faith. When boredom starts to abide, especially within relationships or church or studying, I know that some area of my life is misaligned.

Sometimes, though, I get so wrapped up in feelings of boredom or depression or whatever and fail to realize that I am off track. That’s usually when the Holy Spirit steps up His game to get my attention. This happened recently during a significant battle with boredom (Part I) that ended up being an indication of a flat faith caused by lack of connection (Part II) and a focus on comparisons (Part III).

The Path to a Plan

When I thought of examples of boredom in scripture, David came to mind. One reason I think David was led to pursue Bathsheba was boredom. He wasn’t where he was supposed to be. He couldn’t sleep. He seemed restless and bored in the middle of the night with no late night television to distract him. (See 2 Samuel 11.)

Thinking about David’s boredom along with my own, four realizations came to mind.4-11-13 path 1

  1. Boredom can be from selfishness. Though God desires for us to enjoy life, the enjoyment of life is not to be our primary concern. The kingdom of God, not our own lives, is to be our main concern (Matthew 6:31-34). But when we focus on enjoying life, self gratification becomes the focus instead, the attainment of which is impossible.
  2. Boredom can lead to sin. Idleness, which often happens when we are bored, can lead to wrong choices, including sowing discord (creating disunity) among others (1 Timothy 5:13). In other words, boredom can be infectious if it’s caused by someone not doing what he is supposed to be doing. The result? Drama and sinful choices.
  3. Boredom leads to discontentment. Learning contentment is the key to curing boredom. How do we learn contentment? Rely on God’s strength, which he gives generously to lead us to a place where we aren’t disquieted and disturbed (Philippians 4:11).
  4. Boredom can be used by the Holy Spirit. Had David questioned why he was restless, perhaps he could have corrected the behavior that led to his restlessness. David did not lack resources, nor did he lack things to do. He simply lost his focus. I know when I lose my focus, the Holy Spirit uses boredom (restlessness) to get me back on track.

“At a time when kings go to battle,” King David stayed home. As a result, he discovered himself in a place of boredom that led to discontentment and sin. What might David’s story be like had he been executing his battle plan as was expected of the king?

4-11-13 Flat FaithA New Perspective

I used to believe avoiding boredom was all about simply having something to do, with occupying myself. I even insist that my kids occupy themselves regularly. Through this journey, I’ve realized that boredom is directly related to contentment.

Contentment involves being able to just be without having to work on a “to do” item. It’s about connecting with Christ, with my family, with friends and even with people I don’t know. Contentment is about cultivating relationship.

Contentment means I don’t have to constantly evaluate my day and only count it as successful if tangible items were accomplished. It’s about realizing that sometimes the best way to manage my time is by doing nothing except just being with Jesus.

Contentment means staying attached to the vine (John 15:5). As Kathy Howard says in “Fed Up with Flat Faith,” contentment comes “when we maintain an intimate relationship with Jesus” because “He will guide us to the works He has planned for us and empower us to do them.”

This journey through my battle with boredom is almost complete. Part V lays out a battle plan that will allow me to move forward in victory having defeated my boredom caused by lack of connection and a focus on comparisons. Thank you for sticking with me!

DISCUSSION: What other Bible stories relate to this series on Battling Boredom that we have not yet covered?

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are taken from Fed Up with Flat Faith by Kathy Howard. Also, be sure to heck out Kathy’s guest posts Flat Spots Here and There – Part I and Flat Spots Here and There – Part II.

 Subscribe to Struggle to Victory by Email or Subscribe in a reader

30 thoughts on “Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part IV

  1. I am really struck by your reference to David, Kari. There is little doubt in my mind that boredom played a huge part in his fall-not causing him to fall but in putting him in the position where something forbidden became enticing. We used to say, "an idle mind is the devil's workshop." (That was a saying from my teen years). 🙂 But think about that: I know I get in trouble with my thought life when I have allowed myself to be bored. Or when my faith has flattened/bottomed out due to disuse. You are right. David should have been out on the battlefield, not at home. And it led to his greatest fall. I'm enjoying this series of posts.

    • I just know what happens to me when I get bored, very David-like thinking sometimes. Proverbs has tons to say about the dangers of idleness, and I have seen and experienced all too many of them in my kids & others I care about (and in myself too, of course). I am so glad this series is connecting with you. It was not easy to write, but it was necessary.

  2. Thanks Kari for sharing your journey. I will have to think on your question about other Bible stories about boredom…will try to get back to you when I do. I think often about being content. Paul is a good one to remind us about that. I had never linked that with boredom.

    • Paul says so many great things about contentment. To me, when we bounce from one thing to the next (as our culture unfortunately promotes), we fail to be able to let any one thing hold our attention for very long. We also need to be entertained. As we learn to be content, as Paul teaches, we are less likely to get bored and able to stick with something longer. At least, this has been my experience. Let me know if you think of any other Bible story connections.

  3. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part II | Struggle to Victory

  4. Wow, Kari – this is a really good series. Alot of really great opportunities for self-reflection. I found these 2 installments (3 and 4) really great to read and think on. Right now, in my life – there are so many distractions to my faith. Trying to raise my two young ones in the Church is easy, but all of the constant bombardment from my family that faith is not necessary or silly – is so hard! For me – it is not the bombardment by the outside "things" that are my issue – or actually, now that I think of it – maybe it is. I am not enticed by the outside world per se- but it is very hard to build up faith and increase faith and study when so many in my world are so anti-faith and against what I believe in. Knowing that others struggle with the same basic things is in some way comforting to me and makes me just want to work harder at making it all work. Thank You!

    • Thanks, Angie, Everyone has distractions, but some are more intense and some have more volume. The only answer, regardless of how much and how intense, I have found is to get as much of God's Word in you as possible. Doing so allows GOD to do the building up. Faith comes by hearing the word, right? (Romans 10:17) Knowing that others struggle is a huge help, and it's the reason God insists on fellowship. The Bible is filled with examples of the importance of relying on other Christians. Get as much of the Word in you as possible. Problems won't go away, but your sense of His presence and your trust in Him will grow and problems will not weigh you down quite as much.

    • I will be praying for you. It is a struggle for all of us, no matter how long we have been at it. I hope you can find a church that offers you support within the body of Christ to help you shine to others. It is worth the struggle.

      • Mary: Thank you! I do have a wonderul church – Kari and I attend the same one – so you know that I have a great deal of support! I appreciate your prayer. I know that one day, my prayers will be answered – but until then, I will keep fighting the good fight! 🙂

        • Good for you! Being in this new life on the road in the semi with my husband limits my physical support from the body. It makes me appreciate people like Kari and her blogs and studies even more!

  5. Kari,
    I have been thinking about this all day. I think God's people displayed boredom alot and reacted to it wrong often. They complained when they were slaves; then God delivered them and they complained in the desert. I am sure they were bored going in circles. God answered their prayers and then that were bored with the answers. It seems we all deal with the mundane and repetition badly. We complain or we go looking for what sometimes I don't think we know. What we find is trouble because in our bored haste to look around like David we set up no defense perimeters. Hey we are just bored… we don't need no defense. Who needs defense against being bored we just need excitement. I guess when boredom starts laying around we should ask what should I be doing or should I be trying to listen. God may want us still to learn more of him or he might want us seeking how we can help someone else or how we can love someone.

    • You are right. The Israelites were constantly bored (idle might be a better word for them) because they thought they needed someone to provide for them, entertain them, etc. They also thought they deserved something more than they were getting. That's what happened with David too. Unless we deliberately plan against it, idleness and boredom will set in. We need a defense against it, and as you know, living in God's will is exciting and never boring and has the greatest defense possible.

    • Mark I was thinking about when the Israelites were waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. They God tired of waiting and decided to make a golden calf and worship it instead of waiting for Moses to come down with the Law of God.

      • FYI, I focus on my destination and not on where I am at the moment. That seems to keep me from becoming bored. Using that theory also keeps you on track and your path is much straighter. But I do understand there can be boredom in busyness. God seems to shake things up when I lose focus.

        • Thanks for the added advice. I do struggle with finding that balance between living the day & keeping an eye on the goal. God definitely shakes things up for me too, but I am not always paying attention enough to take the right path right away.

  6. Hello Kari,

    Having experience as a youth leader for several years, I can say #2 boredom can lead to sin is especially true in youth and young adults. I have seen a lot of people get into trouble because they had nothing to do.

    It's what happened to David when all the other men went to battle and he stayed home. He was bored which lead him to sin with Bathsheba. Great post and thoughts!

    • Great perspective! I see it with my two junior high boys, especially my youngest, too. My guess is that boredom is a larger problem with young people than most people realize.

  7. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part III | Struggle to Victory

  8. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part I | Struggle to Victory

  9. Great insights, Kari. I tweeted this article. I know a lot of people could benefit from it. I've found that I get bored when I'm in denial, too. I like to pretend that I don't have important things to do with my time or that I have some real difficulties.

  10. Wow, I had never really considered boredom as coming from discontent rather than inactivity. That's incredibly insightful. I'm going to have to chew on that one for a while – I love it!

    • I can only write based on my experiences, and my boredom almost always comes from discontent rather than inactivity. Maybe always. Would love to hear your additional thoughts after you chew!

  11. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part V | Struggle to Victory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *