The other day I sat outside and read a book. I stared out at my garden and let my mind wander. I sat so still that a robin landed about twenty-four inches from my feet and a bunny scampered right past me.
In short, I let myself be bored.
Our culture shuns boredom. Watch a group of people waiting in a doctor’s office or even in the grocery check out line and you will see most of them checking out their phones–catching up on email or playing Candy Crush. It seems we need constant stimulation.
But what if this constant stimulation is one of the causes of the constant, incessant, unrelenting sense of being overwhelmed?
What if our brains need some downtime? What if we need quiet to balance out the noise? What if we need to embrace boredom–at least sometimes?
The afternoon I took the time to sit in my yard came in the middle of a hectic season. In the past two months, I have been working on an online class, finishing a new book, and completing projects for an organization I work with. In the next few weeks, I am attending a writers retreat, speaking at a conference, and attending an out-of-town board meeting. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. So I purposely took some time to be a little bored.
Research shows that embracing times of boredom will help you focus better when it’s time to work. Cal Newport writes in his book, Deep Work,
Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction.
In other words, embrace times of boredom if you want times of sharp focus.
God tells us something similar in Isaiah:
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15a)
And then He adds:
But you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15b)
God sees me rushing around tries to tell me that rest is my salvation. Quietness is my strength.
When I’m overwhelmed, I’m weak. I’m trying to do it all on my own, instead of trusting God to accomplish His will in my life.
To live an “underwhelmed” life, I have to embrace times of rest and quiet and…boredom.God tells me that rest is my salvation. Quietness is my strength. Click To Tweet
Because it is in those times that I am trusting God to work everything out.
Next step: Take five minutes today to embrace boredom and quiet. Look out a window and appreciate God’s creation. Or quietly meditate on a Scripture, Or sit with your eyes closed, contemplating God’s love for you.