rebelling against low expectations

What Boredom Really Is (And How to Fight It)

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It creeps in during the middle of history class.

It shows up unannounced on a hot summer day filled with no plans.

Boredom. Apathy. Laziness.

The older we get, the less often we seem to be plagued by boredom because we stuff our schedules to the brim with sports and activities and homework and friends and technology.

But we still feel it.

Where does boredom come from? Is it a sin to be bored?

The second question needs to be answered first. And the answer is, yes. Kind of.

Boredom is a symptom of a greater problem. It can either lead us to laziness and apathy or it can lead us to creativity and wonder.

The Disease

If we go way back to the book of Genesis to see God’s intended plan for creation, we see work.

Genesis 2:15 says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

In the entire creation account, God sets forth a rhythm of work and rest. He worked and created for six days and rested and enjoyed his creation on the seventh. Then, he created Adam in his own image and gave him the same rhythm of work and rest.

It wasn’t until the Fall that God gave people over to the consequences of their sin: fruitless, tireless labor (Genesis 3:17-19). Work was supposed to be a joy, not a fruitless effort. For most of us, laziness comes in when we cut corners and take the easy way out to avoid this constant, tireless labor.

But if we are to reflect the character of God, we are to reflect a God who is hard at work and joyfully creating. When we fall into apathy, boredom, or laziness, we are reflecting the opposite of God’s character.

When we are bored and apathetic we become disengaged in creation and the relationships we’ve been given, yet we worship a God who is intimately involved in relationship with his creation.

So, where does boredom come from if it’s the symptom and not the problem?

Boredom is a symptom of selfishness and selfishness is the disease.

Our gifts were given to us to be used in the Body of Christ for the glory of God. We were made to live a life that glorifies the Father in every area of our lives. We were made to be free in Christ. We were made to join God in his creation and his plan of redemption.

That’s not a boring life.

The problem is, when we start focusing on ourselves and following our selfish desires, we lose out on the full life that Jesus was talking about when he promised us full life.

If you’re feeling bored, lazy, or apathetic, take a look at your focus. We weren’t created to focus on ourselves. All of these things come when we can’t take our eyes off of ourselves to live in the sacrificial love that God calls us to.

The Cure

Our first response in noticing boredom is to feed it. When we feed our boredom, we go to cheap entertainment that never truly fills us. It’s like being hungry for dinner and eating a bunch of Skittles instead. You may feel satisfied for a little bit, but you’ll be hungry again soon. If you kept filling yourself with Skittles, your hunger will never be satisfied.

Sure, our boredom may be satisfied by video games, YouTube, Netflix, or plans with friends, but those just mask the symptoms of the true disease.

Boredom is a sign that we are missing out on the joy and wonder in living a life that glorifies God. Boredom, apathy and laziness can appear at any time, but it’s no coincidence that we tend to be most bored or apathetic when we are most disconnected with God.

If we want a cure for boredom, we need something that will feed the deepest needs of our souls and kill the selfishness within our hearts.

We were created to be in awe and wonder of an infinite God and offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. We were given grace and love through Jesus and now we are called to freely give it away to those still lost in the dark.

Those are the deepest longings of our souls.

We cannot be bored when we are on mission to love other people. If we are looking for ways to meet the needs of others, we will never be apathetic. If we search for lost people and spend everything we’ve been given for the mission of making disciples, we will never be bored. If we spend our time honing our gifts for use in the Kingdom of God, we will never be lazy.

So, what are the cures for boredom, laziness and apathy? Thankfulness, worship of God, joy in all things, love of God and his people, peace, patience, self-control, hard work in everything, trust in God, truth, using your gifts, growing meaningful relationships, rest in Christ’s work on the cross.

How do we do these things? We keep in step with the Holy Spirit  

Jesus was never bored and we shouldn’t be either. Figure out the root of your boredom and apathy and replace it with wonder, worship and work.


About the author

Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth Davis is in her eighth year of joyfully sharing the Gospel of God and her life with middle schoolers, high schoolers and college students in student ministry. Her plan is to invest in students forever because she believes they are the World-Changers and Kingdom-Advancers (and adults are boring). She can be found in a local coffee shop writing, reading or spending quality time with good friends. Elizabeth writes about faith in Jesus and finding joy in battling a chronic illness on her blog, Elizabeth R. Davis.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →

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