The human brain craves stimulation. When we don’t receive proper stimulation, boredom creeps in. When boredom is left unchecked, disgust forms. Things get worse from there.
Boredom, in small doses, is actually healthy. Boredom protects you. When you engage in monotonous tasks, listen to mono-toned speakers, or join an organization that accepts mediocrity, boredom acts as a red flag. This red flag compels you to go deeper, start something new or get more creative.
But if you’re not careful, boredom can easily creep into your faith. Worship gets unfulfilling. You wake up every day content with just going through the motions. You start feeling cynical.
Why is it that God offers people a life to the fullest, yet many Christians (starting with me) seem to live on life support?
Don’t just accept complacency. If the red flags are up and you are feeling bored with God, here are a few things you can do to refresh your faith.
Disrupt Your Spiritual Rhythms
Many Christians continue to read a Bible every day that does nothing to their heart. They pray, and their words mean nothing. Somehow, many Christians have come to believe continuing a lifeless spiritual discipline is more important than finding new ways to experience a life-giving God.
Think about it: Do you feel guilty on those days when you don’t open the Bible? I often do.
Several weeks ago, I had an “aha” moment. I was reading like a good Christian boy, and I came across the story of Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33). I finished reading the chapter, closed my Bible, and started praying. Then I had a realization: I’d become so familiar with the passage that it didn’t even amaze me that Jesus walked on water!
For the next week, I didn’t read the Bible. It was the longest span away from Scripture since my baptism. You see, the Bible tells stories of a God who speaks the world into existence, floods an entire earth, makes the sun stand still and walks on water. These stories are designed to paint a picture of God’s character. And the picture should cause you to bow down in worship and jump with joy at the same time.
One of the greatest threats to faith is feeling too familiar with an all-powerful God. When you read stories like a real man taking steps on open water, it should cause you to stop and think. If it doesn’t, you may need to find new and fresh ways to encounter God, rather than being enslaved to your regular spiritual practices.
Spend Time in God’s Creation
In his book The Nature Principle, Richard Louv says for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, rather than rural environments. The result is “nature-deficit disorder,” which Louv defines as “a diminished ability to find meaning in the life that surrounds us, whatever form it takes.”
When I read this, I think about Paul’s words in Romans: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20).
The more you disconnect from God’s creation, the more you disconnect from God. And, let’s be real, most of us would rather play video games or watch Netflix for an entire day than spend time outside. We are pretty disconnected from nature.
Every inch of God’s creation reveals something about his character. There is a certain peace and “completeness” that comes with being outside.
Turn off the Xbox. Put down the phone. Go for a walk. Sit outside. Go camping. God’s invisible qualities are waiting there for you.
Invest Time in Meaningful Relationships
I bet every dollar I ever make that the most bored, cynical, pessimistic people are the ones with the fewest meaningful relationships. You were created for social interaction. God, after all, lives in community with the Trinity. He has for all of eternity.
I see this in my life. I am an introvert, and there are seasons when I disengage from people as a way to deal with stress or disappointment. Ironically, the more I disengage from meaningful conversations and neglect important relationships, the more stress I feel.
Don’t come into a church building one hour a week, then wonder why your relationship with God feels fickle.
You must invest in relationships with other people to experience a full understanding of God.
Spend More Time Being Alone With God Than Doing Things for Him
As I said, boredom isn’t a negative emotion. In fact, a recent article found that boredom is essential for human development and unlocking creative potential.
To avoid a life plagued by boredom, you must have intentional periods of boredom. Call it the paradox of boredom.
Here’s what it means for Christians. If you want to avoid a discontent, overwhelmed existence, the rhythm of your life must include periods of resting. You must be still and know that God is God.
Too many Christians are sucked into the speed of the world. The world responds to boredom by going faster and doing more. After all, what other framework does the world have?
But Christians should be different. Maybe you need to learn the practice of holy boredom. When was the last time you observed the Sabbath? How long has it been since you spent an extended amount of time with God?
The mouthpiece of God is silence. So, if you’re feeling discontent, maybe you need to disconnect from the noise of the world.
Look for the Miracles God Performs in Everyday Life
Almost daily, I do something that leaves my two boys saying, “Dad, how did you that?” What usually amazes them is something trivial like opening a bag of chips or spelling my name. Anything I do outside of their control is miraculous to my boys. In their eyes, performing miracles is my favorite pastime.
While I’m not a miracle worker, God is. And at least part of the reason we get bored with our faith is because we don’t see the miracles God performs all around us every day.
Every time new life comes from a mother’s womb, a miracle is performed. Every day, as the sun peeks its rays over the horizon, a miracle is performed.
When God becomes logical, faith becomes boring. Fight the temptation. Open your eyes to the miracles He performs all around you, every day. Live expectantly. Look for evidence of God everywhere.
It’s time to stop accepting mediocre Christianity. It’s time to go deeper. It’s time to live the abundant life by leaning into our amazing God.