Why We Need Boredom

Photo taken from a fireside evening I had at Delanco Camp.

It is not a stretch to say that we are bad at being bored.

We hate it.

We run from it.

We assume something must be done when we have it.

We blame others for being it.

We fail to recognize the gift and gifts of boredom.

Yep. I said it. We fail to recognize the gift and the gifts of boredom.

Boredom, whether we realize it or not, serves a purpose. In fact, it serves a number of purposes.

Neurologically, if we are constantly taking in new information or stimulation, then our brains never get a chance to “catch up” on its processing of the days events. Stress tends to build up and that can lead us into spiraling if that goes on for days, or weeks, or even years.

Let’s do some math.

Let’s say you used to look at your phone/tablet/computer/favorite distraction 20 times a day for just 5 minutes whenever you waited for the train, or a friend to get to the restaurant, waiting for dinner to cook, before you got out of bed, before you fell asleep or in line at the grocery store…

Thats 5 minutes x 25 = 125 minutes or 2.08 hours a day.

2.08 hours a day x 7 days = 14.58 hours a week.

14.58 hours a week x 4 weeks = 58.3 hours a month or 2.43 days.

2.43 days a month x 12 months = 29.16 days a year (or pretty much a month).

Many of us are SO BAD at boredom we would rather LOSE A MONTH OF OUR YEAR to distracting ourselves. That is insane, isn’t it? Granted, some of us might be better or worse at this, but of course depriving ourselves of a MONTH OF DOWN TIME would come at the cost of our own mental or emotional health.

Our brains have effectively lost a month of extra processing time a year, no wonder we are so anxious, stressed out. We don’t value boredom or even understand it as a necessary part of our lives.

Now, boredom can help us in two ways:

  1. It can help us know when we have had enough rest and it is time to get back to activity.
  2. It can show us that we have no awe or wonder or appreciation for the good things that are right in front of us.

Of course many of us are having a hard time at home during all of this. However, there is a chance that God may be using this time to help all of us catch up on our necessary vitamin of rest and boredom or is trying to highlight the good things we have right in front of us.

Above is a photo from a bonfire. Why is it that we find them so calming? Why is it that many of us relish the chance to just sit in silence? Perhaps it is because we, for a long time, have not experienced or understood or had enough of it.

I do not believe that God makes all things happen, to me that sounds a bit like Greek Fatalism. However, I do believe that God USES all things and wishes to use all things for our benefit. With that being said, perhaps God is using this time to help us slow down, for neurological, mental, emotional and spiritual reasons.

So next time you are experiencing boredom. Let it happen. Let your heart, mind and soul do some catching up on the events on the day, or week, or month… and maybe your “boredom” will transform into “being present with the Presence of God.”

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