The Boredom of Ecstasy & The Ecstasy of Boredom
"...Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." - Philippians 4:8b, NLT
"A man will lie for a hundred years In a bed of reliable gears Consuming every minute of the day Still flickers of the past peer through grey." - Wilderun, "Far From Where Dreams Unfurl"
THE BOREDOM OF ECSTASY Do you find it hard to actually think these days? I do.
Do you remember the last time you were truly bored? I don't.
In any spare moment – in the bathroom, a free evening, a lull in conversation, a “boring” part of a Bible teaching – we have an immediate feast of content to consume. So we do.
To an extent, that’s good! God designed us to have new experiences and enjoy them.
But, what are you "eating"?
The author of the Book of Hebrews laments:
“Concerning (Jesus) we have much to say, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become poor listeners. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the actual words of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.” (Hebrews 5:11-13)
Filet mignon. Warm chocolate chip cookies. Blackened salmon. Bread fresh from the oven. Any adult can tell you those are far more satisfying than breast milk.
Infants drink milk. It’s uncomfortable for them to learn to eat solid food, but it’s necessary! There’s something wrong if an adult can only drink breast milk.
It’s easy for us to “eat” mostly “junk food” like TV shows, video games, porn, TikTok or YouTube. Like infants, it’s hard to train our minds to digest “solid thoughts,” like thinking critically about books and scripture.
God wants to free our minds from the “boredom of ecstasy” – the mind-numbing brain fog of constant entertainment – and show us the freedom and excitement that comes from digesting “solid food.” Deep down, you crave something more. God wants to give you more.
THE ECSTASY OF BOREDOM
“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)
God will strengthen you to set your mind on the Spirit (Romans 6:8) and “think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8b)
Where do I start?
The Williams sisters didn’t start by winning Wimbledon. Elon Musk didn’t start by shooting cars into space.
Start small by forcing yourself to be bored. Take 15 minutes – 30 if you’re feeling feisty. Go on a walk and leave your phone behind. Don’t worry about what to think about; just let your mind wander (even if all you can think is “I don’t know what to think about!”) Then, go back to your routine. (The warmth of spring break in Florida is perfect for this, but Ohio works, too.)
Do it again the next day. And the day after that. You may notice that God builds a “tolerance” in your mind: thoughts become quieter, solutions to problems pop in your mind, you remember things better.
You might start to look forward to that time; you’re discovering the ecstasy of boredom!
EVENTUALLY, YOU CAN START TO BUILD WITH THE LORD.
It looks different for everyone as God teaches us to digest “solid food.” I’ve found a desire to change my habits to read and think more. I enjoy pondering God’s goodness in practical, encouraging ways. (I used to think people who said stuff like that were lying. “Who would enjoy that? What does that even mean?” But I’m starting to get it.) I’ve found joy in music that reminds me of the Lord.
From there, who knows? The Lord works in mysterious and delightful ways. What does your heart yearn for?
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)
Will you let God free your mind so that you might run with Him down His glorious paths?