Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Details of Discontent ~ Part Two

Part two. I’m pumped. I followed through and counted! Next on my list is boredom. That’s one I never would have thought of. I’m all over the materialism thing. But boredom? It certainly would not apply to me. I am not bored. There are so many demands on my time there are not enough hours in my day. I have a full plate and a full life.

While I was praying and thinking about this I realized I do struggle with boredom. I just wrote about it the other day here. In the midst of my busyness and mundane daily activities I’m bored. That’s why I like the internet and talk radio. It makes me feel like I get some interaction and adult conversation beyond what cup someone would like to drink out of and folding loads of laundry. But I can even get bored of that. I have this unbelievable need for something more than what I have in life. It’s not material or money related.

My friend who wrote “boredom” on my Facebook page is in a different boat. She has lots of time to herself. Her kids are older and her husband is gone working. She tries to fill her day with stuff but as different as our situations are, the result is the same. We are both looking for a way to entertain and occupy ourselves. Can I also mention this is also the person who told me her dream house would have a huge master bedroom, walk-in closet (and trust me she needs it), a luxurious master bath and NO KITCHEN! So let’s just say she doesn’t spend her days baking!

Maybe you are working a dead end job. Maybe you have the career you’ve always dreamed of and it’s not enough. Maybe your sense of purpose has vanished as you had kids or as they left home. Maybe you don’t have kids or don’t have enough kids. The result is the same. What do we do with our days?

Whatever stage we are at in life we’ll be faced with it. It makes me feel restless and useless. Looking for entertainment or something to do can get me into trouble. It seems that I never end up the places I should. I think the thing I am looking for is purpose.

Our purpose is to bring glory to God. We do that by making Him known.

We are blessed to be a blessing. We do that by sharing with others.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering.

The bible warns about idleness. That’s the closest thing to boredom I could find. In the back of my bible, idleness is defined as: unemployed, lacking worth, vain, inactivity and laziness. I think that definition hit home for me.

The bible doesn’t have nice things to say about idleness. Here we go.

2 Thessalonians 3:11-13

We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.

1 Timothy 5:13

Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do them become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.

Idleness does not produce a life that imitates God’s.

What is the practical application? I think it depends on where you are at. If you are at the stage where you have extra time on your hands take that extra time to spend with the Lord. Read the bible and pray. Pray for your family, friends, neighbors. After that, maybe it is time to do something different: take a class, volunteer, babysit for a young mom, cook a meal for someone. (That’s hard if you don’t have a kitchen though). When you have time, you have the luxury of giving it for someone else. There is nothing more fulfilling than that. Just like Jesus lived a life of love and gave himself up, we should do that for others.

I am at the stage where I do not have a lot of time to give. Rats, that isn’t true. I can’t give my time in some ways, but I can certainly babysit to give someone a break, visit the elderly, or make a meal. If I simply gave up my Facebook time for a week, I could do a lot. Having a family, career or busy life doesn’t mean we don’t have time to give. In fact, I think at times I create busyness just to avoid that stuff.

Here’s one thing that I did this week that took a few minutes and a trip to the dollar store. I sent a sympathy card, a get-well card and two thank you notes. I stuffed the get well card with some paintings my kids did. It did not interfere with my Mommy duties. It took me 15 minutes. I know that they were well-received because I’ve heard from them. The result is not that I feel really happy about what a good person I am. The result is God’s love overflowing in my life and heart.

As I seek to imitate Christ, he will show me ways to love others. He wants me to love others even when it is not convenient or when I don’t want to. He will give me a purpose beyond just getting through another day and looking forward to another show or hearing what so and so is up to.

What should we fill our lives with? We are encouraged in the New Testament to seek after Christ, do good to others, and fight the fight of faith.

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:11-12

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Psalm 37:3-6

Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the Lord

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

So don’t be down! Don’t let idleness creep in. God has a purpose for us. He created you and you have a lot to offer. Ask him to show you what he has for you. Ask him to help you discern what you can reasonably fit into your life. I think it’s important not to decide to run the food shelf eight hours a day when you have small children at home. Do you know what I mean? Look around you. There are people that need a friend, a hug, or a visit. Reach out and show love. I don’t think there could be a better way to use my time.

The truth is, life can be monotonous and it leads to the desire to do or be something different. Doing something different doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

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