There’s no time to be bored about anything

field of wheat

One of the first things I’m prone to correct with my kids is their use of these words: “I’m boooooooored.” By this, I don’t mean that I seek out ways to entertain them. Instead, I tend to challenge them. I mean, really? Bored? How on earth can any of us be truly bored when there is so much worth exploring? This is something G.K. Chesterton understood well. He didn’t life simply as a good thing, but as an adventure—the supreme adventure, even. He wrote,

Falling in love has been often regarded as the supreme adventure, the supreme romantic accident. In so much as there is in it something outside ourselves, something of a sort of merry fatalism, this is very true. Love does take us and transfigure and torture us. It does break our hearts with an unbearable beauty, like the unbearable beauty of music. But in so far as we have certainly something to do with the matter; in so far as we are in some sense prepared to fall in love and in some sense jump into it; in so far as we do to some extent choose and to some extent even judge—in all this falling in love is not truly romantic, is not truly adventurous at all. In this degree the supreme adventure is not falling in love. The supreme adventure is being born. There we do walk suddenly into a splendid and startling trap. (Heretics 191)

The problem, of course, is we don’t all get this right away. Like my kids don’t always understand this, I didn’t understand it until I was much older than they are now. My issue was that I believed a lie. But God has given us so much to explore, to be curious about, to seek to understand. There are books to read, paths to explore, recipes to invent, new skills to learn… Our great issue is never  really boredom. We don’t have the time to be bored. There is far too much adventuring to do.

If God made the world, nothing can ever truly be boring

My middle daughter is absolutely in love with the world, in the sense that everything is amazing to her. She wants to stop and look at everything, to admire the individual petals on flowers and ask questions about why everything in nature works the way it does.

It’s amazing to see, but it’s also exhausting sometimes. There are just so many questions. And they never stop.

Even though it’s exhausting, I am glad God’s made her this way. And I don’t want to do anything to squash it, to “nurture” out of her this childlike wonder. After all, we are born naturally curious. But somewhere along the way, curiosity became less of a virtue, and more a mark of immaturity.[1.And everyone who’s had someone in the workplace “concerned” about their questions said “amen.”] Barnabas Piper reminded me of this while I read his latest book, The Curious Christian. He writes,

Somewhere in the midst of aging and “maturing,” nurture defeated nature, locked it in the dungeon of history, and left it to die. It started in junior high when we realized being a bright-eyed question asker wasn’t cool, continued through high school and college as certain subjects and objective exams were upheld in the righteous standard of learning, and the dungeon door slammed shut when we started our careers and families because responsibility left no room for questions and wonder. We were taught, tacitly and explicitly, that some subjects and hobbies matter while others are childish diversions.

We sought maturity, and curiosity had no place in the version we saw. (12, 13, ARC)

What Barnabas is picking up here is important. Though it can be twisted into something dark, curiosity is a powerful and wonderful gift. Curiosity is what allows us to create and innovate, not merely evolve existing ideas. It compels us to understand the way God ordered the world. It challenges us to own our faith for ourselves, and not be content to live off the faith of others. And the older I get, the more I’m convinced one of the greatest schemes of the devil to draw us away from the beauty of Christ is not by dazzling us with the wonders of the world, but to make us stop exploring and enjoying the world out of a love for Christ.

By telling us over and over again that boredom is normal.

But it is anything but. Boredom is a diversion. A distraction. If God made the world, nothing can ever truly be boring.

Photo: Pixabay