Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Twiddling Thumbs

Recently, I wrote an article entitled Sore Thumbs, which talked about how we should try to stick out, and not simply blend in, with our world.

Now, I want to talk about twiddling thumbs. When are we twiddling our thumbs? When we’re bored.

Let’s start off with the quote that led to this article: Boredom is the root of all evil. – Soren Kierkegaard

You’ve probably heard the line, “Money is the root of all evil” before. That’s actually misquoted. The actual line in scripture is “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

But Kierkegaard’s quote is even more compelling than Paul’s warning in his letter to Timothy.

Let me ask you a question: What normally happens when we become bored? Think about that.

Webster’s Dictionary defines boredom as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” Scanning down the page, you’ll find these words: “A state of weariness with, and disinterest in, life.”

A further search of synonyms for bored turned up these results: fatigued, dull, spiritless, turned off.

That last one really hit me. Essentially, when we are bored, we are turned off from everything around us. And, that is where things get dangerous.

Boredom results in poor choices. When we lose interest in what is happening in our own lives, it’s only natural to begin to lose interest in the lives of others. And, that means we don’t consider how our actions affect them. We become even more selfish than normal.

When we’re bored, we try to manufacture things to add artificial meaning or excitement to our lives. We find temporary pleasure in things that, many times, rob us of joy.

Instead of investing in people’s lives, we isolate ourselves. We choose to live life alone rather than investing in the lives of those around us.

Perhaps the most subtle attack that boredom wages on us is that it causes us to “settle.” There’s a difference between contentment and complacency. The former is defined as “satisfaction, ease of mind,” and is the result of putting your trust in God. The latter, oddly enough, is defined as “a feeling of security, often while unaware of some potential danger.”

What’s the danger? A cold heart. Loneliness. Stunted spiritual growth. And, all these are roads to regret.

If you are bored – disinterested – with your life, it’s because you are choosing to allow life to happen to you, rather than getting out and taking advantage of the gifts and abilities God has given you.

If you find yourself twiddling your thumbs, wondering why in the world you are here, there is hope. There’s a God who is reaching His hand out to you this very moment, desperate to pull you out of your pit. He wants you to be alive, and He wants you to be a threat to the enemy of this world.

In his book, Wild Goose Chase, Mark Batterson writes, “You cannot simultaneously live by faith and be bored.” He goes on to say, “Too many among us end up settling for spiritual mediocrity instead of striving for spiritual maturity.”

That is the sad fact. But, that doesn’t have to be you. You are still here. So, make the most of your life. Stop twiddling your thumbs, and begin to write a new chapter in your life – one of adventure on the wings of an amazing God who wants to take you along for the ride!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Moral Compass Pointing South with Teens

I gotta say I am struggling today. I am bewildered and disturbed.

I just walked down the hallway and heard one of our student staff members talking about how so many teenagers today are struggling with homosexuality, and that experimenting with the same sex is the "in thing" today in many schools.

Say what?

As I told one of my co-workers, I remember when the most controversial thing in high school was who got in trouble for chewing gum in class.

I continued down the hallway and met Dr. Diane Pearce, who has a Christian Marriage and Family Counseling practice in our office. I mentioned this to her in disbelief, and here was her response, as her eyes widened: "Oh, it's running rampant!"


Dr. Pearce proceeded to tell me about a couple conversations her daughter has had at her high school. She told me her daughter was walking the halls just yesterday, and she overheard a group of girls all talking about how they were "all bi" (bisexual). When she clearly communicated that she was not "bi," the girls scoffed and expressed that they could not believe that she wasn't...that everybody is bi nowadays, and everyone makes their own choices.

And, I thought the peer pressure to go TP a friend's house was pushing the limits.

On another occasion, her daughter had a conversation with another girl whose dad is a minister. The "PK" (preacher's kid) - in casual conversation with an almost complete stranger - mentioned that she was "bi" and the Bible was no longer relevant or applicable in today's society.

Dr. Pearce told me that a lot of this points back to the fact that the father's role in the home has become so weak that kids no longer see strong men and strong marriages as influences in their lives.

Further, she says many times teens today do not see any boundaries whatsoever in relationships with friends (of either gender). According to Dr. Pearce, sometimes kids do something silly and innocent, but it ends up leading to much more if one person takes the lead and begins to be more aggressive and perpetuate things.

I told Dr. Pearce I needed to schedule an appointment with her this afternoon to get my head straight after hearing all this. This is both shocking and depressing, and my stomach is in knots.

Join me in praying for today's youth. And, if you are a parent, be aware that your kids are looking to you for guidance on these types of issues. If you choose to do or say nothing, they will look for acceptance in the wrong places.

Monday, February 2, 2009

21st Century Suburbia

A friend passed along a couple fascinating articles that appeared in Newsweek last week. The articles talk about what things are truly like in suburban areas in the United States these days, and also talk about how people in America today are divided - emotionally, spiritually, and professionally.

With so many things to do, places to be, and people to deal with, you can understand how our priorities can be compromised, and how our hearts can always long to be elsewhere.

I encourage you to check out the following articles, and post any thoughts you have. I'd love to hear what you think.

The Suburban Challenge

Welcome to Elsewhere