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!

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