Jul 242016 6 Responses

Are You Bored with Life? Do This.

Boredom is often seen as a problem for school-age students out for summer vacation. They long to get out of school only to nag their mom with constant whines of “I’m bored.” But boredom is equally prevalent among young men, middle-aged woman, and senior adults.

A bored child is good. It gives them time to think, develop, and dream. Parents shouldn’t solve their children’s boredom as much as helping them navigate through it.

A bored adult can be dangerous.

We greatly underestimate the negative impact of boredom. Many problems are the result of bored adults. I regularly interact with individuals caught in an affair. As we diagnose the problem, boredom is a common problem. Bored with life, they are lured by something which feels exciting–an inappropriate relationship. What begins as an entertaining experience ends in tragedy.

Many other problems are related to boredom. When we are bored, we become frustrated, anxious, make poor decisions, take inappropriate risks, and create trouble. Most Facebook fights are simply a result of boredom. Bored people provoke people. They search for anything which draws their interests and when they can’t find anything, they invent it.

The Boredom of Hate

Much of hate is birthed out of boredom. Many terrorist groups can easily recruit young adults who have a lot of energy and very little prospects for a successful life. Many Facebook posts can easily ensnare a cruel response from someone longing for some connection with another.

Whether in major acts of evil or small acts of unkindness, boredom often expresses itself in a form of hate. We are bored so we lash out.

Hate is predictable. You know exactly what it desires and what it will do. It’s predictability gives us some chance to stop some actions of hate, but hate is rampant enough we can’t stop it all. And as Americans, there are some actions of hate we don’t desire to stop because we value free expression over restricting hate speech. But we know what hate will do.

We know someone is currently planning actions of evil. Whether terrorists desiring to frighten citizens or demented people who want to do harm, we know they are making plans. We can predict something will happen soon and can probably give the basic details of the attack–multiple casualties in a crowded place.

We know after the attack, political parties will blame one another (rather than the actual person who carried out the attack). Facebook will erupt. And Westboro (I won’t call them Baptist or a Church) will show up at the funerals of the innocent victims shouting their message of hate.

Hate is predictable.

But love isn’t.

What will love do the next time evil creates chaos? It will do a variety of things.

Out of love, some will run to the scene of the crime and try to help those who are hurting. Others will surround the family of victims to give them love and support. Some will put on a badge to protect our city streets. Others will put on the uniform to fight for our country and defend justice.

Some will be removed from the immediacy of the situation, but will still desire to act. While they can’t help those directly involved, love will motivate them to help someone. They will walk across the street and check on a neighbor or cook a meal for a family whose loved one is in the hospital. Others will build a relationship with someone who looks different than them, votes different than them, or worships in a different manner.

LOVE

 

They Ask the Same Question

Ironically, love and hate ask the same question–How can I love you?

Yet they ask with a different attitude and emphasis.

For hate, the question reads–How can I love (someone like) YOU? The idea is that I have nothing in common with you. I’m better than you and you don’t deserve my love. By contrasting you to me, I don’t think you deserve my love.

For love, the question reads–How (in what practical ways) can I love you? The focus is on the action. The assumption is made that love is the goal and the only question is what will that love look like in this specific situation.

Two people ask the exact same question but with radically different outcomes.

When the question is asked with hate, divisions occur. Hate isolates and divides us. Even where friendships are formed via hate (put on a white sheet and you will find some friends) those relationships can’t be trusted. We will feel even more isolated while in the midst of a crowd.

When the question is asked with love, diversity occurs. We go to new places, meet new people, and enjoy new experiences. Love drives us into circumstances we would have never experienced on our own. It allows us build relationships with people radically different than we are and gives us an appreciation for others.

The Adventure of Love

The difference between love and hate has an interesting outcome. Hate produces boredom while love drives it out. Because hate is predictable, it becomes boring. You do the same thing over and over again. No matter the situation, you find disagreement (which is easy), isolate the other person or group, and show how you are better than them. It might feel good in the moment, but over time it is sad and boring.

Love is never boring. It’s a challenge. It takes effort and energy. It forces creativity. It demands restraint while also driving us to action. Love is always changing. You never know where it will lead you next.

If you want to hate everyone in your circle, you will treat everyone the same. But if you want to love those in your life, every situation will be different. You don’t love everyone the same way. People receive love differently. What they need is unique. How you will express love to them is not the same.

Many people are bored with their lives, marriages, jobs, communities, friends, and every aspect of their existence simply because they are not loving well. If they would stop seeing love as a feeling and start seeing it as an action, the boredom would drift away. They would be so busy loving people that they wouldn’t have time to be bored.

Are you bored? Go love somebody. There is nothing more exciting than that.

6 Responses to Are You Bored with Life? Do This.
  1. Linda Reply

    I was surprised to see you list middle aged women as experiencing boredom as equally prevalent as school aged children on summer break. I have found the post 45 years to be the best of my life. I am at a great place in my career, my children are in their teenage years so I have more time to concentrate on my own interests, hobbies.

    I guess this is the group you were referring to when you mentioned affairs?

    It is sad to me that other women my age are bored with their lives but even sadder is that they would turn to a man to solve their boredom. Perhaps they sacrificed too much of their time serving their children and their spouse at the expense of knowing themselves?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      That’s a great point Linda and is likely the case. It’s a fine line between serving others but not losing your self.

  2. Urina Reply

    Are you a wannabe cult leader? You seem to have some of the traits.

  3. Anonymous Reply

    I’ve even feeling bored, very much so, with my church, and have been praying about changing it. Then I read your text and realized I could be acting the same way as your clients who have affairs. I see I have to be more proactive in loving the other members. Thank you for the text, it’s a good one.

  4. Amy Reply

    In response to Linda: You still have children in your home. You have the opportunity for daily tangible ways to demonstrate love to your family. But once they have left your nest, you may find yourself feeling differently about how full your life is. Some of us are still quite middle aged when that happens, and it is a real challenge to adjust. Kevin- you have brought up a very valid thought- I agree with you, loving well makes life an adventure. I need to look for ways to start loving people outside my family a lot more now that my own are out of the house.

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