Louisa is a Headstarter who works at Telstra. A snowboarder, go-karter, world traveller and bubble tea drinker (I'll let you figure out the order of priority), Louisa lives in the fast lane which might also explain her current reading, Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow by nobel-prize winner Daniel Kannerman (a great book, you should definitely read it). Thoughtful, incisive and funny, all of these are in Louisa's match summary of Low Interest Rates: I want to be fulfilled but I feel bored.
The night in a tweet: We can face the reality of boredom and need not avoid it, because God has a purpose for our work beyond ourselves.
I don’t think many people (me included) like to sit and think about our boredom for very long, let alone talk about it! Why? Here are some reasons that struck me in our group discussion:
- Pressure to pretend nothing is wrong. Well once we admit it, it’s officially a problem we have to resolve (and what if we don’t know how?!)
- Pride. No one wants to be the ‘whinger’ or that negative, unsatisfied worker.
- Quite frankly, it’s a boring topic!
I’m now in my third year as a full time worker and I’m not going to lie, boredom at work has begun to cross my mind more and more. Every now and then I catch myself trying to break out of ‘routine’, feeling restless, and thinking ‘Am I at the right place? In the right job? Is this it? Until I decide to quit?’.
To illustrate the reality of boredom, Tim cited a study that found that there was a positive correlation between the boredom of astronauts and amount of hot sauce they consumed! What?? Who would’ve thought astronauts could get bored staring into space?? (Pun intended)
Boredom is a symptom of something deeper – it signals a sense of meaninglessness and prompts a search for meaning. This clicked for me. Sometimes boredom feels a little intangible. I can’t quite put a finger on exactly what, why or how. But I guess that’s exactly what it feels like when we lose sight of the purpose of what we’re doing.
Sin has cursed our experience of work (Gen 3) and today we still live in the brokenness of that, making boredom unavoidable. But in our redemption through Jesus Christ we are able to see our purpose beyond the temporary and the visible. This frees us to face what’s in front of us in light of the bigger picture of restoration (Rev 21) and helps us remember our creator, who is always at work (Jn 5:17) and who made us in His image (Gen 1:26).
What I left thinking about:
So how is it that we can know that God makes no accidents, that our colleagues, jobs and workplaces are purpose-filled, and yet still feel a sense of meaninglessness in our work? Tim’s shared some great tips tonight on how we might be able to reshape our perspective and see our work’s purpose beyond what’s in front of us. I loved that he likened boredom to a signal that we can use as a reminder that where we are is not home.
In reflection of my own experience of boredom, I also thought about these questions: What was my default go-to response when I feel bored? Could it be wrong to feel bored?
Boredom can make us feel deflated and restless but God meets us at the core of these feelings in his word (Ecc 2:11) so I’m reminded to first bring boredom to Him in prayer.