When I was young, my family would drive from Maryland to Miami each Summer to visit relatives. My siblings and I would pile into the station wagon and cruise along the highway looking out the window staring at the world around us. We didn’t have screens back then, which meant only one thing – we annoyed our parents and each other! But we also managed to have fun playing simple games, such as I Spy and 20 Questions. I think what those experiences taught me most of all was that it was OK to be bored.
In the age of smartphones, video games, and tablets, we never have to be bored. Is that OK too?
Amy Crouch, who at the age of 20 wrote, “My Tech-Wise Life” expressed it this way: “If we spend too much time in virtual worlds, our sense of wonder may be in danger.”
To experience wonder is to be filled with awe, admiration, or amazement. Experiencing boredom gives us the opportunity to appreciate or be in awe of what’s around us and that opens us to the wonder of God. In times of boredom, or quiet, we are able to reflect on little questions such as “Why am I a morning person? and also the big questions such as, “Why am I here?” Boredom has also been shown to increase creativity and proven to help our brains to relax after too much media and stress (yes these two are related). Experts also believe that learning to endure boredom helps us develop self-control skills, such as the ability to regulate our thoughts, emotions, and actions.
Technology feeds us a daily diet of entertainment, news, and information. We are able to connect with family and friends and learn about the latest fashion trends and fads. Of course, it’s good to be informed and to have fun. But we also need boredom to stop the busyness and to see the wonder of our world – and that ultimately leads us to encounter the wonder of God.
Learn more at MakingSpaceforGrace.org